Working as part of our Campus Team here at ONE, I began to wonder why ONE decided to develop the ONE Campus Challenge. Don’t millennials have a reputation for being politically uninvolved and unapologetically idealistic? Why hone in on college students specifically to win the fight against extreme poverty?
Looking for answers, I sat down for a Q&A session with ONE’s Director of College & Young Professional Mobilization, Matt Higginson. I ended up learning a few things about college students that defy generational stereotypes and illuminate why college students make rad activists:
1. Political leaders are acutely interested in what college students care about
OCC gives students a platform to deliver the message about ending global poverty directly to policy makers. It creates a direct link between activism and policy making that is unique and effective.
2. College students have led the fight in almost every major social movement
So, obviously, it makes sense that we would lead the fight in one of the major social justice movements of our time—the fight against extreme poverty.
3. College students are realistic
Having been told throughout my college experience that college students are idealistic, this one took me by surprise.
Matt explained that while college students are idealistic, passionate, and energetic, they are also particularly interested in what is practical and realistic. Furthermore, the real policy results that we have seen from their activism let them know that their voices have power and impact.
4. “Digitally native”
As a millennial, the concept behind this term is so second-nature that I never realized that there was actually a term for it.
What it means for social change, however, is that college students are incredibly innovative—they draw upon the techniques of earlier social movements to mobilize and enact change, but they are digitally native and employ technology to update those techniques in a brilliant way.
5. College students are fearless in the face of power
Here at ONE Campus, we like to tell students that all roads should lead to Capitol Hill. The annual ONE Power Summit always highlights how lobby-savvy students can be.
While a lot of people would be intimidated to sit across the table from their member of Congress with a “hard ask,” college students are fearless in the face of power and use that fearlessness to demand social change.
College students—sign up here to use your awesome skill set as a ONE Campus Leader!
Not a college student, but know someone who is? Encourage them to join the fight using the link above!