Michelle Obama has a new plan to emphasize the importance of education after high school, and she’s pulled in some big digital media companies to help spread the word. The First Lady tapped platforms like Vine and digital hyphenates like AwesomenessTV to make public service announcements for her Reach Higher initiative’s “Better Make Room” campaign.
According to a White House press release, the “Better Make Room” campaign will “celebrate student stories in the same way that we often celebrate celebrities and athletes.” While the overall goal with the Reach Higher initiative is to encourage teenagers to seek higher education, “Better Make Room” specifically seeks to show young Gen Z adults aged 14-19 the importance of continuing their educations, either at a vocational/trade, community, or four-year college. The PSA campaign will also help teach students about the steps and tools they’ll need to apply to higher education establishments, such as filling out the FAFSA aid form and visiting college campuses.
The goal is presumably to make this Key & Peele sketch as much of a reality as possible, except with students instead of teachers (though I’m sure FLOTUS wouldn’t mind a future where teachers were treated this way, too).
More than 20 traditional entertainment and new media entities are on board alongside Vine and AwesomenessTV, including CollegeHumor, Mashable, Funny or Die, the CW, NBCUniversal, A+E, Seventeen, and Pearson. These companies have pledged to produce public service announcements and original content supporting the “Better Make Room” message. Campaign partners will tap their own talent to participate in the effort.
The White House said students looking to get “higher education deserve equal praise and adoration” normally reserved for celebrities and sports stars. “Through an integration of celebrities, peers, influencers, and partners who step outside their own accomplishments to lift up those of another, the campaign gives achievement, smarts, conquest and reaching higher the spotlight they deserve,” the White House noted. “Better Make Room highlights the possibility of a better education, a better career, and a better future.”
This is not the first time Michelle Obama has tapped digital talent and brands to help her promote higher education. In September 2014, the First Lady chatted with YouTube star Tyler Oakley about the importance of college as part of her Reach Higher initiative. Obama also partnered with Michelle Phan in Tokyo to promote the White House’s “Let Girls Learn” campaign, which sought to promote education for young women in third world countries.
You can learn more about Obama’s new educational campaign at bettermakeroom.org.