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What They're Saying: South by South Lawn

Next week, the White House will bring together innovators and organizers who work to create change at the first-ever South by South Lawn.

Last month, the White House announced the first-ever South by South Lawn (SXSL), a festival to celebrate the spirit of innovation and bring together creative thinkers and entrepreneurs from across the country to discuss how we can tackle some of our biggest challenges. Since then, we have received over 20,000 nominations of people who are helping to improve the lives of their fellow Americans and people around the world. 

SXSL is an opportunity for us to celebrate the inspiring work of changemakers across the nation, and to leverage our collective efforts into creating positive change going forward. Get more details here. 

In anticipation of SXSL, take a look at what people are saying:

"President Obama’s willingness to actively engage with millennials and make his policies accessible to younger generations through participation in the culture is one of the qualities that has separated him from other leaders."


Vogue: Leo DiCaprio Is Going to the White House to Discuss Climate Change With President Obama

"DiCaprio’s visit and screening is part of the White House’s upcoming South by South Lawn, a.k.a. Obama’s version of the renowned Austin festival, which will take place on October 3 and will feature panels on 'ideas, art, and action.' On the lineup is a diverse group of visitors and events, including DiCaprio’s screening, a talk by artist James Turrell, music by Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, as well as a student film festival featuring an appearance by the creators and cast of Netflix’s hit show Stranger Things."

Mashable: Leonardo DiCaprio, 'Stranger Things' cast headed to the White House

"Leonardo DiCaprio will join President Obama to speak about climate change as part of South by South Lawn at the White House in October. The President will speak with DiCaprio, a long time climate change activist, and climate scientist Dr. Katharine Hayhoe."

Revolt TV: The White House's 'South by South Lawn' lineup has been announced

"Earlier this year, the Obamas went to SXSW (or South by Southwest), Austin's annual music, film, and media festival. And they must have been impressed with what they saw because the First Couple decided to bring their own version to the White House come October 3."


Rolling Stone: Leonardo DiCaprio, 'Stranger Things' Cast Headline South by South Lawn Fest

"In March, President Barack and Michelle Obama visited the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, where they spoke about topics including education, civic engagement, creative thinking and entrepreneurship. The new fest '[celebrates] that spirit of innovation.'"

Bustle: President Obama & Leonardo DiCaprio Are Teaming Up For A Surprising, But Important Reason

"Here's a riddle: What do Barack Obama and Leonardo DiCaprio have in common? On the surface, not too much — other than the fact that they're both well-known figures. One is the President of the United States, while the other is an Academy Award-winning actor. But guess what? They share a common belief in improving the environment. The White House announced on Twitter that Obama and DiCaprio are working together and hosting a conversation about climate change. They're equally passionate about saving the planet."

Hello Monday:

Condé Nast Traveler: The Obamas Go Out in Style With South by South Lawn

"SXSL wants to be more about social impact and civic engagement than pure entertainment. To do so, the festival will jam three components—the kind of multimedia events usually spread over week-long festivals—into a single day: a series of interactive panels featuring cultural influencers, tech innovators, and community organizers; the White House Student Film Festival, featuring student-made films around the theme 'The World I Want to Live In'"

Billboard: White House Announces 'South By South Lawn,' SXSW-Inspired Micro Festival

"Like its counterpart in Austin, SXSL will be comprised of three parts: Interactive, Film and Music, with the latter featuring a lineup of both well-known and emerging artists. The film portion will feature the 3rd Annual White House Student Film Festival, for kids K-12. The interactive section will include panel discussions with 'influencers who are using their platforms to bring about positive change.'"

 Join us on October 3rd on and Facebook and share what you are doing to help make a difference by using #SXSL.

Jazmin Kay is an intern in the Office of Digital Strategy.