Friday, February 20, 2009

Give Back: What Will YOU Do?

Students across America have rallied around President Obama's call to service. More and more young people are devoting their time to public service and volunteer opportunities in their communities.

Launched in 2006, the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll seeks to award colleges and universities for their commitment to community service through innovative and effective techniques. This year’s honorees were presented during the American Council on Education Annual Conference in Washington D.C.

The top six colleges (out of a total of 635!) were honored with the “Presidential Award”. Congratulations to:

• Emory University
• Michigan State
• California State University, Fresno
• Brookhaven College
• Duke University
• University of Missouri – Kansas City

Criteria are based on factors such as percentage of students engaged in at least 20 hours of service per semester, whether academic service-learning is a part of the core curriculum, and ratio of alumni who are current AmeriCorps and Peace Corps members.

The awarding is the highest federal recognition a college can receive for this type of commitment. It’s pretty cool seeing how many schools made the honor roll this year, which shows how many students and institutions are dedicated to being a part of their community and putting others before themselves.

Whether you’re in school or not, take some time out of your week to feed the homeless, clean a beach, rebuild the Gulf Coast. The possibilities are endless, but it begins with YOU.

Find out about opportunities in your neighborhood at

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Secretary of Defense

Name: Robert Gates

Hometown: Wichita, Kansas
Current City: Washington DC
Job at time of Appointment: Secretary of Defense (for George W. Bush)
Age: 65

Despite a flurry of dissent in the Democratic party, Barack Obama chose the incumbent Secretary of Defense (appointed by George W. Bush) to fill the current cabinet post. Gates joined the CIA in 1966 and spent nearly twenty seven years as an intelligence professional, serving six presidents. In 2006, Gates stepped in as Secretary of Defense after Donald Rumsfeld's resignation. He has also published two books: "Iran: Time for a New Approach," and "From the Shadows: The Ultimate Insiders Story of Five Presidents and How they Won the Cold War."

Friday, February 6, 2009

Communications Team

Press Secretary

Name: Robert Gibbs
Hometown: Auburn, AL
Current City: Washington D.C.
Job at time of appointment: Communications Director for Barack Obama's Campaign
Age: 37

Initially, some in the DNC regarded Robert Gibbs as a controversial choice for Press Secretary due to his campaign against the nomination of Howard Dean in 2004. 

However, Gibbs' skill in deflecting criticism from the Obama campaign quickly earned him the nickname "the enforcer" among Obama staffers. Plus, as a Southerner, his valuable insights earned him respect among the other advisers, and President Obama eventually started calling Gibbs his "one-person Southern focus group" (and judging by Obama's performance in Southern states such as Georgia and North Carolina, you can bet Gibbs earned this title!)

Gibbs held his first official press briefing on January 22, 2009. Check it out:

Photo from javno Video from AP

Communications Director

Name: Ellen Moran
Hometown: Amherst, Massachusetts
Current City: Washington D.C.
Job at time of appointment: Executive Director of Emily's List
Age: 42

Moran came as a surprising choice to many supporters due to the fact that she strongly supported Hillary Clinton through the Primary season. 

Though Moran didn't work on the Obama campaign, she has close ties to David Plouffe and David Axelrod.

Before being picked as Communications Director, Moran ran the organization Emily's List, which backs female candidates who support abortion rights. She has also worked for the A.F.L - C.I.O, coordinating their "corporate accountability campaign" against giants like WalMart; and the Democratic National Committee, doing advertising and coordinating campaign activities.

Photo from The Washington Post

Deputy Communications Director

Name: Daniel H. Pfeiffer
Hometown: Wilmington, Delaware
Current City: Washington D.C.
Job at time of appointment: Communications Director for the Obama Campaign
Age: 33

Pfeiffer is probably the most tech-savvy person on the White House staff. At 33, Pfeiffer doesn't quite qualify as a Millennial but he sure knows how to navigate the social networking world! He has an intimate understanding of technologies like MySpace, Twitter and Facebook - all of which played a big role in Obama's success.

Prior to his appointment, Pfeiffer had worked on numerous Senate campaigns, including Tim Johnson, Tom Daschle, and Evan Bayh. Back in 2000, Pfeiffer served as a spokesperson for Al Gore. His wife is a longtime aid to Rham Emanuel.