Today Obama’s campaign launched its official new web-page for Students for Barack Obama. Along with the debut of the site, 863 students from across the nation joined Obama for a live conference call to talk about the role of students in his campaign. Students were also given an opportunity to ask Senator Obama questions about issues concerning young people ranging from student loans to health care to America foreign policy.
Obama shared the following with all those on the call:
“Your contributions are really humbling especially when I remember how little money I had when I was a student. Seeing your excitement has really inspired me to keep going on the campaign trail. I really believe that young people have always been at the center of great movements for change. I’m going to be counting on you to be the backbone for this campaign.
Sometimes those of us who are a bit older tend to take things for granted, but young people aren’t wedded to the world as it is. They can ask questions. They can imagine a world as they’d like it to be.
Keep working. Just understand that you are really the key to this campaign. It’s a huge opportunity for all of us to transform the country in a way that we haven’t seen in a very long time. Each and every one of you will be critical. You guys inspire me.”
It’s inspiring to see Obama directly engaging his unprecedented student grassroots network, a constituency that promises to bring tremendous energy, passion, creativy, free labor, and most of all, new voters to the polls. My hope is that he will continue to rally his youthroots movement to be a dynamic part of his campaign’s success, and at the same time, that youth will continue to demand Obama champion the role and issues of young people.
The current version of the Students for Barack Obama web-page is pretty straight-up without any fancy “bells” or “whistles.” It’s missing a certain amount of youthful creativity and a grassrootsy feel that I would expect. While there are more features to be rolled out in the near future, it’s designed to be closely integrated with the rest of the campaign site, something that brings many ‘pros’ and ‘cons’. What are your thoughts regarding the site’s style, message, and design thus far? What would you like to see created on the site geared toward educating and engaging young Americans?
Another issue closely related to this topic and especially relevant to Barack the Youth Vote is: what is the Obama campaign’s strategy to reach out to the wider population of young voters who are not students? While student networks are a solid, reliable, and invaluable base to build upon, the fact is that there are far more young people of voting age who are not students than those that are, and they need to be reached out to and engaged just as much as students.
This is one of the clear roles that Barack the Youth Vote promises to fulfill. How closely we will be working with Obama’s campaign and Students for Barack Obama is yet to be determined, but if we are going to make the Obama youthroots movement the historical success that it is building up to be, a broader collaborative alliance will need to be established.
What are your thoughts, reflections, predictions, suggestions???