First lady Michelle Obama has formally announced “Better Make Room,” a public awareness campaign squarely directed at America’s future leaders: Generation Z.
Over 20 social media companies, businesses and nonprofit partners gathered with Obama on Monday, October 19 in the East Room of the White House to launch an effort that will hopefully turn the culture of celebrity upside down.
“Better Make Room will create a space for young people to inspire each other,” Obama said. “The truth is right now that space doesn’t exist.”
“We’re so focused on celebrity scandals and break-ups there is no room for the story of the first generation college student whose parents doesn’t speak English, or for the boy who was told he was not college material,” Obama said.
Better Make Room allows students to have the same fame an adoration that celebrities receive, however, they will be on the receiving end from stars, peers, influencers and partners who will spotlight their stories on a national, multi-platform scale.
“We want students to go to the hashtag ‘Better Make Room’ and share their goals for college and for life and then we are going to uplift their stories,” Obama said. “They might see their words on billboards, posters, tweets, Instagram and they may receive an invite to the White House.”
Celebrities such as singer Ciara, socialite Angela Simmons and NBA star LeBron James, whom the first lady will meet with on Wednesday has all signed on to be ambassadors for the educational campaign.
“This will not be traditional, truth is I probably won’t understand everything we’re doing with this campaign, but this is a critically important mission,” Mrs. Obama said.
Former U.S Secretary of Education Arne Duncan hopes that Generation Z, youth from ages 14-19 years old, will benefit from this campaign to lead the world in college graduates like before.
“We have to lead the world in college graduates again, we did a generation ago and now we are twelfth in the world,” Duncan said.
“I am pleased to announce that today we have had 36 states whose graduation rates went up this year, this is hugely important,” Duncan said. “When young people drop out of high school there are virtually no jobs out there for them.”
“Be clear we must take the next steps after high school. If we can help reach young people where they are it will open up a whole new world of opportunity,” Duncan said.
The first lady’s “Reach Higher” educational initiative serves to inspire every student in America to take charge of their future by completing their education past high school, whether it be a training program, community college or four-year university. Better Make Room, serves as a part of the initiative that will celebrate education, change the national conversation and reach students directly where they are giving them the space to create content while also preparing for college.
“The stakes couldn’t be any higher for our young people,” Obama said. “The only way to the possibility of a better future is through an education.”