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Hayley Campbell Hayley graduated from Georgetown's School of Foreign Service in 2012 with a degree in Culture and Politics and a certificate in Religion, Ethics, and World Affairs. At the Berkley Center, she...
Where do young people come down on questions of faith, values, and public life? How do they relate their values to public policy issues including education, economic inequality, and the environment? These questions, critically important for the 2012 election, are at the center of a campus conversation being organized by the Berkley Center and Georgetown University. This blog features an ongoing conversation about these issues between students selected as Millennial Values Fellows through a national competition. You can read and comment on their blogs here.

To learn more about the project, visit the Campus Conversation on Values page.

OTHER POSTS

Millennials on Social Media and Politics

November 15, 2012

Millennials on Social Issues and Diversity

November 12, 2012

Hira Baig (Rice) on Why the Presidential Election Matters to Millennials

November 7, 2012

Millennials on Religion and Interfaith Work

November 7, 2012

Ryan Price (Drake) on E Pluribus Duo

November 6, 2012

Mohammad Usman (DePauw) on Unpredictable Millennials

November 5, 2012

Millennials on Affirmative Action Policy

November 3, 2012

Seth Warner (Vassar) on What Happens as the "God Gap" Widens

November 2, 2012

Josina De Raadt (Dordt) on How Social Media Is Like Wii Bowling

October 31, 2012

Zachary Yentzer (Arizona State) on the Next Greatest Generation

October 29, 2012

Brice Ezell (George Fox) on Post-Racial America? Race, Millennials, and the 2012 Election

October 25, 2012

Tyler Bishop (Vanderbilt) on a Future of Hashtags #whatitmeansforus

October 23, 2012

Brice Ezell (George Fox) on How the People Can Heal a “Divided,” Partisan Nation

October 4, 2012

Hira Baig (Rice) on Religion and American Democracy

October 4, 2012

Tyler Bishop (Vanderbilt) on How It’s All About Relatability: Voter Turnout

October 3, 2012

Josina De Raadt (Dordt) on Mistaking Politics for a Hollywood Blockbuster

October 2, 2012

Mohammad Usman (DePauw) on the Internet Solution

October 1, 2012


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Does the Millennial Generation Have Values Fundamentally Different from Its Predecessors?

Millennialgeneration

April 6, 2012

The dramatic social, political, and technological changes of the 20th and 21st centuries have directly impacted how Millennials distinguish the values and priorities of their generation from those of their predecessors.
Many students highlighted how the technological revolution has radically transformed how Millennials interact with the global community. One student argues that Millennials inherited the values of their forefathers, but that technology has multiplied their ability to broadcast the issues that matter most globally. He rejects the Baby Boomer assumption that social media activism is “slacktivism,” instead asserting that the Millennial generation is using new tools to expand global awareness more efficiently and effectively than prior cohorts.

The idea of bringing local concerns to the global stage was a common theme. Another student comments that the global perspective of this generation has improved upon the civic mindedness of the Baby Bombers. Millennials “are not focused solely on American issues… They don’t recycle because it’s good for the local environment but because we believe that we can save the rainforest.” Young people have been empowered see issues through a wide lens.

Conversely, through technology, the global message has the power to shape local concerns. Students assert that the Millennial generation can no longer plead ignorance to the suffering of the world around them. Through social media, they can relate personally to the hardship of their peers. Millennials today have been instilled with a sense of global compassion. Many are calling for dramatic changes in how governments, militaries, and economies treat the afflicted because they can see in real time how the actions of powerful impact the lives of the powerless.

Some students were slower to point to the positive impact technology has had on the values of the Millennial generation. One student is concerned that with the increase in information available on the internet, our generation has grown more detached from true community. Another is alarmed with our intellectual isolation, expressing fears that the internet allows Millennials to seek after only information that supports their pre-existing worldview. They remind us that technology in itself is not a moral good or evil, but a tool to be molded to each generation’s priorities.

In addition to an important discussion of technologies influence on Millennial values, many contributors commented on the progressive and open characterization of their generation. Be it the flood of information from all parts of the world or the living legacy of relativist philosophy, the Millennials place a high value on tolerance.

One student points out that her generation is proud of cultural and intellectual difference in a way not fully actualized in the Baby Boomers. Millennials “are not satisfied with inequalities as the status quo, not by ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion (or lack thereof), or location.” Another expands on her position, commenting that young Americans today believe that there are many equally valid paths to human happiness. As a result, Millennials are more accepting of non-traditional life choices, which would have been looked down upon in years past.

This perspective includes a greater acceptance of “wandering aimlessly through many jobs, passions, and pursuits” and a more progressive stance on the hot button issues of the culture wars. One student discusses the progressive social values that separate Millennials from the mothers and fathers. They are more likely to see an issue like same-sex marriage as an issue of accepting another’s life choice, than an attack on a universal institution. It is the tendency of the Millennial to heir on the side of relativism in politics. A fact to which another warns, “tolerance means nothing if there is nothing to tolerate. True diversity remains illusory if we demand total conformity.” He reminds us that when characterizing an entire generation, there will also be dissent.

The Millennial generation has much to say about their changing values. The following is the beginning of a much larger conversation.