I look back fondly on my memories of waking up early to get dropped off at the local retirement home and hitching rides to help clean up the town’s parks with friends. OK fine not the waking up early part. After high school, I was lucky to spend time volunteering in elementary schools in India. Because of these experiences, I’ve been interested in the idea of national service for some time, but only recently realized that I’m not the only one.
My vision of the policy has always involved sending young adults to maintain our national parks for a year before college. This seems like an impressionable time in one’s life and it also would be a fantastic way to get exposure to other members of one’s generation. What’s magical is what happens when you take these kinds of ideas and start sharing them more broadly.
During a recent discussion with my friend Joe Wells, I learned that he’s currently exploring compulsory national service and its impact on national disunity, the student debt crisis, and failing US infrastructure. If you’re not following him already, I highly recommend starting here.
I am honored to be Joe’s first guest on his podcast series that is entirely focused on national service.
You can listen to the episode below:
A few related recommendations:
- This article on how tribalism explains the world by Amy Chua informs my worldview. She also mentions national service as a potential way to reduce divisiveness in the United States.
- Read this excellent piece about ending the colonial mindset in global health by Abraar Karan. A small sample: “If you are from a high-income country working in a low-income setting, and you don't think and rethink about this topic often, there is a good chance you are contributing to the problem.”
- Read more about my experience in India here: The Well And The World.