Harvard’s John Della Volpe Speaks on the Impact of Millennial Voters

By Katherine King '21 | November 12, 2019

John Della Volpe

On Tuesday, November 5, the New Hampshire Institute of Politics hosted John Della Volpe in an event entitled, “Greatness is their Mission: How the Values of Young Voters are Reshaping America.”

Della Volpe is the Director of Polling at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics, where he has led the Institute’s polling initiatives on understanding American youth since 2000. According to The Washington Post, he is one of the world’s leading authorities on global sentiment, opinion, and influence, especially when it comes to Millennials and the age of digital and social media.

Della Volpe presented to a room full of Saint Anselm College students and members of the community, addressing the misconceptions surrounding the Millennial generation and exactly what they have already started to do to change the world.

He started by explaining that he spends a lot of time breaking down the myths and stereotypes surrounding Millennials. One example Della Volpe provided was, “[Millennials] don’t take selfies because [they’re] narcissistic. [They] take them because that is how [they] communicate now. We used to visit with people but now this is the way to communicate.”

Della Volpe then went on further to explain why Millennials are such a unique generation and one that is destined to make big changes to everything we know about both domestic and foreign policies.

The Millennial generation began with tragedies like the September 11 attacks, Hurricane Katrina, and the Great Recession, causing the early years to be filled with stresses not necessarily matched by other generations. Millennials were also the first generation to grow up in a world completely connected through social media and smartphones. The uniqueness of the way which this generation was brought up in a state of such physical, financial, and emotional stress was exacerbated by the global connectedness of the generation, laying the foundation for an entire generation to distrust their government and question the functionality of “the system.”

Della Volpe explained that throughout his many travels and all of the Millennials he has talked with, one thing has rung true and clear for all of them: “It’s not about avocado toast, it’s not about lattes. It’s about living and dying.”

He concluded by saying that Millennials do not feel safe in the current state of the world and they are ready to change it, “from the inside out, the top down, and the bottom up.”