My generation hasn't yet made its mark. Well, maybe iPods, but that won't get written into history books. We are a generation that has the opportunity to make a big difference in this nation's political climate. And it's about time we step up to the plate. A number of groups have realized this and are putting in the effort to do something about it.
As a summer intern in a progressive organization, I feel like I've been flooded with invites to youth-oriented activities. On Capitol Hill, there are numerous briefings and conferences targeted at interns and young staffers in an effort to encourage activism and involvement. It's not a bad idea—in fact, I think it's something that should have started on the campus level a long time ago.
There is the rumor that an intern in Washington can go without buying food because all of the freebies at events (see Social Capital ). Well, my breakfast yesterday came from the Feminist Majority Foundation  (FMF), who sponsored a briefing on the future of women's rights with the changes in the Supreme Court and global women's rights. With the nomination of Judge John Roberts, many wonder how much the balance is going to shift and if Roe v. Wade will be struck down. Those are important issues to be sure, but not the only ones. What about Title IX , the right to privacy, and parental notification?
Organizations like the Feminist Majority have started to embrace the younger generation. This added emphasis is not limited to the progressive side of the aisle, but it's liable to have the biggest impact there. Encouraging campus activism and involvement—FMF is hosting regional collegiate conferences  this fall on global women's rights—is a start on the road to giving young voters a stake in their government.
The Center for American Progress , led by former Clinton staffer John Podesta, has started something too. It's called Campus Progress  and its goal is to promote progressive activities on college campuses and encourage leadership with a progressive agenda. Not only does Campus Prgress supply interns and students with commentary, news and resources, it also attempts to give some of us semblance of a social life. Social Capital  is a blog-like social calendar with events around the Capitol area aimed at interns and young progressives. Start your networking early!
All of this organizing is not specific to progressives. Conservative groups on college campuses have been gaining strength as well. Next week, there is the 27th Annual National Conservative Student Conference  in Washington, D.C. (Don't worry, the Young Democrats of America  have their conference in San Francisco next week too.)Although I may not wish for more opposition, it is a positive sign that young voters from all parts of the political spectrum are being encouraged to get involved.
Pulling together the energy and strength of the college-age population is crucial to the future of this country. It should be the whole population voicing their concerns, not just those who have held power for generations. I don't consider myself an activist—but being politically aware and responsive is my way of fighting back. Pooling the resources on college campuses (see my comments on students fighting for Sudan  ) can attract attention and remind lawmakers that ther future successors have something to say and the desire to say it.