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RU-N’s SGA President Visits the Pentagon and Talks Policy

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Rahimah Faiq, Rutgers University– Newark (RU-N) senior and two-term president of RU-N’s Student Governing Association, was one of 22 members of the Global Shapers Community to visit with officials of the United States Department of Defense (DoD) to discuss global policy and affairs on June 20, 2016. The Global Shapers Community, an initiative of the World Economic Forum, is a network of “hubs” developed and led by enterprising and accomplished young people called “Shapers,” primarily between the ages of 20 and 30, who are driven to make a difference in their communities. The Shapers who visited the Pentagon exchanged views on the future of intelligence; strategies for DoD’s successful recruitment, development, and retention of Millennials; the geostrategic priorities for the United States in the short and long term; and the face of future counterterrorism.

“The main purpose of the gathering was to offer young adults a seat at the table to present an outside perspective, particularly as seen through the eyes of Millennials,” Faiq shared. “It’s promising to know the Department of Defense welcomes the worldviews of burgeoning innovators, venture capitalists, and entrepreneurs.”

Common themes that emerged included the importance of understanding the power and impact of the internet and its ability to inform and unite as well as mislead and alienate communities. Much of the conversation centered on the need for and willingness of governments, multinational corporations, nongovernmental organizations, and the scientific community to work collaboratively and with transparency. Recognizing that a paramount responsibility of every government is to protect its citizens, the Shapers encouraged solutions that would address all of the foregoing without compromising national security.

As for the desires of Millennials in the workplace, they are the same whether the employer is the DoD, a university, or a Fortune 500 corporation. Millennials want a culture of creativity, flexibility, and opportunity.

“We want to see career growth and progression, and organizations that are socially responsible and non-hierarchical,” according to Faiq, who majors in criminal justice and minors in psychology. “Because Millennials can do a little bit of everything, we prefer less-specialized environments that foster an interdisciplinary approach to transacting business and getting things done,” notes the Rutherford, New Jersey, resident.

It is Faiq’s hope that employers like the DoD will begin to change their recruitment paradigm and instead of placing a strong emphasis on candidates’ work experiences, begin to value how versed they are about the world.

“Where have you traveled? What languages do you speak? Those are the types of questions employers should ask and Millennials expect to answer.”

Top photo of Rahimah Faiq (center wearing striped shirt) and fellow members of the Global Shapers Community at the Pentagon courtesy of the U.S. Department of Defense

Left photo of Rahimah Faiq courtesy of Shelley Kusnetz