It's Up to Simmons

February 04, 2015

Up to Simmons Team

Economics students launch a campus campaign to raise awareness about the national debt.

In the fall, the Simmons Economics Liaison was selected as one of forty-four colleges across the country to join the Up to Us Campaign. A collaborative effort founded by Net Impact, Clinton Global Initiative University, and the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, the Up to Us Campaign challenges students around the country to raise awareness about the national debt on their respective college campuses. The ultimate prize is $10,000 and the opportunity to attend the Clinton Global Initiative University Conference in the spring.

The Up to Simmons Campaign launched on January 26th, but the preparation for this has taken weeks of brainstorming and planning. Team leader Rose Allen, a junior Economics and International Relations major, attended the New Impact Conference in the fall to meet with other team leaders from competing schools. Over a long weekend, Rose and the other Up to Us students strategized about organizing their campaigns on campus and as a part of the greater national campaign, and came up with innovative ideas for how they would coordinate their own events on campus. 

The ultimate goal of the Up to Us Campaign is to promote education about and awareness of the national debt. 

“It’s not about finding a solution, but the conversation that needs to happen,” Rose Allen said. As the campaign on campus and nationally progresses, the Up to Simmons team hopes to have fun and get students talking.

Team members Rose Allen, Alyssa Conley, Elizabeth Howes, Marilyn Baremore and Nathalie Dazell started their campaign by establishing a presence on social media on Facebook and Twitter. Over the course of the campaign, they will speak in classes and publish op eds in the Simmons Voice. A strong component of their campaign will involve establishing visibility on campus through regular tabling, where students can sign the Up to Us pledge and learn more about debt, and special events in the coming weeks.

On February 12, coinciding with Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, the Up to Simmons campaign will host a special event for My Two Cents Day. Competing schools will all participate in this day. The team will set up a graffiti wall to give students the opportunity to share their opinions about what the national debt is and how to confront this issue. Through expressing ideas and frustrations about this seeming insurmountable problem, the Up to Simmons Campaign hopes to creating a continuous conversation about debt in America. 

Each school is challenged to develop a wildcard activity on campus to engage and educate fellow students about the national debt. On February 19th, Up to Simmons will design a simulation, set in the near future, that challenges groups of students to confront the national debt. Where will students cut budgets, where will they raise taxes? They hope that this simulation will engage students from all academic disciplines on this pressing issue. 

For updates about the campaign on campus and around the country, follow @UptoSimmons on Twitter and Facebook.