Men's Soccer Player Seeking to Make a Difference at GW's CGI U
March 28, 2012
Thomas Nicholas came to George Washington University in the fall of 2011 with an ambition to make a difference in the world.
The sophomore men's soccer student-athlete from Metuchen, N.J., will have the opportunity to make that impact when he presents his Commitment to Action entitled "Anatomy of a Goal, Enriching Lives Through Soccer" at the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) hosted on GW's campus, March 30-April 1.
Based on the success of the annual Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, CGI U draws 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students from all over the world every year to meet and discuss their proposed solutions to some of the world's foremost problems.
"I am incredibly excited to work with and learn from other like-minded young people who are passionate about social justice and the well-being of their community," said Nicholas, who highlights a dozen GW student-athletes involved with CGI U.
Women's basketball seniors Tara Booker and Sara Mostafa, women's soccer sophomore Jane Wallis and men's basketball freshman John Kopriva are among only a handful of GW students accepted as group leaders at the event, while Jackson Carnes, Landon Garvik, Cameron Illes, Brenna Marcoux, Stephanie Marcozzi, Nemanja Mikic and John Perrino were chosen as volunteers.
For Nicholas, who transferred to GW this past fall after being elected student-body vice president as a freshman at Rutgers in 2010-11, the chance to participate in CGI U just seven months after coming to the district seemed to be much more than just coincidence.
"I transferred to George Washington University with the intent to pursue every opportunity unique to being a student in the nation's capital. It is a dream come true to engage in such a prestigious conference knowing that my hard work is going to make a considerable difference to others in need." said Nicholas. "I am really proud to be a student here at GW, the administration places a massive emphasis on our duty to public service, and I want to do everything I can to exemplify their very high standards."
Nicholas' Commitment to Action - what CGI U describes as a specific plan of action that addresses a pressing challenge on their campus, in their community, or in a different part of the world - Anatomy of a Goal seeks to utilize the world's sport of soccer to inspire hope and self-belief to a school of impoverished Nepalese youth.
"My Commitment to Action is geared towards self-empowerment through soccer for children in abject poverty," said Nicholas. "Soccer has taught me a lot about who I am and how to deal with adversity. My commitment intends to extend that same opportunity to those who are perhaps most in need of a positive reinforcement."
Nicholas, who has coached at youth soccer clinics since high school and walked on to the GW men's soccer program in the fall, has taken a modest idea and turned it into a reality worthy to be presented at one of the world's top collegiate leadership conferences.
"I focused on Nepal because it's between India and China, which are two of the fastest growing economies in the world," said Nicholas. "Even though Nepal's GDP has grown over the last 10 years, it's incredibly difficult for people who've been living in poverty to deal with the adverse effects of the increased economic stratification."
With the help of the GW soccer program and local D.C. soccer clubs, Nicholas has already begun planning a mass equipment donation with the proceeds going to at least three schools for impoverished children in Nepal. Over the summer, he plans to travel to the Koseli School in Kathmandu to teach soccer as well as an educational program to the children there as a part of his Anatomy of a Goal proposal.
"Nepal has a very strong passion for soccer and with the advent of the new Indian Premier League, I hope to inspire the children to make positive life goals that will give them structure and a mentality that they can profit from for the rest of their lives."
While Nicholas works toward his goal of making the world a better place, he realizes the serendipitous nature of his decision to continue his education in the nation's capital.
"This is why I made the decision to come to George Washington," said Nicholas. "Being here in Washington, D.C., among such a committed group of students, professors, and coaches inspires me. Everyone here at GW has been instrumental in assisting me with my project and I am doing all that I can to justify their faith in my ability to leave the world a better place than I found it."