SEED scholar Glenda Alfaro is among finalists for her composting project

As basketball fans revel in March madness, Mt. Hood Community College celebrates having a student make the semifinals in the Clinton Global Challenge.

Represented by Glenda Alfaro, a student in the Scholarships for Education and Economic Development (SEED) program, Mt. Hood is the only community college in the bracket and will compete with major four-year universities including Duke, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Columbia.

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Glenda Maribel Alfaro Salmeron

This is the third year of Clinton Global Initiative Commitments Challenge, a competition of student ideas and projects that address some of the world’s most pressing issues.

Alfaro’s project was chosen among 1,000 projects by a panel of judges including former President Bill Clinton.

As March Madness comes to its finale on April 5-7 with the final four men’s and women’s basketball championships, Alfaro will attend the Clinton Global Challenge at the same location — Washington University in St. Louis.

“I really want to represent my country — to represent every person I’ve met and every person who has helped me,” Alfaro said.

“I’m excited to learn about leadership and develop more communication skills through the workshops.”

The winner of the Challenge will be announced on stage with Clinton and Stephen Colbert of Comedy Central during the conference Saturday, April 6.

For her project, Alfaro committed to replenishing nutrient-poor soil and stimulating agricultural production through composting in her hometown, Jardins de la Nueva, El Salvador, a village of 100 people.

This November, she will return to El Salvador to distribute composting bins to 12 families and teach them the basic procedures for composting at home.

Alfaro is one of eight students from Mt. Hood who will attend the Challenge, a program the school has participated in the past two years.

More than 1,000 students representing more than 300 universities and 75 countries will be in attendance.

“Whether empowering poor families in Nepal to start their own fish farms, launching an annual event for disability rights, or securing engineering apprenticeships for students who’ve dropped out of high school in Kenya, these 16 new CGI U Commitments to Action in our ‘bracket’ competition reflect the passion, potential, and problem solving skills of our next generation of leaders,” Clinton said in a press release.

Established in 2005 by Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative brings together global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.

“It’s pretty exciting to have Mt. Hood represented at such a prestigious conference,” Nikki Gillis, SEED program coordinator, said. “We’ve had many wonderful community partners.”

Voting for round two of the Challenge closed at 11 a.m. Monday, and Alfaro was a winner of the round. Voting for the quarter finals will run through Thursday, April 4.

SEED an international development program, sponsored by USAID and administered by Georgetown University, brings young leaders from rural areas of Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean to the United States for two-year technical and leadership development training programs.

Mt. Hood is hosting 37 SEED scholars for the 2012-13 school year. After their studies, scholars return to the native countries to help make positive environmental changes in their communities.

For more information and to vote for Alfaro’s project, visit

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