June 5, 2019

In this blog series, we are highlighting our 2018-2019 Up to Us Competition top 5 finalists! These emerging leaders are passionate millennials who care about our country's fiscal future and are brave enough to tackle a complex topic like the long-term national debt through creative bipartisan activities. 

This blog will focus on an inspiring team from Lynn University:

The Lynn University Up to Us team was led by Wainright Acquoi and included team members James Okina, Salma Moran, Lauryn Harris, and Reagan Fox. For the Lynn University team, engaging a small campus community of 3,000 students with 19% of the population consisting of international students posed a number of challenges. 

Lynn University members meet with their advisor.
Wainright and members of his team at their first advisor meeting.

To overcome these challenges, Wainright and his team strived to make personal connections with the students and address how they will directly be affected by the debt in the coming years. For international students, they referred to the U.S. relations with their countries. The team also provided incentives to attract students to their activities. “We believe our successes during the campaign were products of the collective efforts of every team member. We all were leaders in our capacities, and the effect produced our results,” says Wainright. 

To kick off their year of action, the team created a simple online survey to understand the level of their peers’ awareness on the national debt, the budget, and the budget deficit. They streamed a live debt clock to increase awareness and met with the Dean of the Business College to gain an advocate for future partnerships. From there, professors sent out emails and invited the team to present in their classes. They held 13 class presentations tailored around education and finding a personal connection between the students and the national debt. 

My Two Cent's Day participants.
Students playing national debt trivia for MTCD.

During My Two Cents Day (MTCD), they designed several promotional posters, a sign-on poster, and a national debt trivia for students to play, learn, and win prizes such as Amazon gift cards. The team also took over the university’s Snapchat and Instagram to raise awareness on the debt, promote the event, and invite students to participate. 
“By the end of our event, students expressed interest in learning more about the national debt and getting involved,” Wainright explains.

For their Wildcard event, Wainright and his team wanted to go beyond increasing participants' knowledge on the national debt. They wanted to initiate conversations that discussed solutions. To achieve this, they organized an interactive speaker event. Distinguished professors participated in discussions highlighting the significance of students’ interest in the debt and making a call to action for students to take charge.

The Up to Us Lynn University team's Wildcard panelist event.
Wainright with the Wildcard event panelists.

All their hard work throughout the year catapulted the Lynn University Up to Us team to the top 5! 

“We all believe we have gained significant confidence to lead major events or campaigns across the university successfully. We are deeply thankful to Net Impact and all the partners for allowing us to serve and achieve this feat.” - Wainright Acquoi, Lynn University Up to Us team leader. 

We are so proud of what the Lynn University team, and all of the Up to Us Competition teams, accomplished this year!