In contrast with cynical Generation X, the Net Generation is optimistic, positive and driven to succeed. High achievers, they crave rewards and accolades for their hard work. They're aware of the many significant problems affecting the world, but they're confident that through youthful innovation and ever-improving technology, these problems will be solved.
Net Generation students are no stranger to community service. Volunteer projects have been a part of their academic and extracurricular life since kindergarten. Because of this, they value work that has meaning and improves the lives of others.
Net Generation college students are strongly motivated by academic projects that have a real-world component, particularly those that address a major issue like the environment, homelessness or poverty. Net Generation students work in teams to research an issue, create a plan and put that plan into action within their local community.
Net Generation students consider themselves active "global citizens," participating in international study and service projects. They reflect the values of high-profile celebrities who have taken on international causes, and youthful billionaires who have embraced philanthropy. In 2005, the Peace Corps recorded its largest influx of applications in 30 years. Among the Net Generation, it's cool to be smart, successful and to "give something back."
Now let's examine how colleges and businesses are responding to serve this unique group of students and employees.