by Mike Bayard, S.J.
A few years back, I remember lying in bed and awakened out of my morning stupor by a headline that I recalled reading earlier: "Generation Y Fixated with Being Famous." That's enough to wake anyone up, especially if they work among this generation.
The article attached to this headline reported that many in the 18-to-25 age bracket who were part of a research poll said they wanted to be rich and famous. It's a sentiment supported by a 2007 Pew Research Center survey, which noted that 81 percent of young people said that getting rich is their generation's most important or second-to-most-important life goal. Digging deeper into the results yielded the following findings: More than 50 percent placed the same level of importance on fame, 30 percent on helping others in need, 22 percent on becoming a community leader and 10 percent on spirituality.
The study points toward a generation that deems fame, fortune and entitlement to be the core values of their lives.
Frankly, I was surprised by the results. Reflecting on the 18- to 25-year-olds I know and have worked with over the past 10 years—our Seattle University students—I find them firmly rooted in a different set of core values: values that get them out of bed on a Saturday morning to serve at St. Mary's food bank; values that compel them to challenge administrative decisions; values that move them to organize the university community to support important causes such as relief efforts following the Haiti earthquake.
"...I have witnessed numerous students who have inspired me. They are passionate and engage life, delve deeply in conversations that matter and ask the tough questions."
Mike Bayard, S.J.
As director of Campus Ministry I have witnessed numerous students who have inspired me. They are passionate and engage life, delve deeply in conversations that matter and ask the tough questions.
We each play a significant role in the education of our students, whether we are educators at SU or alumni. All of us are fortunate to serve as mentors, teachers, advisers and peers to a generation that continues to inspire, amaze, influence and defy stereotypes.
Father Mike Bayard is director of Campus Ministry at Seattle University