The Peter G. Peterson Foundation, Clinton Global Initiative University and Net Impact Announce Nationwide Campus Fiscal Competition

Mar 31, 2012 Peter G. Peterson

Launching “Up To Us,” three groups come together to engage a new generation on economic and fiscal issues

Washington, D.C. - The Peter G. Peterson Foundation, Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) and Net Impact announced “Up To Us”, an innovative, year-long campus competition that will engage students at colleges across the country in addressing America’s long-term fiscal and economic challenges. This initiative is the first of its kind, helping to empower a new generation of young Americans to reclaim their fiscal future.

President Bill Clinton, Peter G. Peterson and Net Impact CEO Liz Maw came together on stage at the fifth annual CGI U meeting at The George Washington University to announce “Up To Us – Students Taking Action for a Better Fiscal and Economic Future" and discuss why it is essential for young people to engage in these issues.

Beginning in the fall of 2012, against the backdrop of the presidential election and an increasingly partisan atmosphere in Congress, student teams from college campuses across the country will develop campaigns to educate and engage their peers on America’s fiscal and economic issues. Teams from college campuses will submit applications, and twelve will be selected to compete in the year-long competition. Over the course of the 2012-13 academic year, each team will launch individual campaigns to raise awareness about fiscal sustainability, drawing connections to critical issues such as economic opportunity, budgetary choices, resources available for future investments, and other domestic and global concerns. The campaigns have the potential to activate tens of thousands of students, and the winning team with the most effective campaign will be recognized at next year’s CGI U conference.

President Clinton said, “I applaud Pete Peterson and the Peter G. Peterson Foundation’s effort to engage college students across America to tackle the issue of our nation’s debt. I’m pleased that the Peterson Foundation has teamed with Net Impact and that together they are using the CGI U platform to launch this program on a diverse group of campuses. I look forward to seeing the results at next year’s CGI U.”

Foundation Chairman Pete Peterson said, “I started our foundation because I was fortunate to benefit greatly from the American Dream, and I want to make sure that the same opportunities are available for future generations. Today’s young people have the most at stake in our fiscal future -- they are the generation that has the most to lose on our current course, and the most to gain by solving America’s long-term fiscal challenges. This project provides young people a platform for action, and a way for them to learn about the issues, share that knowledge, and build a movement for a better future.”

Liz Maw, CEO of Net Impact said, “Young people today are creative, community-oriented, and committed to making a difference. We’re looking forward to sparking interest and ideas on select campuses throughout the country on how these young leaders can spur engagement around our country’s critical fiscal challenges.”

This generation of college students faces a daunting fiscal and economic future. If no action is taken to correct our course, our national debt is projected to reach levels that would put the economy at risk. Debt levels greater than 60% are imprudent and above 90% can be dangerous. But on our current path, in 2035, when today's college students are in the prime of their careers, debt is projected to have reached a staggering 185% of GDP, with profound implications for economic growth and future opportunity.

With a national election and a new Congress joining in 2013, the next year offers a renewed opportunity to address the country’s fiscal challenges. Young people today have proven that they can have a voice and make a difference in the national debate, and “Up To Us” will give students the chance to tap into their collective power and creativity to organize for a better future.

Student teams will be given the flexibility to craft their own goals, messaging and tactics for the campaigns, which could include new technology and social media or standard tactics like rallies, teach-ins and grassroots organizing to spur action. Emphasis will be on tapping into student ideas and creativity, and helping students realize their vision for the best way to educate and activate their peers on campus.

The competing teams will receive training and support throughout the competition from Net Impact. Teams will participate in skill-building training sessions, interact with a variety of experts, and convene with other student teams over the course of the competition.

The campaigns will be judged by a panel of experts on their effectiveness at raising awareness and inspiring action on campus, with the winning team announced at next year's CGI U conference, and recognized by President Clinton. The winning team will also receive networking opportunities, internship opportunities, and the chance to further develop their leadership skills by interacting with high profile leaders from both the public and private sectors.

This project represents a collaboration which combines the Peterson Foundation’s focus on long-term fiscal sustainability, CGI U’s work to motivate students to take action on pressing global issues, and Net Impact’s extensive campus chapter network and experience managing competitions.

“Up To Us” is being funded by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. More information about the competition can be found here.

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