Common Sense Action begins campaign to jumpstart student engagement

With schools such as Boston University adopting Common Sense Action chapters on campuses across the nation, a contest will be held to spread awareness of the new national organization.

The CSA Campus Challenge, which launched Friday, encourages individual CSA-affiliated schools to compete throughout the coming months to foster awareness among their student populations in a manner personalized to each campus, according to a press release.

“We are an organization that has many chapters, said Abigail Fletes, president of the BU CSA chapter. “It started at Brown University, and now all the chapters are looking to spread the word … We are looking to get people involved in our movement, we want people to be made aware.”

Twenty-five schools are participating in the competition with BU, including the University of Pennsylvania, Brown University and Tulane University.

CSA, which currently has chapters in 25 universities throughout the country, aims to promote generational equity by encouraging the current college-age generation, known as millennials, to take a stand in national policies, said CSA CEO Sam Gilman.

“We are an organization founded by millenials and millennial run and driven, looking to bring the millennial generation to the policy table,” Gilman, a sophomore at Brown pursuing a degree in public policy, said. “We want to advance generational fairness and equate and protect the interests of grandpa and dad while also paying close attention to what we as the younger generation need.”

The organization is built on a variety of principles that ultimately seek to forge a path for millennials in the political world they will eventually run through a bipartisan agenda, Gilman said.

“We want millenials to have the skills they need to advance equity across the board,” he said. “Our ultimate goal is to repair politics, and the key with this is that we are bipartisan. It’s most important that we have broad, bipartisan goals.”

One of the ways BU CSA seeks to promote their group for the competition is by advertising their Agenda for Generational Equity, a petition created by CSA chapters that aims to involve college-age students in national politics, Fletes said.

The petition encompasses a “three-point plan” of advancing generational fairness, investing in millennial mobility and repairing politics, Fletes said. The petition is available online for BU students to sign.

“We want to spread the word about the petition and get people to sign it.” She said “We’ll use all the social media outlets to make people aware of what we are and what we are doing.”

Peter Stephan, a member of BU’s CSA chapter, said they would be developing hyped digital media to establish a larger online presence.
“Some of the other parts of the challenge involve producing semi-viral creations to bring in a lot more presence for our chapter’s Facebook page and the national Facebook page,” Stephan, a CAS senior, said. “We’re trying to get more people to like these pages to bring up the online presence of the group.”

The BU chapter of CSA is also publishing a weekly blog documenting the power millennials can have in national politics as a message to Congress, Gilman said.

“She [Fletes] is having her group publish a weekly blog about how CSA has helped her group see politics can be impacted by millenials,” Gilman said. “They’re telling Congress we need change now through content creation and writing.

Fletes said CSA is also planning to invite U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren to campus after having met with one of her aides in the summer.
“We hope now that we’ve made that connection that we can eventually have Senator Warren come here to speak one night at BU,” Fletes said. “We want her to speak to a student body and lend some insight.”

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