Andrew Kaplan '15

COMMON SENSE ACTION

commonsenseaction.org

 

Common Sense Action is a grassroots organization that mobilizes a network of youth voices who demand that society open the gateways of opportunity for our generation. We have three long-term goals.

  1. We build a grassroots network to elevate the youth voice to the policymaking table. 
  2. We amplify the youth voices calling on government to open doors for the next generation.
  3. We reduce uncompromising extremism in politics through primary elections.

To accomplish these goals, we undertake issue-based campaigns as we grow our organization to more campuses. Our first campaign focuses on reducing the deficit and rebuilding the economy. During the summer, we will organize political interns in Washington D.C. to create Common Sense Action chapters on their respective campuses, expanding the Common Sense Action network beyond Rhode Island. We believe that the Starr community and mentorship program will be instrumental in helping us build Common Sense Action. 

Personal Statement

I have always wanted to do something big. It started with my dreams as a kid, when I would build sprawling cities out of LEGOs and wooden blocks. I envisioned myself as the grand architect, the master planner. I think my perfectionism started at that age too, as I refused to let any detail of the metropolis escape me. The train platforms had to be level with the train doors. The restaurant tables had to have both pizzas and wine glasses. The Stars Wars LEGOs had to be kept strictly apart from the Indiana Jones LEGOs, to maintain the universal integrity of course.

I remember my childhood when I think back to one of the first conversations Sam and I had at Brown. We sat in the library until the early morning hours, talking about what we wanted to do with our lives. Typical, maybe, but still an important conversation to have and one that shaped what I do today. We both had a simple answer to what we aspired to achieve: "Something big."

Common Sense Action was born out of that answer. But I can't explain why Common Sense Action is important to me without also mentioning my family, who always told me to maintain a deep sense of commitment to my ideals. "The lesser of two evils is still evil," my dad would often explain, especially when it came to politics. Yet, my time at Brown has changed my perspective slightly. I realized that no matter how deeply I believed in my principles, no matter how strongly I believed my view of the world was the correct and true, there will always be people who believe the polar opposite - indeed believe just as strongly as I do that their opinion is the correct one. And who am I to tell them otherwise? Holding core principles makes us human. Without a diversity of opinion, the world would be a boring and lonely place.

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