First lady Michelle Obama encouraged Oberlin College graduates Monday to dig deep into their local communities to volunteer, hold elected office and "shake things up."
Obama told the nearly 700 graduates of the liberal arts college they have to move past their comfort zones as they leave the school to push for change, carry on the "Oberlin legacy of service and social justice" and "run to, not away from the noise."
"Will this be easy? No, of course not. It will be hard, stressful and frustrating," she said. "Get in there, shake things up, don't be afraid."
"Fifty years ago Dr. King urged them, as Julia said, not to sleep through the civil rights revolution that was raging across this country. And graduates, climate change, economic inequality, equal rights, criminal justice, these are the revolutions of your time." - Michelle Obama
Oberlin was among three colleges chosen in the first lady's Near-Peer Video Commencement Challenge. Obama delivered the commencement address at Tuskegee University in Alabama on May 9 and will do the same at the Kings College Preparatory High School in Chicago on June 9.
For the winning entry, Oberlin College senior Patrick Gilfether produced a video about the school's Ninde Scholars program, which provides support and college access services to 7th through 12th graders in the Oberlin City Schools.
"The importance both the college and town place on building and sustaining community partnerships and a shared commitment to providing educational opportunities for Oberlin's young people," Oberlin spokesman Scott Wargo said.
Obama, also presented with an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree, urged graduates to not become discouraged when they leave the college and move to the next phases of their lives.
"You have just as much responsibility—and just as much power—to wake up and play your part in our great American story," she said.