‘Better Make Room’ is Michelle Obama’s latest higher ed initiative
This fall Michelle Obama announced the launch of Better Make Room, a public awareness campaign that encourages education after high school. The campaign is the latest phase of her Reach Higher initiative. Reach Higher aims to encourage all students in America to “take charge of their future by completing education past high school, whether at a professional training program, a community college, or a four-year college or university,” according to the website.
Better Make Room targets students ages 14 through 19 and gives them “room” to share their goals and progress towards higher education via the Internet. Students create an account where they upload statements describing their goals and can share personal progress through stories, pictures, and videos. The students maintain a public presence that requires them to stay accountable for reaching their goals.
The site features community members who have posted pictures of themselves with their college acceptance letters or outlined career goals and it discusses the necessary steps to “reach higher” as the First Lady encourages.
Students also are encouraged to sign up for “Up Next,” a text-messaging system that sends occasional educational resource links and words of support. Users can customize their accounts so they receive reminders and college registration deadlines and tips for taking the SAT and ACT.
The campaign is supported by more than 20 organizations that appeal to this demographic, including Mashable, CollegeHumor, and American Eagle Outfitters. It has also enlisted the support of celebrities including LeBron James.
Mrs. Obama launched the program within the context of the President’s “North Star” goal. The goal is for the U.S. to have the highest number of college graduates in the world by 2020.