National student coalition urges deal on debt crisisBy GREG KWASNIK
Union Leader Correspondent
July 22. 2011 10:59PM
GOFFSTOWN - As the nation hurtles toward a possible Aug. 2 default on its debt obligations, one Saint Anselm College student is doing everything she can to get politicians in the nation's capital to work together.
In a nationally-televised press conference Thursday in Washington, D.C., Marissa Serafino, of Rutland, Vt., joined eight college students from across the country in asking President Barack Obama to lead a bipartisan effort to raise the nation's debt ceiling.
In their plea, the students were actually speaking for 116 student body presidents across America who had signed a letter asking Obama broker a bipartisan debt deal. The letter, part of a student campaign called 'Do We Have a Deal Yet?' warned the president that failing to raise the debt limit could have disastrous consequences for today's youth.
'While you may disagree over which party shoulders more blame for our current situation, one thing is certain - young people will shoulder the consequences of gridlock during a time that requires bold action,' the letter reads. 'Your decisions will determine what kind of country we will inherit.'
Serafino, the president of the Student Government Association at Saint Anselm College, became involved in the student coalition less than a week ago when it was started by several Georgetown University students. In just about a week's time, Serafino and others were able to get the signatures of 116 college leaders across the country, representing some 2 million students. On Thursday, the group delivered its message to CNN, the Washington Post, and other national media outlets.
Serafino, who is living in Washington, D.C. this summer to intern in Sen. Jeanne Shaheen's office, said the coalition is strictly non-partisan. It's only aim is to get the nation's leaders to work together and bring everything to the table to solve the nation's debt crisis.
'We're a coalition but not a special interest group, so we're not pushing one agenda in any way, shape or form - except to work together in coming up with a bold, balanced, bipartisan plan that's going to increase economic growth in the long term,' Serafino said in a phone interview following Thursday's press conference. 'Not coming up with solutions that are short term and then leaving us with the job of fixing it later.'
Although political leaders in Washington, D.C. have had a hard time working together to fix the nation's debt problems, Serafino hopes they will listen to constituents who want a bipartisan solution. With a letter to Congress in the works, Serafino hopes the nation's politicians will follow the example of a younger generation.
'It's especially important to the cause at this point just to send a message to leaders to actually lead and come together,' Serafino said. 'If we can do it as students, I think that's a great example that we're setting.'
To learn about the 'Do We Have a Deal Yet' coalition, visit www.dowehaveadealyet.com.