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First Lady Launches 'Better Make Room' Campaign for Students

by Maya Chung /  / Updated 
Image: Fortune's Most Powerful Women Summit - Day 2
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 13: U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama speaks onstage during Fortune's Most Powerful Women Summit - Day 2 at The Robert and Arlene Kogod Courtyard on October 13, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Fortune/Time Inc)Paul Morigi / Getty Images

First lady Michelle Obama launched a new campaign Monday to encourage teenagers, or generation Z, to pursue higher education.

The “Better Make Room” campaign is part of the Reach Higher initiative which seeks to provide educational opportunities for students around the United States. The campaign aims to convince youths between the ages of 14 and 19 to pursue education beyond high school, whether college or vocational training.

“This campaign will leverage traditional and new media platforms to celebrate student stories in the same way that we often celebrate celebrities and athletes,” the White House said in a press release.

The campaign will partner with major networks and social media platforms with the goal of engaging students and reaching them where they are. Some of their partners include: Vine, Mashable, UpNext, Seventeen, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, and A+E Networks, among many others.

These organizations will promote the campaign through their platforms, whether it is through celebrity partners, like Lebron James, or through social media platforms like Vine, which has over 4.1 million viewers. The first lady is expected to travel to Akron, Ohio, on Wednesday and hold a rally to promote the campaign with James at the University of Akron.

“This campaign is at the core of what Vine is about and that’s why we’ve partnered with Reach Higher and “Better Make Room,” said Ankur Thakkar, the editorial manager at Vine. “We are excited to outreach to motivate young people and change the cultural conversation around education. We heard the first lady’s call to marshal our resources and platforms to support students reaching higher and that’s why we are proud to be standing with her.”

The campaign also launched the Bettermakeroom.org site on Monday morning as an interactive website for students. Teens can go to share their stories as well as get vital information on their journeys towards pursuing higher education, such as how to register for the ACT or SAT, information about visiting college campuses, and how to fill out a FAFSA.

“They can post their goals. They can share their progress. They can post those funny pictures with the crazy hashtags and this content is going to live right next to some supportive and motivational content created by our celebrity partners using their voices to lift up those students stories,” said Eric Waldo, the executive director of Reach Higher. “The idea here is we want to make sure this is going to resonate with young people."

President Obama has said that he hopes the U.S. will be number one in the world for the number of college graduates by the year 2020. The "Better Make Room" campaign is another addition to help achieve that goal.

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