Kansas College Campuses:
A Glimpse of the Future

Zach Colby

This post was written by Zach Colby.

Zach, a native Kansan, graduated from Washington and Lee University in 2015. At W&L he studied economics and music and captained the soccer team. After graduating he worked at a startup in San Francisco. For most of 2017 Zach traveled the world pursuing philanthropic efforts tied to soccer. He has since settled in SAM's Denver Hub as Field Director.

April 18, 2018 // Article

Over the month of March, SAM hit the paved paths of colleges up and down Kansas for some facetime with students—aka the future voters of America. Out of the many voices that were willing to share their opinions, one thing came up as a theme, over and over again: they are ready for change. Not Obama’s “Hope” or Trump’s “MAGA,” but something really, totally, radically “new.”

When pressed further for how this might manifest itself however, we began to see differences in opinions. Some called for Trump’s impeachment, others electoral reform, and even more for less tangible things like common-sense and sanity within politics. It’s amazing that we are at a time in history when multiple 18-22 year olds can call for common sense from our “adult” leaders. I have a feeling that the founding fathers our politicians so often like to evoke would be appalled at that fact.

Another overarching theme that surprised us (pleasantly, albeit) was that students are much more apt to be willing to engage politically. It’s no secret we are in a new epoch, both technologically and politically, that presents a host of problems never before seen, with all the new issues though, we have also seen unprecedented levels of engagement. How that will translate into the elections this fall remains to be seen however. It seems that people all over the spectrum are fired up and ready to take action, but no one is bringing that energy under one roof toward a specific goal.

That is SAM’s goal. We want to empower a new majority. College students—millennials and Gen Z-ers—are ready to be a part of something new. We’re ready for civil adult leaders. We’re ready for transparency, honesty, and sanity within politics. Our lives have been defined by availability and freedom of information—technology has removed obstacles and barriers to entry across almost every industry, yet our government and political infrastructure is lagging sorely behind. This is a mystifying problem for those of us only a few years into the “real world.”

Technology is inherently empowering, and the rift between the incredibly technologically-savvy 18-34 year-old voting bloc and technologically-dinosauric political establishment is proving to be a massive hurdle in many an industry, but specifically in politics. It is for this exact reason that the increasingly large population of young voters chooses to eschew politics altogether. It was however, exciting for us to find that folks like this were actually surprisingly interested in SAM. Specifically because it’s new, different, and not a part of the “machine.” We want to empower this group to show up in November and to keep showing up—to support candidates and measures that will bring our politics into the 21st century.

We’ve modernized every other part of our lives—it’s time we brought politics along as well.

— Zach

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