First Lady Announces ‘Better Make Room’ Initiative

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First Lady Michelle Obama recently unveiled her new education initiative operating as a social media site that allows teens to share stories and information pertaining to their educational experiences after high school.

The initiative, “Better Make Room,” will offer generation Z students, or those between the ages of 14 and 19, a place to obtain a variety of information and resources on education, including how to sign up for exams like the ACT and SAT, fill out federal aid forms, and apply to college.  In addition, students will be encouraged to share their stories about goals, the application process and the progress they are making.

“These kids are working hard, and they are entrepreneurial, and they want content that’s authentic and raw — nothing polished, nothing packaged,” Obama said. “If we truly want to engage this generation in a conversation about higher education, we need to give them a space where they can drive that conversation themselves.”

The campaign will make use of new media platforms to engage students and encourage them to learn about and pursue higher education.

“It’s about valuing success in the classroom instead of just in the big screens and on the basketball court. And it’s about turning the culture of celebrity upside down, so that we don’t just have kids worshipping celebrities, but we also have celebrities honoring kids who are working hard and achieving their goals,” she said.

A number of celebrities turned out for the announcement, including Ciara, Tim Gunn of Project Runway, and University of Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh.

The website comes as part of the Reach Higher initiative launched almost two years ago by the First Lady to help President Barack Obama meet his goal of seeing the United States become the first in the world once again in the number of college graduates by 2020, writes Darlene Superville for Madison.

The campaign will see assistance from over 20 media, business and nonprofit groups, including American Eagle Outfitters, Vine, Mashable and the CW television network.

“Young people can go to BetterMakeRoom.org, or they can go to Vine, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #BetterMakeRoom … And they can share their goals for college and for life with kids all across this country,” she added. “This is exactly what this technology was meant to do, the good stuff — to use it to share and inspire.

“We want to make room for their stories, for their dreams, their achievements. Because the truth is that right now, that space really doesn’t exist in our popular culture.”