The think tank that I looked into was the Roosevelt Institute Campus Network.

  I found this think tank particularly interesting because it is the first (and I think only) student-run policy research group in the United States.  This think tank was established in 2004 at Stanford University and Yale University following the 2004 presidential election.  The Roosevelt Institution was founded by “disillusioned young progressives seeking a stronger voice in American policymaking.”  Although one might assume that this think tank is funded by a university, it is actually privately funded by the students who run it, along with help from donations.  I tought it was pretty cool that actual college kids got together and were actually able to accomplish getting their voices heard.  As Roosevelt’s founders put it: “Colleges are already effectively think tanks — just not effective think tanks”.

Personally, this is exactly the type of think tank that I would want to work for.  Maybe not the same topic of policy making, but definitely the way it is run.  I think it would be great to work for an organization that is basically run by your peers who have similar goals to your own.  I feel that if I worked for a government or university run think tank there would be endless obstacles and restrictions.  But working for a think tank such as this one with a clear purpose that aligns with your own could be very fun.  If I could create a think tank of my own, I would have it serve the purpose of making the drinking age in America 18.  One of my biggest pet peeves about this country is that you can be drafted into the army at 18 but can’t legally drink.  What that basically says to me is that I’m old enough to die, but not man enough to drink.  America is one of just a handful of countries that has a legal drinking age of 21.  If I had a think tank, I would conduct research and provide evidence to show that lowering the drinking age would not casue any problems.  Practically every other developed country has a drinking age of 18, and they don’t seem any worse off.  If anything, lowering the drinking age would serve to cut out a lot of the legal nonsense that occurs between the ages of 18 and 21.  And it might help people mature faster as well.  Pretty much eveyone drinks in college, why not just align the drinking age with the typical starting point of higher education?  Coming back from being abroad and going back to being “underage” must be pretty depressing.  So, I would push for the drinking age to be lowered for America.  We can “handle” it, pun intended.

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9 responses »

  1. Connie says:

    Wow, I know I should probably have a little more faith in our generation, but I am still amazed that the college students were able to mobilize to create this think tank. Not only that, but the fact that they are willing to commit their personal funds to help run the think tank shows how truly dedicated they are to their cause. With that being said, would you (could be you, personally, Paul, or anyone and their respective think tanks) be willing to put in the money to create your think tank? With regards to your particular think tank, Paul, I would probably donate to help fund your think tank. As I mentioned before in a past entry on this blog, I think that lowering the drink age would take the “rebellion” out of drinking. So much of the idiocy associated with alcohol that occurs in the United States, I believe, is due to teenagers thinking that they’re cool by going behind their parents’ backs and drinking themselves into oblivion. If the think tank could cooperate with parents to educate their children about proper drinking behaviors, I think the think tank could really take off.

  2. scoutberger says:

    I do and I don’t agree with the aspect of your think tank. On one hand I think it is absolutely absurd that you can go to war before you can have your first legal sip of alcohol. That being said, I think this is a very difficult scenario because I do and I don’t necessarily agree that the drinking age should be lowered. I grew up always having little sips of wine here and there with my family and I strongly believe that because of this I have not had an inclination to abuse alcohol. I never stole alcohol from my parent’s liquor cabinet or anything of the sort. It is with in mind that I think the drinking age could be lowered. However, there is another part of me that strongly believes that it shouldn’t be lowered. I have seen many times where people have completely abused alcohol. As it is there are people over the legal drinking age that still abuse alcohol and have a lot of growing up to do. It is under these circumstances that I believe that the drinking age should not be lowered. Everyone at some point or another has had a bad night where they have had too much to drink. I don’t hold that against anyone…it happens. However, there are many people that overindulge on a regular basis to a dangerous extent. I hate for a few bad apples to spoil a situate; however, I still believe people have a lot of growing up to do.

