Mercer students attend the Clinton Global Initiative University

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Mercer students attend the Clinton Global Initiative University

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Gary Wall, Annika Sinha and Matthew Yin were invited to attend the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U), which is a program that accepts groups of individuals who make a “commitment to action.”

According to the Clinton Global Initiative University website, the program is based off the successful model of the Clinton Global Initiative. The program is meant to bring together different world leaders to take action on global challenges. Former President Clinton started the program in 2007.

“The Mercer Prosthetics and Orthotics Club applied to CGI U in November 2013 and was selected in the early acceptance pool in January 2014 for its commitments to prosthetic care in Vietnam and Haiti,” said Gary Wall, the president of Mercer Prosthetics and Orthotics Club (MPOC).

Mercer University has had a significant impact on prosthetic care in Vietnam. Since 2009, over 800 patients have been fitted with the Mercer prosthetic device through the Mercer On Mission program.  This year, Mercer will fit its 1000th patient with its device.

“Walking on two legs is a pivotal part of our existence as humans and one that is often overlooked. Now take a second and imagine if your mobility was taken away from you after stepping on a landmine in a field or losing a limb in a motorbike accident hundreds of miles from the nearest hospital,” said Wall. “Then imagine knowing that you will never be able to walk again because you cannot afford a prosthetic device. When I fit a prosthetic on a patient, many whom have not walked in 5, 10, sometimes 20 years, their face, their demeanor, their non-verbal enthusiasm says it all.”

“This initiative is in line with Mercer’s long-term plan to make the Vietnam prosthetic program sustainable. On the institution level, Mercer was acknowledged as a Clinton Global Initiative commitment maker in 2009 and was recognized personally by former President Bill Clinton,” said Wall. “It is important to distinguish this latest CGI U acceptance. The CGI U commitment was done on the student level through the Mercer Prosthetics and Orthotics Club, and is a commitment that is separate but complimentary of the previous CGI commitments.”

Wall began his involvement with the Mercer On Mission program the summer of 2012 when he went to Vietnam with about 18 other Mercer students on Mercer On Mission. That summer, the team fit 205 patients over a three-week period that was a large increase in numbers over the previous years.

It was after this summer trip that Wall and six other alums founded MPOC to encourage more participation in Mercer On Mission, advocate and fundraise, teach prosthetic manufacturing and fitting to new students. The group also wants MPOC to increase awareness about amputees and prosthetics. MPOC encourages the idea that orthotics can be a career choice for those with majors involving health care or bio-medical engineering.

On March 21 to 23 MPOC president Gary Wall, senior vice president Matthew Yin and director of events Annika Sinha traveled to Phoenix, Ariz., to attend the CGI U conference hosted by Arizona State University.

At the conference, the group had the chance to network with other student innovators, businessmen and women, CEOs and individuals who are the founders of various nonprofit initiatives. The group attended several lectures that were about topics such as entrepreneurial education, the use of social media to advance your commitment, financing your commitment and the future of higher education.

The team also presented its commitments at the CGI U exchange, a large science-fair-like event where selected commitment makers showcased their commitments. “We also were able to attend large plenary lectures featuring the likes of Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton; Arizona senator and former republican nominee for president, John McCain; founder of the Barefoot College Sanjit ‘Bunker’ Roy, Manal al-Sharif; a women’s rights activist from Saudi Arabia who helped start a women’s right to drive campaign in 2011, and Jimmy Kimmel,” said Wall.

“In the future, the club will continue to advocate for the great experience that MOM [Mercer On Missions] Vietnam is,” said Wall. We are committed to continuing to fundraise for orthopedic supplies and medication used by Dr. Ha Van Vo in clinic through community outreach and philanthropy events.”

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