Mason Learns

First Lady Michelle Obama speaks with College Press

Photo by|U.S. Department of Labor

Hours before she addressed the Democratic National Convention, First Lady Michelle Obama held a press conference with college students from all around the country. With the election coming up, the First Lady was not shy in her assessment of the role the youth vote will play come November. Naturally this conversation was focused around the issues that are on the minds of every college student across the nation: cost of attendance, and student loans.

The First Lady made sure that each and every person on the call understood that both she and President Obama realized the harsh reality that an education today doesn’t come cheap. As all of us here at George Mason University and other colleges and universities across the country have seen; the price to be educated is not getting any cheaper. She stressed that her and the President have only reached the heights they are at today due to the education they received. It was entirely clear that if re-elected, President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan would continue to make education reform a top priority in bringing America forward. Both the First Lady and President Obama see an education not as a luxury but as an economic necessity. In order to have first class citizens, you first need a first class education.

The numbers don’t lie. America is behind their global peers in terms of education. If America wants to continue to be the hub of innovation and ingenuity it is today, as a nation, we must tackle the problems surrounding education in our country.

Attending college is not an economic reality for everyone in our country. The First Lady pointed to her husband’s doubling of Pell Grant as a sign that he has young people and their futures in mind when making decisions related to education. She wanted us all to know that we are the engine of her husband’s campaign. Young people, specifically college students, are being counted on to mobilize as many people as possible this upcoming election season.

The few pieces of advice Mrs. Obama had for college students was to join Obama support groups, and to register friends and relatives who aren’t yet registered to vote. The role of young people in this election is going to be huge, regardless of your political affiliation. If you are a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Independent, etc. it does not matter. What matters is that you involve yourself in the Democratic process. As a generation we must “Be Aware, Get Educated, and Vote!”

With regards to how First Lady Michelle Obama felt about this upcoming election, she had this to say:

“We are going to win this.”

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