    Ideally, I wish that people could learn to drink alcohol appropriately at a younger age. Drinking a glass of wine here and there as a young adult (before turning 21) helped me be a better drinker down the road (by better drinker I mean a more responsible one). This subject is something that I am extremely torn about. No you should’t be able to go to war before you are able to legally have a sip of alcohol but I also don’t necessarily think good could come out of people being able to drink sooner than 21.

  3. Alex Lin says:

    Paul – I think you raise a great point about working for a Think Tank that is not sponsored by an organization such as the government or an university. By using your own money, the influence from outside the Think Tank can be limited because you do not have to change your view or perspective on an idea in order to obtain some funding.

    I guess the other side of a Think Tank like this is that you have to provide the funds from your own pocket. Connie presented a good question asking we would be willing to provide the funding ourselves. I think for certain topics such as the one you presented, you could definitely get some interest, especially at a school like Bucknell.

  4. Kate says:

    I have always had a hard time dealing with the fact that 18 year olds who enter the draft are given the responsibility of a gun to kill the enemy, but cannot drink a sip of alcohol for three more years. I would therefore be interested to see what would happen if the drinking age was lowered back to 18. Personally, I think it would reduce our generation’s binge-drinking epidemic because college students would not have to take numerous shots of hard-alcohol before attending a party. Students could visit the bars and casually drink with their friends rather than “drinking to get drunk” every weekend. would the epidemic begin at an earlier age? Possibly. For the change to be successful, it would really depend on teenage parents to teach them about the consequences of alcohol, especially about drinking and driving.

  5. Zach says:

    To start, I don’t buy into the army vs. drinking thing. I don’t see them as related issues. One has to do with serving for your country while the other has to do with recreational activity. Having said that, I do think that the drinking age is too high. One of the big problems is the fact that on a college campus, there are a lot of underage kids hanging out with kids that are of age. At the same time, the drinking age was once 18 in America. It was moved to 21 to try and reduce the instances of drunk driving. I don’t have the exact statistics, but when the law was changed, there was a significant reduction in deaths of this nature. Finally, I don’t think it is logical to compare America to other countries when talking about alcohol consumption. Many kids abroad are introduced to alcohol at an early age in a way that is not socially acceptable here in the states. Having a glass of wine at the dinner table is not something that you would be likely to see a kid doing here, where as it is commonplace abroad. This difference creates some form of curiosity in American teens that is really instilled in teens from other countries.

  6. Hannah says:

    I wrote one of my high school research papers on why the drinking age in the United States is 21, so I’m with you completely on that topic. One of the things I would say that might be ineffective about a student run think tank though is that we, as young as we are, might lack the experience, organization and assertiveness to get done what you initially set out to accomplish. One of the things that I think would be awesome about a student run think tank though is that they’re our age, so they would be focusing on topics that are relevant and important to us. We would be naturally more inclined to work for something that we feel more of a personal connection to, and especially since it would be funded by your own money, you have a pretty decent amount of motivation to actually have your research mean something I’d say. You’d also be free to explore whatever you want without having to worry about reporting to controlling demanding heads of management.

  7. Jordi says:

    If you are in the military, I think you can drink on US facilities.

    I am fascinated by the student run TT. What a great idea. How could BU start a chapter?

  8. Marko says:

    I agree with all of you guys but I still think the drinking age in United States should be lowered to 18. First of all, everybody knows that college students consume alcohol beverages. Whether they are freshman or senior has no difference. Take our past weekend for example. We had 5,000 kids drinking on our campus and probably only a quarter of them were 21 or older. Professors know that, school knows that, police officers knows that. Than, why everyone turns their blind eye on the events sponsored by school? I think kids are receiving mixed signals from such double standards.
    I was raised in Europe where the drinking age was 18, and I was introduced to alcohol way before I turned 18. But, if anything that teached me how to be responsible and drink moderatelly. I start damaging my liver here when I moved to college and start binge drinking with all of the kids who thinks alcohol is cool and illegal.

  9. […] Co-Most Passionate Responses: Zach – The Pew Research Center & Paul – Old enough to die […]

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