The Issue of Student Debt

  1. In Matthew Renda’s article, “The Betrayal of Student Activism?”, he discusses the incident involving the six students from the University of California Santa Cruz who protested the increase in tuition price by blocking traffic near the city. These six students were later arrested and sentenced to thirty days in jail. The university then proceeded to suspend the students without providing them a hearing. This created a huge outcry against the University for punishing the students so harshly for peaceful protests. It even angered some who heard about another student from UCSC that participated in a protest near Washington DC that was not punished at all. Do you believe that the university was justified to suspend them without a hearing? Why or why not? Also, do you think that inconveniencing innocent bystanders is a good tactic to getting one’s ideas across? Do you think that the students should have protested in a different method? If so, why or why not?
  2. The former president of the University of Delaware, Patrick T. Harker, wrote an article regarding the issue of increasing student debt and how to fix the problem. The debt is causing middle class citizens to struggle to pay for a quality education. He proposed many ideas, including that universities should be learner-centric instead of teacher-centric. He thinks that by doing this we would use our resources more efficiently and effectively. He also believes that courses should integrate technology more and more and slowly break away from the traditional classroom methods. He encourages more creativity in the classroom as well. Do you agree with Harker that learning should be centered around students, not teachers? Why or why not? How can this method be implemented into the classrooms? Would this idea be one that sounds great in theory, but impossible to integrate into the curriculum?


Big Words:

Bewildered – to perplex or confuse especially by a complexity, variety, or multitude of objects or considerations

Ambivalent – simultaneous and contradictory attitudes or feelings (as attraction and repulsion) toward an object, person, or action

Paragon – a person or thing that is perfect or excellent in some way and should be considered a model or example to be copied


The Blame Game: “Generation Q” vs. Older Generations

1.) At the end of his article entitled “Generation Q,” Thomas Friedman states that courage is “what activism looks like” and that “there is no substitute” (Friedman). He believes that there is no other way to fight the problems facing our generation without speaking up. He believes, “America needs a jolt of the idealism, activism and outrage (it must be in there) of Generation Q” (Friedman). Do you believe that Generation Q can provide this “jolt” of outrage being the quiet, technologically advanced generation we are? Or do you think we must put down our computers and use our voices instead?

2.) The authors of the first two articles, Friedman and Russell, seem to be playing a sort-of “blame game,” trying to figure out whose generation created the problems that our world today faces. Friedman states, “Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy didn’t change the world by asking people to join their Facebook crusades or to download their platforms,” taking a jab at the emphasis our generation puts on technology. (Friedman) Russell combats this blatantly stating, “Friedman should be shouting at his own generation” (Russell). Do you think that, instead of blaming different generations, we should try to figure out a solution together? How could we work together to do this?

3.) Ross Pomeroy and William Handke, in their article called “The Most Entitled Generation Isn’t Millennials,” express similar views to the ones displayed by Cameron Russell. They too, believe that it is not our generation that is responsible for the world’s problems, but that we do have the daunting task of fixing them. However, they state “When we do begin to regularly share our opinions in the voting booth, not just on Twitter, you can be assured that we’ll act to keep this country great” (Pomeroy and Handke). How do you think the authors of this article would feel about Thomas Friedman and his views? Would they agree that our generation is too technologically-focused? Or do you think they would agree more with Cameron Russell and his view that technology is furthering progress?

4.) Friedman believes that “Generation Q may be too quiet, too online” (Friedman). Russell states that “There is a deafening roar in cyberspace,” advocating for generation Q. Finally, Pomeroy and Handke blame America’s problems on the economy, not the younger generation. Which of these authors would you most agree with and why? Is there anything you would add to their arguments?

1.) Subsidy: A tax levied on imports and exports, the income from which was granted by parliament to the sovereign to meet particular needs; a sum of money raised by this tax

2.) Hegemony: Political, economic, or military predominance or leadership

3.) Cohort: a group of persons having a common statistical characteristic, esp. that of being born in the same year

Are the Millennials really to blame?


