Changing the world.

Millennials changing the world – from video posted by Chelsea Clinton on Twitter.

 By Jacqueline Bennett newsandviewsjb

Six hundred ninety-five commitments to action were made by Millennials through the 2014 Clinton Global Initiative University – a message perhaps overshadowed by television network sound bites focused on the coming presidential race. Born circa 1980 to 2000, Millennials are next in line to lead the nation and the world. Despite a struggling American economy and an especially high unemployment rate among their generation, Millennials were characterized at the three day event as optimistic and civic-minded.

“Six hundred ninety-five commitments to action exemplify the Millennials,” former U. S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in an opening speech delivered during the CGLU conference held at Arizona State University March 21, 22 and 23.

A Pew Research Center report issued this month also cites the optimism of the Millennial Generation with 49 percent said to believe the best is still ahead for the nation, a figure above responses from members of other generations polled. That is despite Millennials grappling with high levels of student loan rate and the search for jobs.

“The Age of Participation” was the focus of the 2014 CGIU where Millennials – sometimes criticized for a disconnect to traditional institutions and a touch of narcissism – instead were praised by Rodham Clinton for the high percentage who connect with the Kick Starter website, engage in a multitude of volunteer efforts, and plant community gardens. She praised them further for their “open-mindedness”.

A belief that it is possible to change the world is critical she and other speakers said – be it on your own block or far beyond.

Commitments from the Millennials who participated in the CGLU run the gamut from renovation of homes devastated by Hurricane Katrina to technology training for low income youths to the overall promoting of “democratization.”

Since the inaugural CGIU held in 2008 the number of students taking part has doubled, according to Rodham Clinton. Sponsored by the Clinton Foundation the conference drew 1,200 students from 270 schools in all fifty states and 80 countries. It opened with a panel discussion moderated by former President Bill Clinton that included Arizona Senator John McCain and other notables like Munal Al-Sharif whose political activism challenged the notion that women were not allowed to drive in her native country. The conference was capped by “A Day of Action.”

(The addresses and opening day discussion can be heard on a video posted on Twitter by Chelsea Clinton.)