June 1, 2020
Read time : 4 min

Mesa Community College (MCC) in Mesa, Arizona is the winning team of the eighth annual Up to Us Campus Competition! The team from MCC, led by Shelby Lynch (MCC Class of 2020, Arizona State University Class of 2022), developed an innovative and multi-faceted campaign to raise awareness about the national debt and spark dialogue about building a sustainable economic future for all Americans. Throughout the fall 2019 semester, the team partnered with 22 campus groups and engaged more than half of their fellow students on campus through targeted events, awareness surveys, classroom presentations, campus partnerships, and creative social media activations.  



The MCC team hosted 13 pop-up events throughout the semester to engage students, staff, administrators, and community members. At one pop-up event, The National Debt: Talk and Trivia, the team partnered with Phi Theta Kappa and MCC’s Honors Department to host a presentation and Q&A featuring a political science professor who discussed the federal budget and the national debt. The event also featured an interactive game that tested students’ knowledge about the impact of the U.S. economy on younger generations.  


For Halloween, the team hosted a National Debt House of Horrors that introduced students to “scary” facts about the national debt through collaborations with 14 campus clubs and departments. As students moved through the house of horrors, they encountered various facts about the national debt that were each connected to a Halloween-themed game.


In addition to students, the team engaged college leadership through Fiscally Fit with the College Administration. This event invited students and staff to join deans, department heads, the College President and the College Executive Vice President for a one mile walk around campus during which they raised visibility by carrying posters, chanting, and distributing informative materials about the national debt. The walk was followed by a guided discussion on the significance of the national debt. 

 As the Capstone Event, Lynch and her team produced and performed a creative satirical skit that imagines the world in 2032 if the nation’s debt continues to skyrocket, followed by a discussion about the potential consequences for young people. 

The team’s diverse and imaginative events along with their creative campus partnerships earned Mesa Community College the top spot in this year’s Campus Competition. With this win, MCC also becomes the first and only community college to win the top prize. Congratulations to MCC and to all the finalists of this year’s Up to Us Campus Competition from the fall 2019 semester, in addition to the spring 2020 semester teams that found innovative ways to engage their peers virtually while adjusting messaging to address how the coronavirus public health crisis has impacted the economy. 

To learn more about how to get involved in the movement, or to register a team to participate in the 2020-2021 Campus Competition, visit www.itsuptous.org