Baruch College in New York City is this year’s winning team of the ninth annual Up to Us Campus Competition. The team, led by Nayancie Matthews, ‘22, overcame the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic to create an innovative campaign that harnessed digital platforms and virtual events to drive change, impact their community, and address the fiscal and economic priorities of their fellow students.
Through targeted events, classroom presentations, campus partnerships, and creative social media content, the team engaged 5,000 of their peers across the city of New York in conversations around sustainable fiscal and economic policy. As a result of their campaign, the team effectively engaged elected officials and encouraged their peers to advocate for their futures. The team submitted over 1500 signed Up to Us pledges to 75 elected officials and city representatives. Further, they established a partnership with the New York City Comptroller to discuss the city’s budgeting and debt challenges.
Throughout the fall 2020 semester, the Baruch team hosted 32 events with 21 different on- and off-campus organizations. While the pandemic restricted the team from meeting with their fellow classmates in person, the team utilized virtual and digital platforms to host interactive and educational events designed to start dialogues on how fiscal policy affects pressing issues such as health care, education, and more. Of the different events, the Baruch team hosted, including fiscal policy game nights and virtual discussion sessions, the team organized “Debt to Finish,” a debate on the national debt featuring the Baruch Debate Team. Participants debated topics related to the debt and the overall fiscal health of the US economy. As part of the event, the team invited professors from the economics, policy, law, and finance departments, as well as nine city officials who provided live fact-checking, feedback, and answered questions from attendees.
As part of their social media strategy, the team created engaging, interactive content that helped expand the reach of their mission. Matthews and her team used social platforms to invite their peers to participate in educational pop quizzes and giveaways, and they used Instagram Live in order to host dialogues that fostered community.
Finally, due to the team's advocacy work with local elected officials, they were able to create additional opportunities for the peers they engaged within their campaign. After the Debt to Finish event, two students received part-time offers from city officials to advocate for policy reform, thus creating a talent pipeline to uplift their fellow students and advocate for their message.
“The Up to Us competition presented an important opportunity for our team to serve as a driving force for change,” said Matthews. “Through Up to Us, we expanded our knowledge on the economy, developed new skills, and produced thoughtful conversations around our nation’s economic hurdles.”
The team’s creative and dynamic approach to partnering with organizations, hosting events, as well as turning virtual advocacy into actionable change earned the Baruch College team the top spot in this year’s competition. Congratulations to Baruch College and to all the finalists of this year’s Up to Us Campus Competition, who continue to advocate on behalf of their generation’s priorities and for the prosperity of future generations.
To learn more about Up to Us Campus Competition and about how to get involved in the movement, visitwww.itsuptous.org.