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White House Civic Meeting Includes GU Students

White House Civic Engagement

Georgetown students attended the White House Civic Engagement panel and Twitter Town Hall.

July 7, 2011 –A group of Georgetown students attended Obama’s Twitter Town Hall yesterday and were also at the White House July 5 for a meeting on improving civic engagement.

The “How to Make Change: Civic Engagement,” part of the White House’s “100 Roundtables” Initiative, focused on effective strategies for young Americans to make change and be more active in their communities and the political arena.

Speakers at the roundtable included Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.) and Zakiya Smith, White House senior policy advisor for education.

Building Ideas

“It was a great opportunity to just have the organizational structure where students could come together and build off of each others’ ideas,” says Zack Hubbard (MSB’12), who helped organize Georgetown’s contingent with the help of Kalpen Modi, associate director of the White House’s Office of Public Engagement.

Another student said the meeting fit in with Georgetown’s mission to educate students to be active in their communities.

“The panel discussion focused on the virtues of civic engagement – of people being involved in their communities and giving back to make them better,” says Nick Troiano (C’12).

White House Tweets

Michael J. Meaney (SFS’12) was one of the students at both events, and had the opportunity to shake hands with President Obama at the Twitter Town Hall.

“It was wonderful to see the President address questions derived from political musings on twitter,” says Meaney, president of the Georgetown University Student Association. “Twitter and online social media have become a new form of political participation and engagement.”

Social Innovation

Some members from the Georgetown group attending the White House events are proposing the creation of a Georgetown University Social Innovation and Public Service (SIPS) Fund.

The fund would be created with a portion of a $3.4 million endowment created by Georgetown’s student government ending contributions to the Student Activity Fee Endowment from the annual student activity fee.

The proposal, which students hope to bring to a vote in the fall, would make strategic investments in Georgetown students and ideas that mirror the university’s Jesuit values of service to others and “commitment to justice and the common good.”

“The student who has the next big idea should have access to seed capital to get it off the ground,” Troiano says. “This is what the SIPS Fund is about.”

Students hope the SIPS Fund would also allow university community service groups to come together under a main organizing body to better service those involved.

‘Unprecedented Opportunity’

Troiano says the “How to Make Change: Civic Engagement” panel energized students wanting to make a difference, who in turn will inspire other students at the university.

“We are confident that our campus community will recognize that this is an unprecedented opportunity to use a portion of our collective resources to do a tremendous amount of good in the world, by investing in our own potential as leaders and entrepreneurs,” Troiano says.

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