Tusculum College’s “Help Me Help You” program has been selected as one of the top programs in the nation by the Clinton Global Initiative University, a national foundation that recognizes innovative programs and projects that have a large impact with global reach.
The program and its co-founder, Luis Zamora, a junior business and economics major from Santiago, Chile, will be recognized at the Foundation’s global conference in Washington D.C. in March.
“This is a wonderful achievement and recognition for Luis, his program and for Tusculum College,” said President Nancy B. Moody. “He is the epitome of what Tusculum College represents and hopes to instill in its students. Luis is a student-scholar and student-athlete who is very conscious of his civic responsibility.”
Every year, the Clinton Global Initiative University reviews thousands of projects and programs from all over the world in order to select the most promising commitments to action. This year, the commitment made by the co-founders Zamora and Rodrigo Gimenez, has become the first from Tusculum College and the first from Chile to be recognized by the initiative. At the conference Zamora will not only be representing his alma mater, Tusculum College, but also the nation of Chile. Gimenez serves as director of operations in Chile.
The recognition from the Clinton Global Initiative University includes two main points. Zamora and Gimenez have committed to implementing a small business support program with a focus on theoretical, practical and emotional aspects of “Help Me Help You” in underdeveloped regions such as the Appalachian region and Latin American countries like Chile.
In addition, with the hope of creating a global network that helps encourage the small business support around the world, Zamora and Gimenez also committed to sharing the program at no charge with any business student and/or academic institution that would like to implement “Help Me Help You” in their respective countries. The program is already available in both Spanish and English.
According to Zamora, this involves not only sharing the course content and additional documents, but also supporting and guiding the academic institution on an ongoing basis in order to ensure an adequate implementation, as well as providing access to the program’s Global University Platform to further enhance the current efforts of all institutions involved worldwide.
Zamora, who received the award of Academic Freshman of the Year in 2009-10 and the Duffield Award in 2010-11 for being the student-athlete with the highest grade point average, created the program along with Rodrigo Gimenez, in partnership with the University of Chile, located in Santiago, Chile.
The program, operated by Tusculum College’s business students and students in the Bonner Leader Program, is committed to helping its participants increase their profits, create a business plan, expand their network and improve their practical and interpersonal skills through a variety of unique, globally tested activities.
The program started in the fall with nine participants and eight monitors completing a 10-week course that aims to create a mutual learning environment between students and small business owners. The spring semester program has enrolled 12 new participants and began in January. The overwhelming support the program has received in Greeneville, in addition to its innovative concept of providing benefits for all of the different individuals involved, has carried through into the negotiations of implementing the program overseas.
The program is sponsored by the Tusculum College School of Business, as well as the Bonner Leaders program. In addition, the first year has been funded by sponsors Scott Niswonger, Tom Ferguson and Atmos Energy Corp.
Following the idea of helping underdeveloped regions, Help Me Help You has gone from the Appalachian region to Concepción, Chile, which was one of the zones that was most affected by the 8.8 earthquake that hit the country on Feb. 27, 2010.
As a result, Zamora has been invited to the Clinton Global Initiative University annual conference to be held in George Washington University (Washington, D.C.) from March 30 until April 1.
“This is an amazing opportunity because President Bill Clinton, together with world leaders such as Nobel Peace Prize winners, non-profit directors, hundreds of CEOs and other distinguished people will be assisting and presenting in a number of extremely helpful topics,” said Zamora. He also expressed his gratitude to Tusculum College for assisting with expenses relating to the experience as well as the full support the college has provided for the program since its beginning.
He added that by attending the conference, he would have the opportunity to interact with thousands of other students who are exemplary college leaders from all across the world.
The Clinton Global Initiative University challenges college students to address global issues with practical, innovative solutions. Members are encouraged to take concrete steps to solve problems by building relationships, creating action plans, participating in hands-on workshops, and working together as they complete their projects.