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“Why I Care” and why it won’t work

Kaicie Boeglin

Opinions Editor

A meaningful campaign meant with good faith, or a meaningless ploy of propaganda to inhibit the youth? Governor Gina Raimondo instigated the conversation of COVID-19 awareness among college students back in September, stating in a news conference, “We need to figure this out. Maybe it’s incentives, maybe it’s a different way of communicating, maybe it’s providing more mental health.” Raimondo added that the state’s implemented Young Adult Task Force would start the “Why I Care” campaign.

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The task force is composed of students from various Rhode Island colleges and universities, as well as local leaders and representatives of all communities. Nursing student Matthew Mills, from the Community College of R.I., and Maria del Carmen Guerrero Martinez, a senior from Brown University are co-chairs for the force. Mills and Martinez spoke with the governor about why younger adults are refusing to grasp the pandemic. However, this force lacks representation of the young adult population not in college. This is a notion that needs to be recognized as the number of young adults not in college rose amidst the pandemic.

Governor Raimondo first asked how to make mask-wearing cool and received the response of “I don’t think it’s ever going to be cool, however, I do think it’s going to be okay,” by Mills. Mills reminded people the need to wear masks isn’t forever, but also that “we all have a reason to care.” This is the sole reason behind the social media campaign, “Why I Care.” The college social media campaign leaders created several social media posts which received less attention than deserved. The posts can either be read as wholesome proponents of the CDC and RIDOH guidelines, or a comical take on state stripping imagination and life from the youth.

Governor Raimondo and the co-chairs discussed in a Facebook live session if this campaign will help. The obvious answer is no. The reach is small, despite backing from various state officials -including Raimondo- this task force neglects to acknowledge the young adults not affiliated with any institution. By extending reach through social media outlets to different communities more people would listen.

The Governor stated, “I think that we’re going to get some good ideas out of this where we can bring our message more effectively to that age group.” Too bad she neglected to take into account the drop-out rate, especially this year. If a student can’t pay attention to their classes, what gives the idea that they will pay attention to college centric news and media?

Mills asked news WPRI 12 following the Facebook stream, “Wouldn’t you do anything to protect your friends, your family or even your friends’ family?” Although the purpose of the campaign is to get young adults to show their peers why they take action against or to prevent coronavirus, such as wear a mask and limit their social gathering, why is the target demographic only college students? Are drop-outs or individuals who abstained from school unworthy of this campaign? When individuals feel opposition they retaliate. Therefore, if the task force expects unity across all young adults in adherence with the governors phase guidelines, the campaign must extend its reach to the entire state’s young adult population.


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