|(from the right) Ronnie Cho, associate director of the Office of Public Engagement listens as students share their ideas.|
Nearly 50 students from area colleges and universities gathered at the Alfonso Elder Student Union on the NCCU campus on Monday, April 30, to discuss solutions to the problems facing young Americans. Hosted by the White House Young America Series, the dialogue was a launching platform for ideas that will be taken back to the White House and shared with President Barack Obama.
“This event is not about reelection for the president,” said Ronnie Cho, associate director of the Office of Public Engagement and White House Liaison to Young Americans. “This is a grass-roots conversation to discuss what we care about and what we will do about it.”
In an “open-space process,” participants shined a light on issues of importance with the goal of creating solutions. Students gathered in small groups and discussed topics that included the environment, access to education, graduation rates and achievement gaps, entrepreneurship, LGBT issues on college campuses, healthcare and cultural competency. At the conclusion of the small group meetings, the larger group reconvened to share insight from their discussions.
The event is one of a series being held across the country with college-age students. Prior to coming to NCCU, The White House Young America Series visited Los Angeles, Miami, Detroit and Phoenix. In attendance on Monday were students from institutions across the state, including Winston-Salem State, N.C. A&T, Fayetteville State, UNC–Greensboro and NCCU.
Also in attendance was Sedika Franklin, Program Specialist in Communications with the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Franklin and Cho both assured participants that they would take their ideas back to the White House.
A portion of this event can be viewed at http://www.nccu.edu/media/?filename=whiteHouseYoungAmerica.mov