Last Friday, Georgetown University hosted “Ask Obama Live: An MTV Interview with the President.” Thirty Georgetown students, selected by MTV for their variety of backgrounds, interests, and political views, gathered in Healy Circle amidst the gazes of passersby to watch President Barack Obama address the issues that concern young voters in an interview with MTV’s Sway Calloway.
In the interview, President Obama answered questions put forth by the students that dealt with issues as diverse as LGBQT rights, the scarcity of jobs for new college graduates, gender inequality in the workplace, high college tuition, climate change, and economic recovery.
Usually considered a network that focuses its programming on pop culture, MTV also makes an effort to use their influence to engage young voters in politics.
“There are a lot of young people who watch the network [MTV]. I think its great that we can do things like this that reach out to young people and try to engage them. That’s important,” host Andrew Jenks said to the Voice. “I think that it is also up to us, to our generation, to get involved and engaged and to get our friends into voting, so it goes both ways.”
Students were prepared with questions and took the interview seriously. “It wasn’t hard to find students who are engaged and wanted to speak with us, they really had great questions and specific concerns. That was very refreshing,” he said. “Everyone was so articulate, knew the issues, and were pretty specific in what they wanted to hear form the President, so, overall, very impressive.”
After the interview with the President, the students had the opportunity to share their reactions to the President’s responses.
Some felt that the Obama’s responses could have had more substance. “My main issue was really about gender equality, and I am severely concerned with shrinking the current wage gap, especially as a college student,” Deanna Arthur (SFS ’14) said. ”He [President Obama] did answer a question about the wage gap, but it got wrapped up in a lot of women’s rights issues, and while I really like that he has heart and he really does support equality for women an a very emotional level, I really was looking for more of a concrete answer.”
Arthur’s sentiments were echoed by many of the students involved in the interview. “I was satisfied overall because I know he [Obama] couldn’t get into extreme detail, but overall I think he has good spirit. “ Queen Adesuyi (COL ‘16) said.
Despite the lack of concrete details in the President’s responses, the students were satisfied with the president’s performance and grateful that he took time to specifically address issues that affect the American youth. “He has heart, and I think that’s really important in a candidate,” Adesuyi said.
The full interview and student reactions can be seen on MTV’s website.
Photo by Tiffany Lachhonna