With rock music blaring in the background, President Clinton's youngest and hippest adviser came to Harvard yesterday to promote a new national peace corps.
George stephanopoulos, senior presidential policy advisor, praised the new program, called AmeriCorps, before a crowd of about 200 on the lawn in front of the Science Center. Local bands Bim Skala Bim and Chucklehead performed during the rally.
Stephanopoulos was joined by Secretary of the Interior Bruce E. Babbitt, who pledged support for AmeriCorps and described how his own work in 1965 as a civil rights worker in Selma, Ala, changed his life.
Babbitt--who was in the news yesterday as one of the leading candidates for nomination to the Supreme Court--and Stephanopoulos visited Harvard as part of AmeriCorps National Service Campus Tour '94, a preview to this fall's launch of AmeriCorps. The corps allows college-age students to participate in full-time community service in exchange for funds to finance tuition or pay back student loans.
According to an article in USA S
Today, participants will also receive somehealth and child care benefits. Participants willbe involved in such projects as opening AIDSshelters and cleaning parks.
In an exclusive interview with Te Crimsonyesterday, Stephanopoulos acknowledged that whileAmeriCorps does not offer the pay of a job on WallStreet, it will give students "a start" aftercollege.
"[AmeriCorps] provides some incentive forstudents to go back in the community and do workthey want to do and get help towards repayingloans," Stephanopoulos said.
But Stephanopoulos noted that the program hasfinancial limitations.
"We do have a deficit and we can't fundeverything." he said.
Stephanopoulos expressed hope that the programwould work in spite of increasing public mistrustof the government.
AmeriCorps, he said. is "designed to breakthrough that cynicism and show that people canmake a difference."
"It's to show that government can bring out thebest in people," Stephanopoulos said.
The presidential adviser said he believed theprogram would appeal even to Harvard students whotend to be focused on lucrative professionalopportunities or graduate schools.
"Harvard has a strong history of communityservice," said Stephanopoulos, citing the successof Phillips Brooks House. "Harvard has been at theforefront of activity in community service."
Stephanopoulos also noted that City Year, aBoston public service, was founded by Harvardalumni.
In the interview, Stephanopoulos addressedother issues pertaining to Harvard and thegovernment.
He acknowledged that some Harvard faculty, likeAmes Professor of Law Philip B. Heymann, whoresigned from the justice Department earlier thisyear and then blasted Clinton, have had troubleadapting to jobs in government.
But Stephanopoulos said the academic influencein government is "as strong as ever."
Stephanopoulos also defended the president'sstaff, which includes numerous recent Harvardgraduates, saying criticisms of their inexperienceare unwarranted.
"Those criticisms are almost cliches,"Stephanopoulos said.
He said he believed, on the contrary, thatHarvard graduates had made many significantcontributions to the campaign and theadministration.
After the rally, Stephanopoulos spoke to agathering of about 1,000 elementary schoolchildren at Memorial Hall for the InternationalPeace Games, an education project organized byHarvard undergraduates