With the start of the semester, I have had the opportunity to meet student leaders at several evening events over the past few weeks. These students all share in various leadership roles in groups ranging from American Indian and Black programs, our GLBTQA community, Chicano programs, to the Greek system and ASNMSU, our student government. They can expect to pick up valuable skills and experience though their leadership service. It has been a pleasure getting to know the students and to spend time with them, and I have appreciated the opportunity to interact with them.
During a recent evening event with student leaders, I shared with them a few thoughts on the unique insights and qualities of their generation. Many of the students who are part of our campus community now are Millennials, and some additional understanding about them may help us serve them better.
These students, for the most part, share in being Millennial students, who were born after 1981 (much of the following information was taken from a report by California State University at Long Beach shared by Terry Cook). The current population of the US is made up of:
- Traditionalists: These are people who were born by the end of World War II and who have seen great changes in technology during their lifetime. Older Traditionalists were influenced by the Great Depression and World War II, younger ones by the Cold War.
- Baby Boomers: Born after World War II, Boomers grew up with television. This technology brought them news of the assassinations of the 1960s, the Civil Rights movement, the Vietnam War, the Women’s Rights movement, the Space Race and Watergate.
- Generation X’ers: this was the first generation of latchkey kids with working mothers. They were influenced by single parent homes, news about violence, AIDS and child kidnappings, and the Gulf War. Baby Boomers and Gen X’ers make up the majority of college employees.
- Millennials: born after 1981, Millennials are the most racially and ethnically diverse generation in U.S. history. Technology is very important to this generation, including laptop computers, iPods and MP3 players, gaming systems, and especially smartphones.