THE BLOG
07/27/2011 01:30 pm ET | Updated Sep 26, 2011

College Student Body Presidents Unite Over Debt Debate

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Photo Credit: Do We Have A Deal Yet?/Youth Radio
Student body presidents take questions and answers at a recent press conference.

Originally published on Youthradio.org, the premier source for youth generated news throughout the globe.

By: Robyn Gee

Reaching a bipartisan agreement on the debt ceiling problem? Seems like a cinch for college students.

Over 100 student body presidents from colleges and universities in 40 states have formed a coalition to urge Congress to reach a bipartisan solution in the debt ceiling battle, and prevent a default from happening. Their campaign is called, “Do We Have A Deal Yet?”

The group held a press conference last week to present a letter to legislators in Washington that urged them to find common ground in the budget debates. President Obama acknowledged their call for action. He had a phone call with the coalition and thanked them for the letter and their concern.

“We don’t have an agenda, we’re just asking them to lead,” said Kaveh Sadeghian, student body president at the College of William and Mary. Sadeghian said when he signed on to be a part of the coalition, he thought hard about whether it was something that the entire student body could get behind. “I took a bit of a risk … but that’s exactly what we are asking members of Congress to do too—you have to take a risk in order to move forward with anything,” said Sadeghian. “It has resonated so well with William and Mary—the student body has embraced this message,” he added.

The letter was a bipartisan statement, and the coalition of student body presidents had no trouble coming to terms with the resolution, or with each other. “We never asked who’s a Democrat or who’s a Republican … partisanship is irrelevant. We just mobilized. Our message is simple … not simple because we’re naive, but because we’re grounded. It’s a message that’s rooted in what this generation collectively believes,” said Sadeghian.

Student body president Kaiyi Xie, at the University of Maryland, said the issue of the federal budget affects college students specifically. “We want to consider our future job prospects. … The idea that our parents wanted a better life for us is threatened by this impending default. And looking forward too—we want a better life for our children. … We will see the problem when we go into the workforce, and when low income families can’t even send their kids to college,” said Xie.

This coalition is unique: Uniting this many student body presidents represents the coming together and political mobilizing of 1.8 million college students from all over the U.S. That idea might turn a lot of heads. “We always get the rap that we’re unengaged—but that’s not true. We want our politicians to see that we believe in the system—we trust them—we have faith in Washington, and we want them to justify that faith,” said Xie.

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