Occupy WallStreet in a most beautiful way. This photo is from wakeupfromyourslumber.com.
By Bernadette Matroka, with Tom Wallace, Kathleen Gasperini, Ryley Bane
Occupy Wall Street has been taken-up among many cities to do their own versions in various places among those disenchanted with the economic inequality across the globe. Just today, October 11, 2011 in Paris, Rue Beaumarchais was filled with protesters who commonly walk this boulevard to the Bastille to protest global financial concerns.
Ironically, mainstream media does not cover such information with hideous lack of concern when this is the reality of what’s going on among young people across the globe.
On Thursday in the United States, there is a call for more than 50 colleges with planned student solidarity protests based on economic inequality. Much of this is also spurred by the problem of the credit debt crisis of student college loans and bringing to the forefront the idea that college may not be a worthy endeavor any longer, thus challenging the system quo of American education.
The recent death of Steve Jobs also brings the idea of a college education to light: He never completed his degree at Reed College. Nor did Bill Gates at Harvard.
But for many students, who will be strapped with tens of thousands of dollars in student debt at the age of 22 when graduating, this perpetuates a culture that most young people, who have gone through their teens in a recession (whether the US wants to admit this or not), is not about to abide to.
A huge credit bubble happening today is the college debt loan program. In many ways, the United States needs the college debt loan program to work but given the changes in technology, communication, and online expression, many educational institutions are woefully out of touch. Students are preceding their teachers.
One interesting element within this mix is PayPal’s founder, Peter Thiel and his “20 Under 20 Thiel Fellowship” program that pay students to pursue their ” innovative scientific and technical projects, learn entrepreneurship, and begin to build the technology” for at least 2 years and basically, dropping out of college to make such a situation happen.
It’s a 20-year program whereby the young person receives a Fellowship of $100,000 from the Thiel Foundation as well as mentorship in the categories of biotech, information technology, robotics, space, energy, education, finance, and mobile technology.
Eden Full’s SunSaluter at work in Kenya.
Enter a Fellow winner, Eden Full. At 15 she started her concept of a SunSaluter that would provide more solar energy than ever before using a simple concept. Once in Princeton, she applied for the Thiel Foundation program and was granted her award to take 2 years off, from which she bound for Kenya to prove the usefulness and test her SunSaluter.
The SunSaluter does the following according to the Thiel Foundation: Rotate solar panels to follow the sun throughout the day so they capture the most of the sun’s energy as possible that can optimize energy collection by up to 40% for a total cost of $10 per installation.
According to TreeHugger, Full said that the device can reduce the payback period for solar panels by five years. To drive home the technology’s potential, she said if the SunSaluter were installed on 15 percent of today’s panels by 2030, it would improve efficiency so much that it’d be like the electricity for a city the size of Philadelphia being carbon neutral.
Eden Full also recently won the Mashable Social Good Summit for $10,000 in the category of “Startups for Good” challenge.
Youth culture is leading the way in many protests that are going on, especially economically, as we’ve noted with changes in spending patterns overall in our Summer and Fall Youth Culture Studies 2011, but also reflections in our China, Japan, and European Youth Culture Studies. This is a time to get in touch with this generation, which defines yet another gap that is growing fast.