Our Generation has a reputation from some people of preceding generations as being lazy. Or as Thomas L. Friendman likes to describe us – the Quiet Americans, who quietly pursue our idealism at home and abroad. Throughout Friendman’s article, he argues that our generation is not being proactive to the serious issues that will greatly affect our lives’ as we grow older, and we will be in a huge predicament if we continue to do nothing. However, is our generation really able to make a difference in solving these issues? He goes on to argue if we are politically active in these issues, we are only active online. If we can make a difference, should we use technology to our advantage to help the issues at hand? Or should we make a change face-to-face, as Friendman encourages us to?

In many of these issues that our country is facing, the damage has already been done from preceding generations. Cameron Russell argues that we have already inherited this world on the brink of collapse. In Russell’s article, he argues that global warming, which may be one of our generation’s biggest problems, needs to be assessed very soon or it will be too late. Global warming is an issue for our government today. Older generations have “enjoyed the lowest energy costs in the world and failed to consider the costs of carbon emissions that made risks to the environment and the economy” (Pomeroy, Hanake). These damages that they have caused will most likely not come into effect, or atleast to its extreme, during the current government official’s lifetime. However, the damages will greatly affect us during our lifetime. Do our candidates and government officials sincerely care about an issue if it will not be affecting their lives?

Also, as a result of the older generations, us millenials “are poorer, more indebted, and less employed than generations before” (Pomeroy, Hanake). This is caused from The Great Recession. Older generations decided to make short-term adjustments, which resulted in making bigger issues in the long-run for our generation. Ross Pomeroy and William Hanke argue our current legislators are the most unproductive and are re-elected more often than not. Yet, they bash us for not making a difference. Are the older generations hypocrites by telling us to make a change when they are the ones with the power to do so? How can our generation make the current legislators focus on the issues that will affect us?

Big Words:

  1. Epitomized- condensed, summarized, abridged
  2. Insurmountable- cannot be overcome or passed over
  3. Calamity- a grievous disaster, an event or circumstance causing loss or misery

Older Generations vs. Millennials: Can ‘having your head in the clouds’ be the future?

Discussion Questions:

  1. Thomas Friedman referred to our generation as being very impressive but says that we need to, “get organized in a way that will force politicians to pay attention” (Friedman). Cameron Russell then counters this argument by saying that our generation is in fact getting organized, however this organization is just taking place on the internet. He also says that there is a, “deafening roar in cyberspace” and that saying our generation is “too quiet” and “too online is the opinion of someone who doesn’t understand what it means to be online” (Russell). Both writers have valid points but cannot reach an agreement on the issue. Is there a way to combine both of the writers ideas to create a solution superior to just getting organized in person or just getting organized online? if so, how? and how do you think the authors would respond to this solution?
  2. In Pomeroy and Handke’s article, our generation has been described as, “a lazy cohort of entitled and narcissistic brats” (Pomeroy/Handke). With this description in mind, also note that our generation is poorer, more indebted and less employed than the generations preceding us. If this is really the case, then how did out generation get such a bad reputation? Do you think this is deserved? Why or why not?
  3. Do you think that in today’s world, Friedman’s idea of our generation, “speaking truth to power, face to face, in big numbers, on campuses or the Washington Mall” (Friedman), will solve the problem? Or is it unrealistic to think this problem can be solved without the use of technology?
  4. The last line of Friedman’s article reads, “That is what real activism looks like. There is no substitute.” (Friedman). By that he is referring to the James Meredith statue at the University of Mississippi. Do you agree with his thought that actions, similar to the ones taken by James Meredith, are the only kinds of action that promote activism? Or, is there other ways?
  5. Do you think its fair for older generations to hold us accountable for cleaning up the mess they left over decades, especially when they are seemingly expecting us to do it so quickly?
  6. If the economy has been being, more or less, crippled by our parent’s and grandparent’s generations and even generations before that, then is it even realistic to think our generation can fix it in our lifetime alone? About how long do you think it will take?


  • Gluttonous-Excessively greedy or insatiable
  • Stymied-To impede, obstruct, frustrate, thwart (a person, an activity, or a project).
  • Accrued-Accumulated or increased by growth; (esp. of interest, leave) built up over time.
  • Eschew-To avoid, shun.