Between visits with my older daughter, who is in the middle of her sophomore year in college, accompanying my younger daughter on her college tours (she's starting in the fall), and regularly speaking at colleges all across the country, I've spent a lot of time on campuses lately.
And it's reminded me of all the excitement, promise, passion, intellectual curiosity, and vitality of college life.
That's why I'm delighted that we have created HuffPost College, our latest section, which launches today.
HuffPost College features voices from colleges and universities all around the country and offers a real-time snapshot of what's going on in the lives of the nation's 19 million college students -- from coverage of the latest trends and sports happenings to more serious issues such as freedom of expression on campus and the rising cost of tuition.
Edited by Jose Antonio Vargas, our Tech and Innovations editor, with the help of Leah Finnegan, a recent graduate of the University of Texas and the former editor of the Daily Texan, HuffPost College is designed to be a virtual hub for college life, bringing you original and cross-posted material from a growing list of college newspapers.
So far, we've partnered with over 60 of them, including the Yale Daily News, The Harvard Crimson, The Stanford Daily, UC Berkeley's The Daily Californian, the Iowa State Daily, the Daily Nebraskan, UT-Austin's The Daily Texan, the University of Hawaii's Ka Leo, the Columbia Spectator, The Wesleyan Argus, NYU's Washington Square News, The Michigan Daily, Duke's The Chronicle, the University of Alaska's The Sun Star, and the University of Missouri's The Maneater -- all of which will be providing us with up-to-the-minute college news and opinion, including photos and videos.
The section kicks off today with "Majoring in Debt," a powerful and moving piece focusing on the rising college-loan debts being carried by students all across America. Done in conjunction with our Eyes and Ears citizen journalism initiative, the crowd-sourced piece features the stories of students who are grappling with their debt -- and invites others facing a similar burden to add their stories to the mix.
Sara Tobin, an undergraduate at Tulane, says that the amount of money she's borrowed is "humiliating" and greater than the value of her childhood home. Charlie Preston, a resident physician at John Hopkins School of Public Health, says he owes $250,000 in student loans. Todd Sussman, a 26-year-old law student who owes $180,000 in loans, laments, "I watch politics go on as usual and it leads me to believe that there will be no help for me and the thousands like me. Where's our bailout?"
And with states cutting back on funding and tuition rising, the college student debt crisis will only get worse.
HuffPost College also features blog posts from students, professors, and academics on all things collegiate -- from the high-minded to the just-for-fun -- as well as the great issues of the day. Today's lineup includes Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, with a post tied to the college debt project; Beverly Tatum, president of Spelman College, the oldest black college for women, writing about the importance of the country's 105 historically black colleges and universities; and Jeff Katz, the sex columnist for the Cornell Daily Sun, weighing in on the impact of text messaging and Facebook on hooking up and relationships.
My life was changed by a magazine article on Cambridge that I saw as a teenager living in Athens. I looked at the pictures and was overcome by a desire to study there. Everyone thought I was crazy -- except my mother, who completely supported my dream and helped make it a reality.
My years at university were among the most stimulating -- and challenging -- of my life. They utterly transformed me, and created the opportunities that shaped the rest of my life.
That once-in-a-lifetime blend of stimulation and challenge, risk and reward, promise and uncertainly, the intellectual and the playful -- all served up with a heaping helping of youthful vigor -- is what animates HuffPost College.
Check it out. And let us know what you think... especially you college students. This section is for you!
Follow Arianna Huffington on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ariannahuff