04/28/2014 02:43 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Democracy for America Netroots Nation Scholarship Competition


Last year, I had the opportunity to attend Netroots Nation in San Jose, which was made possible through the Democracy for America Netroots Nation Scholarship program. This year, Netroots Nation heads to Detroit July 17-20 and has over 40 trainings scheduled for the event.

Netroots Nation is the largest progressive conference in the country, and is an unrivaled springboard to amplifying progressive voices and educating attendees on how to be more effective in using technology to influence the public debate. This is done through a variety of events, panels, and workshops, which also provide a great opportunity for connecting with others focusing on similar issues.

While at Netroots Nation, Democracy for America (DFA) helped with organizing our own student debt panel. This helped us at connect with other organizations organizing around higher education issues, such as SEIU, which has started For-Profit U and Adjunct Nation. For-Profit U focuses on, "holding for-profit schools accountable for poor outcomes that have come at an exorbitant cost to students and the taxpayers who fund their operations through millions of dollars in federal aid." Adjunct Nation "unites adjunct professors at campuses across the country to address the crisis in higher education and the troubling trend toward a marginalized teaching faculty that endangers our profession."

This opportunity also allowed me to attend great panels and training sessions involving leading digital campaigns as well as issues facing millennials today. Perhaps the most memorable was the panel, Forever in their Debt: Taking Initiative on the Student Loan Crisis, which was preluded with a speech from Representative Keith Ellison. The panel featured leaders from American Federation of Teachers (AFT), United Students Association (USSA), Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Representative Karen Bass (who introduced HR 1330: The Student Loan Fairness Act), and was moderated by DFA's, Alex Showerman.

This year, Netroots Nation will be held in Detroit for what I'm sure will be another great event, filled with valuable workshops and panels. Do you know think you should attend Netroots Nation this year or do you know someone else who should? If so, apply for the DFA Netroots Nation Scholarship or nominate someone today!