Over 100 student body presidents have signed on to a campaign spearheaded by Georgetown University Student Association President Mike Meaney (SFS ’12) that urges leaders in Washington to reach a deal on the debt ceiling.
Signatories from over 40 states have put their name to a letter drafted by Meaney along with former GUSAFinance and Appropriations Chair Nick Troiano (COL ’12) and other student body leaders.
The letter speaks on behalf of the signers and the students that they represent in its petition for President Obama and Congress to forgo their differences and reach a compromise.
“It is time to put the politics aside. It is time to put the parties aside. It is time to put the pledges aside. Now is the time to do what is right for the country. … In your negotiations, think about the next generation — not just the next election,” the letter states.
The movement began a week ago after Meaney, Troianoand Carlos Reyes (SFS ’11), a former community member on The Hoya’s board of directors, decided that there was a stark lack of a youth voice in the debate over raising the debt ceiling that has crippled Washington in an intense partisan gridlock.
“There’s never been a more important time to care about what’s going on,” Meaney said.
Both Meaney and Troiano feel that their generation has been wrongly pegged as apathetic and disinterested.
“We want to be a voice for our generation where none exists,” Troiano said. “There is no youth voice saying we need shared sacrifice, but also to care about the future generations.”
The fledgling organization has created the website dowehaveadealyet.com and a social media strategy while they gather more signatures on the letter, which will be publicly released Thursday.
In the three days they have been circulating the letter, the response has more than met their expectations according to those involved. The current signers represent over 1.8 million college students across the country at their respective campuses.
Troiano felt that the letter merely provided an outlet for a common feeling among college students.
“They were grateful to have an opportunity to express their frustration,” he said.
The group has two goals, according to Troiano and Meaney. The first is to influence the debate and help push Washington to strike a deal.
“We don’t want to see this process reiterated every six months. We want a deal. We want it to be big. We want it to be impactful,” Meaney said.
Second, they hope to convince those their age to be more involved and proactive when it comes to politics and their future.
“Of everybody in this country, there is one group that stands to lose the most from political inaction, and that’s people our age,” he added.
He and eight other student body presidents will hold a press conference at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday at the National Press Club, where they will introduce the letter and launch a social media campaign employing the Twitter hashtag #dowehaveadealyet.
At press time, Republicans and Democrats have yet to reach a compromise as the deadline of Aug. 2 creeps closer. Without a deal to raise the debt ceiling above $14.3 trillion in under two weeks, U.S. Treasury officials have said the United States will begin to default on its obligations.
Correction: This article originally stated that Thursday’s press conference would take place at 1p.m. at the National Press Club. It will take place at 1:30 p.m.