Apr15200911:10 am

Millenials—the ‘civic generation’

Interesting on the heels of yesterday’s post: a flattering endorsement of Millenials in USAToday, pegging us as the “civic generation,” a generation of “activist doers:”

Community service is part of their DNA. It’s part of this generation to care about something larger than themselves.

That activism includes a significant focus on international work:

• Global connections. Because of the Internet, social networking sites such as Facebook, the growth of study-abroad programs and ethnic diversity, the Millennials are closely attached to the world and want to make it a better place.

Whether it’s teaching English in China or building a well in Africa, Millennials are “in tune” with global needs, says Philip Gardner of the Collegiate Employment Research Institute at Michigan State University. He says many who study abroad — 70% of students at four-year colleges have traveled outside the United States — “get the bug to go back internationally, and one of the fastest ways … is to do volunteer projects.”

Amanda MacGurn studied in Belgium, taught English in Chile and interned with Doctors Without Borders. Now 26, the Southern Oregon University graduate leaves next month for Romania to work for the Peace Corps.

“I want to devote my life to international service work,” says MacGurn, who lives in Eugene, Ore. “This is a great opportunity to serve both my country as an ambassador and also the international community.”

Also an interesting note on how Obama’s election has affected this movement toward service, especially on an international level:

The Obama effect. Millennial voters last year preferred Barack Obama 2 to 1. Many embraced the former community organizer’s call to service.

Online applications to the Peace Corps spiked 175% in the days surrounding his inauguration, says spokeswoman Laura Lartigue.


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