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Michelle Obama Backs New College Site

A first-generation college graduate, the First Lady Michelle Obama continues the quest to get each and every young American a college education.

Elizabeth Hoyt

October 21, 2015

Michelle Obama Backs New College Site
The First Lady Michelle Obama continues the quest to get each and every young American to view higher education as both an achievable goal and a priority within their future. Her most recent effort, a public awareness campaign in the form of a web site entitled, Better Make Room, is tied to her Reach Higher initiative, as well as collaborative efforts between partners Civic Nation, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization and the U.S. Department of Education. The Better Make Room website focuses on creating a positive community, geared toward students aged 14-19. The site encourages bettering oneself through educational goals, career steps and forging a path for which the world “Better Make Room.”

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The entire site is highly focused on individuality and empowerment, shown throughout each of the site’s features and language.
Students are able to participate on the site through posting photos and comments on the site’s message board under the heading, “Saying Things Out Loud Makes Them Happen. Tell Us How You’ll Reach Higher.” Tweets to #BetterMakeRoom also appear on the message board.

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The feed is filled with encouraging messages, individuals’ goals and photographs of students with their college acceptance letters. In short, it’s both motivating and encouraging. Site participants can also make their own personal avatar within the site’s photobooth section. The photobooth’s heading reads, “You Do You,” another push for individuality, with the subheading, “Customize your avatar. Make it your own. Show the world you mean business.” There’s the empowerment. They are also able to sign up with another Better Make Room partner, Up Next, to receive text messages which give important reminders about educational tasks, like applying for college, paying for school and repaying federal student loans.

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The issue of higher education and accessibility to all students is personal to the First Lady, as she was a first-generation college student. While more minority and lower-income students are pursuing higher education post-high school than in the past, there’s still a substantial college access gap that doesn’t need to exist. Optimistically, continued college accessibility efforts, higher education awareness and empowerment initiatives, such as Better Make Room, will help to bridge that gap, permanently.

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