ST. LOUIS (AP) - More than 1,000 college students from across the country and abroad have descended on St. Louis this weekend in search of both inspiration and philanthropic generosity.
Former President Bill Clinton's philanthropic foundation is hosting the event at Washington University. Celebrities such as actors Matthew Perry and Jada Pinkett Smith and comedian Stephen Colbert joined Clinton at a series of workshops and panel discussions on topics ranging from world hunger and prescription drug abuse to the spiraling national debt.
Student participants say they feel both inspired and challenged by the business and civic leaders and human rights activists leading the discussions. Some are also using the opportunity to pitch service projects to potential donors gathered at the campus event.
Erika lehmann, a Washington university student, is part of the group Materials Hub, competing in resolution's social venture challenge at C.G.I.U.
Oliver Libby says "young leaders are often told you are going to be important someday and resolution project is here to show them you can make a difference today."
He's the Chairman and co-founder of the resolution project. He says out of 230 projects, judges narrowed it down to 50, Saturday tonight 29 were competing in the finals. Judges spent the day deliberating.
"We really try and find not only the most promising social ventures but also youngleaders who really think we can bet on to change the world in the right way and if that all works they get the resolution fellowship," says Libby.
And then there's two students who made it into the top ten. They represent a group called Mahila Mobile which addresses the mobile gender gap in Pakistan.
Earlier today the group was recognized by President Clinton for being a group that achieves social change across non- traditional borders.
They describe this whole experience as life changing. "When you bring together such intellectual capitol such awesomeness you get this whole new energy and my hope is for that to stay post conference," says Karen Mok.