Two UAB students awarded Clinton Global Initiative University Seed Funding

Alice Kim and Ryleigh Fleming each created projects to improve student mask safety, hygiene, and access to health care facts and necessities that were selected by the Clinton Global Initiative University COVID-19 Student Action Fund.
Written by: Tehreem Khan
Media Contact: Yvonne Taunton


student.comp.2Ryleigh Fleming and Alice Kim each created projects to improve student mask safety, hygiene, and access to health care facts and necessities that were selected by the Clinton Global Initiative University COVID-19 Student Action Fund.University of Alabama at Birmingham Honors College students Alice Kim and Ryleigh Fleming have won support from the Clinton Global Initiative University COVID-19 Student Action Fund. The students each created projects on mask education, distribution of personal hygiene materials and accessibility to the Centers for Disease Control safety guidelines for marginalized groups — specifically homeless people.

This fund is geared toward awareness and prevention campaigns, social enterprises, infectious disease monitoring and response systems, and other emergency response initiatives that provide immediate support for public health practitioners and other essential workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Kim, a native from Huntsville, AL and Psychology and Philosophy majors, created a multifaceted model of physical and mental health promotion and resource distribution, aimed at taking advantage of ever-changing digital age trends to kickstart a social media mask campaign. Kim, who is vice president of the UAB Undergraduate Student Government Association, wants to accomplish this by using student-posted videos.

“It will help those who do not know a lot about masks and proper mask etiquette,” Kim said. “The impending risk can be prevented and mitigated, but this requires effort from all students and faculty.” 

The Clinton COVID-19 student aid funds were used to purchase hand sanitizers, touchless tools, and related personal protective and hygiene materials to distribute in a safe walk-by or drive-through format. 

“I researched the best ways to help my fellow students so I could cultivate my personal interest in health promotion in a way that could help make a fundamental change in the lives of others,” Kim said.  

Kim is passionate about the impact that student advocacy and promotion can have on the overarching campus climate. 

“While administration develops a standard protocol to educate students on best health practices, student leaders can unite to act as models of proper hygiene, such as social distancing and wearing masks,” Kim said.

Fleming, native of Chattanooga, TN and Biology major, designed Project Equity for Birmingham to bring awareness to people who are experiencing homelessness and are also being affected by COVID-19.

“It will inspire a lot of change by setting a precedent to ensure that equity is at the core of public health information,” Fleming said. She wants to accomplish this goal by designing infographic posters, fundraising for Firehouse Ministries and OneRoof, and utilizing social platforms about health disparities.

The grant will help her prepare infographics to share in downtown Birmingham, where people experiencing homelessness will be more likely to see them.

“This grant will ensure that no one is being forgotten during this pandemic, and UAB is dedicated to bringing equity to Birmingham through its students,” Fleming said.

Fleming feels strongly about service to the community and believes it is important to look past ourselves and our personal struggles during this pandemic and make sure other people are OK as well. She is also executing the CGIU grant in Sami Raut’s non-majors biology class. Besides, she is actively involved with Raut in a research project assessing the impact of an e-service learning module on COVID-19 in a non-majors biology class.  

The CGI U COVID-19 Student Action Fund supports selected students at universities around the world who are committed to addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. After receiving more than 1,400 applications for the COVID-19 Student Action Fund, CGI U announced the 38 recipients of this award, representing 12 countries and 29 institutions of higher learning. 

Working within the CGI U Commitment to Action model, the fund will provide at least $100,000 to students, with grants ranging from $2,000 to $5,000. In addition to receiving seed funding for their commitments, all selected students will receive invitations to participate in the CGI U 2021 program, including an invitation to attend the CGI U 2021 annual event at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland from April 9-11, 2021. 

Clinton Global Initiative University is an extension of former President Bill Clinton’s Clinton Global Initiative that engages the leaders on college campuses around the world to organize new, specific and measurable initiatives that address existing challenges.