The idea that “millennials are the future” has been exhausted in commencement addresses and shouted by politicians. The rest of the world seems to scrutinize our generation under a magnifying glass, waiting to see what our collective next move is.
We seem to be criticized constantly for our overuse of social media and incessant texting at the dinner table. Even a Forbes article a few years back wondered, “Are Millennials Lazy Or Avant-Garde Social Activists?”
However, the article concludes that the answer is the latter.
“They [millennials] actualize their most important values and stand behind them with everything they do to bring about change,” said Brian Solis, an Altimeter Group principal analyst, in the article.
Furthermore, the Intelligence Group, a business investigations and intelligence firm, claims that only the president ranks ahead of millennials in terms of those who the group feels can change the world with their daily decisions.
There are many things that millennials are standing up and fighting for in order to create a better future for themselves. From climate change to Occupy Wall Street, millennials are fighting for causes on the front lines.
One important issue that has gained more attention recently with the coming election season is the national debt. The current debt stands at $19 trillion and is on the rise.
According to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, the total public debt as GDP now exceeds 100 percent. This essentially means that our government has produced more debt than the entire American economy produces in useful commodities each year.
As the generation told to “fix it,” I’m worried. With impending environmental crises, human rights issues and the overwhelming national debt, how are we supposed to simply “fix it?”
The Up to Us campaign was created as an attempt to take on one of these staggering issues. Up to Us is a nationwide campus competition that empowers students to educate their peers on our long-term national debt, how the debt could affect our economic opportunities and what our generation can do to raise awareness of our fiscal challenges.
This is the second year the campaign has been held at UM. Through events, tabling and social media, they were able to reach hundreds of students. Last Thursday, Up to Us held an event where they handed out funnel cake and educated students on the national debt, emphasizing the theme, “Congress is a National Zoo.” By holding events like these, they are able to engage students in thought-provoking discussions and have them sign letters to people in Congress stating that they care about our future.
The national campaign name here at Miami says it all. It’s “Up to Us.” As an environmentalist and news junkie, I know that it is time to make a change. It’s time for our generation to stand up for our future and to fight for fiscal responsibility among many other pertinent issues.
Solutions are far from easy – I definitely do not have all the answers. But if we stop being “lazy” and start being the “avant-garde social activists” Forbes dubs us, we’re unstoppable.
Taking part in the national Up to Us campaign this year has showed me the passion and dedication so many students and individuals have for our future. If we can harness this energy and show dismissive congressional representatives and other politicians that we have a strong, united voice, then I truly have hope for our future.
Nika Hosseini is a senior majoring in ecosystem science and policy. She is a member of the University of Miami Up to Us campaign.
Featured image courtesy Pixabay user PublicDomainPictures