College Students Launch Campaigns Across the Country to Activate a New Generation on the Nation's Fiscal Challenges

Jan 25, 2013

Erskine Bowles, Chelsea Clinton, Alan Simpson, George Stephanopoulos to judge national Up to Us campus competition

WASHINGTON, DC — With the debate on America’s growing debt and deficits as prominent now as any time in the nation's history, a first-of-its-kind campaign to take on fiscal issues is being launched today by college students across the country. As part of the Up to Us initiative, student teams at various colleges and universities are kicking off competing campaigns designed to educate their peers on the effects of the nation's rising debt and motivate action in Washington on fiscal issues. The team with the most effective campaign will be recognized later this spring at a gathering of over 1,000 young Americans discussing solutions to pressing global challenges.

Highlighting the critical importance of the students' efforts, some of the nation's most prominent names in journalism, policymaking, advocacy, and government are serving as judges to the competition. Serving on the panel of judges are:

  • former White House Chief of Staff and former co-chair of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform Erskine Bowles
  • Board Member, Clinton Global Initiative and William J. Clinton Foundation Chelsea Clinton
  • former U.S. Senator and former co-chair of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform Alan Simpson
  • Anchor of ABC's "This Week" and "Good Morning America" George Stephanopoulos

"America's growing national debt is one of the most pressing issues facing college students today," said Bowles. "These teams demonstrate that young people want to have a serious conversation about our nation's economic future and are eager for results."

Simpson said, "The students involved in Up to Us are surely tomorrow's leaders — leaders who are wholly committed to their country's future. Their efforts to rally and alert their peers to confront this tough political issue and the powerful potential economic impact to their generation are both bold and timely."

Up to Us is a project of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U), and Net Impact. Participating teams are using creative tactics for the campaigns, ranging from hosting symposiums or speeches with elected leaders and fiscal experts, to developing social media memes, to facilitating classroom or town hall discussions.

"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," said Peter G. Peterson, founder and chairman of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. "By the time they're in the prime of their careers, the national debt is projected to reach staggering levels that will slow growth and crowd out much-needed investments in education, research, and infrastructure. Through Up to Us, these students are working to secure their future — and ours."

In addition to being recognized by President Clinton at this year's CGI U annual student meeting, the winning team will be awarded a $10,000 cash prize.

Teams will utilize Causes, a free online platform where they'll display results, post videos, measure and demonstrate the impact of their on- and off-line activities, and monitor Facebook and Twitter activity surrounding their campaigns.

The universities represented by the student teams selected for the competition are:

  • American University
  • Brown University
  • Georgetown University
  • New York University
  • Rutgers Business School – Newark
  • University of Miami
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
  • University of Texas – Austin
  • University of Virginia – Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy

More information about the competition can be found at

About Up to Us
Up to Us, a nationwide campus competition sponsored and managed by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, the Clinton Global Initiative University 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. Ten student teams selected from across the country compete to design and run thought-provoking, fun and impactful campaigns around the effects of rising debt on economic opportunity and investment in the future.

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