Think Big

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The Think Big Challenge is a call to all students who have an interest in changing the world they live in. Think Big Challenge asks students to tackle real world problems in a creative and innovative way. Students will have the ability to share their ideas with their peers, administrators, and faculty and to write a proposal to the Clinton Global Initiative University. The CGIU conference was founded by former President Bill Clinton and brings together over 1,000 students and educators from across the globe to discuss and develop innovative solutions to pressing global challenges; the five main focuses for projects are Education, Environment and Climate Change, Peace and Human Rights, Poverty Alleviation, and Public Health. The FIT Student Association works with the Division of Enrollment Management and Student Success, to tie each idea/proposal or team to a faculty member related to that field to serve as a mentor for the project. If any proposals are selected to attend CGIU’s annual conference, then the FIT Student Association will fund the students to attend the conference and provides seed money for their project.

In 2013, FIT sent in their first applications to CGIU, and the Rooftop Natural Dye Garden was selected to attend. They were welcomed for their simple, but very creative and pertinent project. To learn more about their project click here

To learn more about CGUI click here

For inquiries please email “

The proposal process begins in September, however its never too early to start thinking about your project.


Think Big 2015 Winners

Through the Think Big Challenge, Textiles Development and Marketing students Lydia Baird `16 and Willa Tsokanis `16, developed their idea into a sustainability commitment that was showcased at the Clinton Global Initiative University.

The FIT Muslin Compost System will break down muslin waste from FIT’s Fashion Design classes. Although cotton muslin can be recycled into other products, most recycled cotton will eventually end up in a landfill. In the FIT Muslin Compost System, textile waste is broken down with thermophilic (heat-loving) bacteria. The system will be a quick and easy way to reduce campus waste and create compost, which can then be used in all campus green spaces, including the FIT Natural Dye Garden.

(To get involved with the project itself and to learn more, visit:


Natural Dye Garden

Three Textile Development and Marketing students attended the 2014 Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) conference, where they presented a proposal for a natural dye garden that addresses global challenges and underscores FIT’s commitment to sustainability.

Caitlin Powell, Amber Harkonen, and Meghan Navoy were selected for CGI U for their concept of creating a dye-plant garden which also incorporates rain collection and composting. The FIT Rooftop Natural Dye Garden, which was among thousands of proposals submitted by college students across the U.S. and globally, was designated as one of 32 teams (out of 695 total commitments) to compete in the “CGI U Commitments Challenge.” The Challenge was a pre-conference online fundraising challenge; FIT competed alongside such schools as Stanford, Purdue, Cornell, Mount Holyoke, University of Texas, and University of Wisconsin. Additionally, the FIT Rooftop Natural Dye Garden was further highlighted as an exhibitor at the CGI U Exchange and Dinner held during the conference.

Powell, Harkonen, and Navoy say they developed the project because “global textile production is an alarmingly heavy burden on this planet’s resources. Excess water use, toxic effluents, the use of petrochemicals on fiber plants as well as in synthetic dyes, and intensive farming practices are all problems that directly contribute to climate change. This project aims to raise awareness about these issues, and more important, to give the FIT population a tangible way to move away from these practices.”