Students discuss hopes for American dream

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by Dominic Gwinn, Staff Reporter

As part of its American Dream: Reconsidered conference, and in conjunction with the Roosevelt College of Arts and Sciences Student Advisory Council, Roosevelt students expressed their views in a discussion, “Millennials and the American Dream.”

The students presented a short film showcasing recent graduates and current students expressing their own personal views on the American Dream before holding a panel discussion in which several students talked about their paths to success in school and life, as well as their own perspective on what the American Dream means to the Millennial generation.

Students covered issues such as the differences between their own goals and that of previous generations, the value and importance of money, perceived roadblocks, limitations, and how their own ideas on the American Dream have changed.

Junior Political science major and Vice Chair of the College of Arts and Sciences Student Advisory Council, Becca Wojciki, felt the panel had not only a positive effect on students in attendance, but herself as well.

“I honestly always looked at the american dream very pessimistically because I study politics and a lot of social justice issues,” said Wojciki. “I think today I’ve realized we can all have our own definition of the American Dream, and it doesn’t always have to fall under parameters of wealth, or education, or success.”

Bonnie Gunzenhauser, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, praised the work of the students who volunteered their time to plan and execute the panel which took many hours of work over the past several months.

“I’m very proud of the CASSAC students who put on this panel,” said Dean Gunzenhauser. “They really came up with the idea, did all of the outreach, edited the footage. We provided them with a little infrastructure and support, but this is the only student led panel part of the conference. The American Dream is about the future, so it’s important we hear from the students who are our future.”

Maggie O’Connell, a freshman psychology major, attended the panel and reflected positively about the potential for millennials to shape the future.

“I haven’t really thought of my own American Dream,” O’Connell admits. “ It made me think about what mine would be, and the different individual aspects of what my American Dream is going to turn out to be.”

Student Body President Nathan Stoll led the panel as well as edited the film which highlighted numerous students from across Roosevelt’s diverse population in discussing their dreams and aspirations. Stoll expressed great satisfaction in the outcome of both the film and the panel, and hoped that students, faculty and community members understand that the millennial generation’s interest in solving today’s pressing social justice issues.

“I hope people take from this panel that millennials have an interest in working to find the problems that exist within the idea of the American Dream and working towards ensuring that changes. We can work towards broadening the opportunities that exist for people so that they have a chance to achieve whatever their version of the American Dream is,” Stoll said. “I hope that people realize the millennial generation…is not just going to sit with the way that the American Dream is.”

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