In this October 6, 2011 photo, Gan Golan, of Los Angeles, dressed as the "Master of Degrees," holds a ball and chain representing his college loan debt. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

With more than $1.2 trillion in outstanding student loan debt in America, we know that student debt is creating an enormous drag on the economy at the same time as it hampers, in many cases, direly, the ability of young people to make something of their lives.

The steadfast advocates at have launched a summer project aimed to put some human faces on the still-metastasizing student debt crisis in order to raise public awareness and get the attention of members of Congress who, ultimately, have the authority to overhaul the badly-broken student lending system.

Using a new platform created by, the group hopes to collect one to two minute videos demonstrating how intractable levels of student debt has affected their lives. Participants are being asked to upload their videos to YouTube with the hashtag #OutWithStudentDebt in the title to have their videos automatically submitted.

As StudentDebtCrisis co-founder Kyle McCarthy explains, “Today, 41 percent of student borrowers are delinquent at some point within five years of graduating. The impact of millions of Americans being unable to pay has devastating consequences, both personally and to the economy. With so many people overwhelmed with student debt, it’s vitally important that people come out of the shadows and share how student debt affects their everyday lives.”

The first phase of the project began on Tuesday, August 6th and will end on Tuesday, September 3. Watch Aaron Calafato explain the idea and the philosophy behind the campaign and check out directions for how you submit a video.