Viewpoint: Our generation's chance to affect change

Posted by Blake Wright on October 09, 2014 at 12:32 PM

By Common Sense Action at the University of Michigan | Michigan Daily - 2/10/2014

Not everyone believes in the power of our generation. Millennials have often been labeled as “selfish,” “lazy” and “emotionally detached.” Whether it is because we were the first generation to grow up with the Internet or the first generation who maybe relied too much on our parents, we have created a bad reputation for ourselves.

 

When taking a closer look, our generation is something unique. We are a generation who will face obstacles unlike any other. Will we receive the same social security benefits awarded to present-day retirees? Will we be able to achieve the American Dream though a hard work ethic like our parents once did? Will we ever know true privacy or will we just assume that our conversations are being monitored by the government? These are obstacles we will inevitably face. If we choose to, we can face them together.

 

Last semester, readers of The Michigan Daily were introduced to Common Sense Action, a national bipartisan grassroots movement created by Millennials and for Millennials. We have chosen to work together, no matter our political affiliation, and craft solutions to the problems facing our generation before it’s too late. We care about a diverse set of issues including: education, tax reform, social security, incarceration and energy. We will not follow the example Congress has set for us. We refuse to accept partisan gridlock as an answer for inaction in Washington on the most pressing policies to our generation’s future.

 

After our University's CSA chapter researched and crafted policies culminating in our “Campus Congress,” two members of our team traveled to Washington, D.C. for the Agenda for Generational Equity Summit where they debated policies and lobbied Congress. Students from chapters across the nation gathered at the Bipartisan Policy Center to discuss the policies formed on their respective campuses, including those formed here at the University of Michigan. They found ways to make sure that higher education was a feasible goal for all students, no matter their socioeconomic background. They brainstormed ways to ensure that social security would exist well into the future, that formerly incarcerated individuals have a way to integrate back into society, and that America’s infrastructure is reliable for our future. These students, with bright, diverse and politically oriented minds, together created one concise policy proposal that holistically represented Millennials around the nation — the national Agenda for Generational Equity.

 

The group of students that gathered at the AGE Summit in D.C. proved that 20-somethings can accomplish great things when common sense solutions are placed as priorities. While not every policy was framed exactly the way students here at the University wished them to be, they represented our interests as students in the United States and the interests of Millennials from a broad range of backgrounds. We are proud to have contributed to such a thorough and representative piece of work that will be advocated for across the nation for years to come.

 

Now that the AGE policies have been finalized, CSA will begin its mobilizing phase: spreading our message to Millennials and policymakers around the nation, thus building a national bipartisan movement. As passionate Wolverines, we are starting here, on our own campus. We will advocate our message of generational equity across campus through a series of actions. We will work with candidates, empower voters, host events and draw media attention on our policy priorities, seeking to change American politics and return government to an engine for the people: for Millennials. We aim not only to involve members of our organization, but all students of the University as we create a national network of Millennials — left, right, center, moderate and independents who are passionate about common sense, solutions and action.

 

Interested in learning more about CSA? Find us on Facebook as Common Sense at the University of Michigan, follow us on twitter @csamichigan.