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Student Leader Participates in Launch of White House Youth Initiative

Posted March 28, 2011 | Sarah Lack
Justin Pierce

Justin Pierce, the Kent State student who participated in a roundtable discussion with President Obama in February, is helping to launch a new White House initiative to encourage young Americans to take a larger role in their government.

The initiative, called "Your Future, Your Solutions: 100 Youth Strategies for Winning the Future," calls for young Americans from across the country to hold round-table discussions in their own communities to discuss issues affecting the youth and to stress the importance of being involved in government. Through an online form, students can download a tool kit to host their own round table and inform the White House about their plans. Students also have the option to ask someone from the Obama administration to participate.

Pierce, a senior finance major from Parma, was asked by the White House Office of Public Engagement to provide a student testimonial at the official launch of the initiative because of his active participation in the discussion with President Obama in February at Cleveland State.

"It was quite an honor," Pierce says. "I wasn't going into the discussion just for a photo opportunity. I did my research and tried to add value to the conversation. I didn't expect it, but my hard work paid off."

Pierce, who is the executive director of Undergraduate Student Government, has plans to host round-table discussions at Kent State and says that he feels passionate about the initiative.

"For now, I'm committed to getting the information out," Pierce says. "It's important for students to be informed."

As part of the launch, Pierce took part in two conference calls with White House Office of Public Engagement Director Jon Carson and Associate Director Kalpen Modi. Student journalists and national media were also invited to participate in the calls, which announced the start of the effort.

In his remarks during the conference calls, Pierce said that he was inspired by the initiative and encouraged his fellow young Americans to participate.

"Before this, I just did not think it was possible to expect much of our government," he says. "I did not think that our nation's leaders actually prioritized young Americans. But they do, and it's authentic, and this is really inspiring a lot of young people to get involved, get informed, make our voices heard and focus on solutions."

For more information about the "Your Future, Your Solutions: 100 Youth Strategies for Winning the Future" initiative, visit