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By Shawn Shaligram and Christine Dickason
February 6, 2013
Caption : The Roosevelt Institute Campus Network, the nation’s largest student policy organization, held a panel discussion on Millennial attitudes on the government's role in making progress.     


The Roosevelt Institute Campus Network, the nation’s largest student policy organization, unveiled its new report on Millennial attitudes toward the government recently.

The report aggregated input from more than 1,000 young people and 40 student writers across the country. It is meant to serve as an action plan for how our government can address the immediate and long term needs of the Millennial generation. The action plan has three main goals:

  • Convene over a thousand young people across the country to examine the building blocks of our democratic system, identify the core values that drive it, and explore how we can build an ideal government that enables all to serve as active citizens;
  • Release on Inauguration Day a comprehensive blueprint and action plan for governance reform, built from the values and solutions that emerge from the conversations;
  • Take action by identifying and taking steps to address the main barriers to the democratic system, collectively engaging our 10,000+ membership in policy change at the local, state, and national level over the long-­‐term.

The government “should be a protector and promoter of equality for all,” said Liz Stokes, a senior at the University of Pennsylvania and lead author of the report "Government By and For Millennial America."

She added that this report found Millennials believe the government’s role is threefold: lawmaker, steward of the common good and innovator. 

Despite increased gridlock in Congress, voter suppression efforts, and tightened local and state budgets, the panelists remained optimistic about the future.

"Young people have a unique potential to drive change," the National Director of the Roosevelt Campus Network Taylor Jo Isenberg said.

Aaron Smith, co-founder and national director of Young Invincibles, pointed to recent legislation like the Affordable Healthcare for America Act and recent strides in immigration reform as positive signs.

These achievements “give people hope that we can actually accomplish things,” Isenberg said, echoing Smith's optimism for the future. "We can start a movement—a Millennial movement." 

Eric Mill, developer and international program officer at the Sunlight Foundation, emphasized the role of technology in promoting a more open and transparent government. He highlighted the foundation's call for legislation to be available online for 72 hours prior to a final vote in the House or Senate as an important step in the right direction. Additionally, he underlined the advent of social media in today's political dialogue and how it has the ability to shape and construct legislation.  

Isenberg said this report is not a final product, but a launching point for the organization's work with the relationship between the government and Millennials. Eduardo Garcia, advocacy manager at Campus Progress, moderated the panel discussion. 

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