College of Arts & Sciences Chemistry Student Earns Support for Energy Conservation Project Through Clinton Global Initiative

Sam Peurifoy’s USolar Action Commitment Wins Resolution Project Social Venture Challenge During CGI U Weekend at UM

When the University of Miami hosted the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) last month, College of Arts & Sciences junior Sam Peurifoy left with more than just memories.

The chemistry major’s USolar project was selected for funding through the Resolution Project Social Venture Challenge.

“USolar aims to educate future voters on the importance of alternative energy, and how easy it is to understand,” Peurifoy explains. “We intend to educate groups of students on the precepts of solar technology using hands-on demonstrations, and then help those same students present what they have learned to another class. In this way, we ensure that students learn how to become effective oral communicators while improving the education of a greater number of community members."

Peurifoy, who plans to pursue a Ph.D. in chemistry following graduation next year, was inspired to create USolar through his research work with Assistant Professor of Chemistry Adam Braunschweig.

“My research (experience) has been the single most important aspect of my undergraduate career,” he says. “I have learned more than I would have ever thought possible, and I strongly encourage any students interested in sciences to pursue a research position in a lab that they find compelling.”

The Social Venture Challenge is a seed-funding competition sponsored by the Resolution Project, an organization founded in 2007 to empower university students to pursue socially responsible solutions to pressing global issues. Resolution partners with other young leadership conferences – like CGI U – to fund promising ideas with the potential to change the world.

Students attending CGI U applied online for the program, and semi-finalists presented their projects during a Social Venture Forum at the meeting. A panel of judges selected just 23 projects for support, to include seed funding, mentorship and other pro-bono services to help implement the project ideas.

“My selection for the Project Resolution SVC has entirely enabled this project,” Peurifoy says. “Education is the first step for any kind of social change. I’ve always felt that the public education system for younger students is in need of huge improvements, and this is a natural way for me to incorporate my own personal work into that goal.”

CGI U brings together student leaders from higher education institutions around the world to engage on global challenges.

The 2015 CGI U meeting at UM included more than 1,100 students and topic experts. It focused on five key areas: education, environment and climate change, peace and human rights, poverty alleviation and public health.

Peurifoy’s project simultaneously addresses two of these issues: education and environment.

April 08, 2015