College of William & Mary Wins 4th Annual Up to Us Competition to Engage Millennials On Nation's Fiscal Future

Mar 30, 2016

Contact: Christina Saull, (202) 518-6480
christina.saull@finnpartners.com

President Bill Clinton to recognize William & Mary team at the 2016 Clinton Global Initiative University Meeting

Non-partisan Competition Included 53 Student Teams on Campuses in 28 States

WASHINGTON — The team from the College of William & Mary beat out competitors nationwide and took first prize in the fourth annual Up to Us national campus competition to educate and engage millennials on America’s fiscal challenges. Up to Us, a non-partisan program sponsored by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation in partnership with the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) and Net Impact, empowers students to raise awareness about America’s long-term fiscal and economic health in a competitive and educational campaign.

“The enthusiasm in this year’s Up to Us competition shows that young people are taking action to invest in America’s future,” said President Bill Clinton. “As the winning team from William & Mary proves, everyone can play an important role in addressing our nation’s challenges, and working together is the best way to do it.”

The competition debuted in 2012 with just 10 schools, and it has grown to include more than 230 students on 53 teams in 28 states in the 2016 campaign. This year, teams engaged more than 30,000 of their fellow students through in-person outreach, events, and activities on campus. They partnered with more than 330 campus groups to support their campaigns and visited 210 classrooms to speak with fellow students about the national debt. Students gathered nearly 16,000 signatures to a pledge affirming that the millennial generation has an important role to play in securing a strong fiscal future for the country, and more than 20 teams met directly with congressional representatives or members of their staff to deliver their messages.

The students from William & Mary will be recognized by President Bill Clinton at this year’s CGI U meeting, held April 1-3, 2016 at the University of California, Berkeley. The winning team will also receive a $10,000 cash prize. Additionally, students from several top teams will be invited to travel to Washington, D.C. to meet with a range of policy organizations, civic groups and leaders from across the political spectrum to discuss millennials’ stake in fiscal issues, as well as attend the Peter G. Peterson Foundation’s 2016 Fiscal Summit on May 11, 2016.

“America’s young people understand that our nation faces real fiscal challenges that are directly relevant to their own economic future – and it’s clear they are ready to do something about it. In this year’s Up to Us competition, a record number of students voiced their concerns about America’s growing and unsustainable national debt,” said Michael A. Peterson, President and CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. “The millennial generation has the most at stake in building our nation’s economic future, and these inspiring and energetic students proved that young Americans can combine their voices into a powerful non-partisan campaign for fiscal solutions.”

The 2016 Up to Us teams planned and executed a range of creative activities on campus to engage and educate their peers on fiscal issues. Some teams hosted seminars with economics and political science professors, fiscal policy debates with members of College Republican and College Democrat chapters, and meetings with congressional representatives and local officials. Other teams held social events such as a debt-themed carnival, an interactive budgeting simulation, a culinary exhibition showcasing local food vendors and linking fiscal and environmental sustainability, and even a campus-wide scavenger hunt oriented around fiscal education.

The William & Mary team members include Sruveera Sathi (team leader), Hannah Cannon, Aastha Uprety, Octavia Goodman and Merci Best. The team’s innovative campaign involved several events, including a “Great Debt-bate” that brought together four political groups on campus to discuss fiscal policy, a dance workshop to “dance the debt away,” and a forum featuring millennial innovators in the fields of healthcare, education, and defense. To promote their campaign, the team employed creative methods such as a “Money doesn’t grow on trees” art installation, in which they hung fake dollar bills with educational facts about the national debt on trees around campus. The team also traveled to the Virginia state capitol as part of a larger school effort to meet with the governor and state senators.

“Each year, we are shown remarkable leadership and creativity as students engage their peers and this year was no different,” said Liz Maw, Chief Executive Officer of Net Impact, a nonprofit that inspires a new generation of leaders to work for a sustainable future. “Teams from across the country developed innovative campaigns that both inspired and engaged their generation on this complicated but critical issue.”

This year’s Up to Us teams were evaluated by a panel of judges, including Shellye Archambeau, CEO of MetricStream; Michelle Bernard, President and CEO of the Bernard Center for Women, Politics & Public Policy; Chelsea Clinton, Vice Chair of the Clinton Foundation; and Garrett Johnson, Co-Founder of SendHub.

The competition officially began in October 2015 when 73 schools in 28 states participated in the second annual My Two Cents Day. This student-led day of mobilization engages, educates and inspires action among millennials on America’s long-term economic health. The teams participating in My Two Cents Day shared thousands of photos on social media, and the hashtags #MTCD and #UptoUs appeared in more than 2.8 million social media feeds during the day.

Arizona State University Babson College
Bard College Bentley University
Berea College Boise State University
Brigham Young University - Idaho California State University, Long Beach
Christian Brothers University Claremont Graduate University
Clark Atlanta University College of William & Mary
Columbus State University Cornell University
De Anza College Duquesne University
Emory University Emporia State University
Farmingdale State College Gardner-Webb University
Indiana University Bloomington Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis
Jackson State University Jefferson Community and Technical College
Kings College McLennan Community College
Miami Dade College Morehouse College
New York University North Carolina A&T University
North Carolina Central University Ohio Northern University
Ohio State University Oklahoma State University
Pennsylvania State University - University Park San Francisco State University
Southeastern Louisiana University Stockton University
Tusculum College University of Minnesota Twin Cities
University of Arkansas - Fort Smith University of California - Los Angeles
University of Central Florida University of Illinois at Chicago
University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign University of Miami
University of Michigan University of New Mexico
University of North Carolina at Greensboro University of San Diego
Wartburg College West Virginia Wesleyan College
Westminster College  

More information about the competition can be found at www.itsuptous.org.

About Up to Us
Up to Us, a non-partisan nationwide campus competition sponsored by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, in partnership with the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) and Net Impact, provides an opportunity for students to build a movement to raise awareness and engagement on America’s long-term fiscal and economic challenges. 53 student teams selected from across the country compete to design and run thought-provoking, fun and impactful campaigns on the effects of rising debt on economic opportunity and America’s future.

About the Peter G. Peterson Foundation
The Peter G. Peterson Foundation is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that is dedicated to increasing public awareness of the nature and urgency of key fiscal challenges threatening America's future, and to accelerating action on them. To address these challenges successfully, we work to bring Americans together to find and implement sensible, long-term solutions that transcend age, party lines and ideological divides in order to achieve real results. To learn more, please visit www.pgpf.org.

About Clinton Global Initiative University
The Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U), a program of the Clinton Global Initiative, brings together college students to address global challenges with practical, innovative solutions. CGI U participants do more than simply discuss problems – they take concrete steps to solve them by creating action plans, building relationships, participating in hands-on workshops, and following up with CGI U as they complete their projects. Since 2008, students have made more than 4,800 Commitments to Action. Previous CGI U meetings have taken place at Tulane University, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Miami, the University of California at San Diego, the George Washington University, Washington University in St. Louis, and Arizona State University, and have convened more than 6,500 students from over 875 schools, 145 countries, and all 50 states. To learn more, visit cgiu.org.

About Net Impact
Net Impact is a leading nonprofit that inspires a new generation to use their careers to tackle the world's toughest social and environmental problems. Net Impact empowers student and professional leaders to act locally through their vibrant chapter network and connect globally online and through their annual flagship conference. By 2020, Net Impact will have mobilized a million new leaders to drive positive change in the workplace and the world. To learn more, visit netimpact.org.

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