Press Release

As the National Debt Surpasses $20 trillion, College Students Unite to Engage Peers and Policymakers to Ensure a Brighter Economic Future for Their Generation

Washington, D.C. (October 3, 2017) – As America’s debt surpasses $20 trillion and lawmakers debate policies that will shape the country’s fiscal future, students on nearly 300 campuses across the country will mobilize as part of the Up to Us “Year of Action.” As the only national, campus-based initiative dedicated to engaging college students on fiscal sustainability and economic opportunity, Up to Us is a non-partisan initiative to raise awareness of the economic impact that our growing national debt will have on their future.

Up to Us student leaders will host a range of year-round activities to help their peers understand how the national debt affects the issues they care about. During this “Year of Action,” students will host a variety of events– from debates to documentary film fests to game nights – to maintain an ongoing engagement and elevate the voices of young Americans in fiscal and economic conversations.

Students will also participate in the sixth-annual Up to Us nationwide competition to develop non-partisan, creative campaigns that raise awareness, inspire collaborative dialogue, and galvanize their campuses in support of fiscal sustainability. One hundred campuses will enter into this year’s competition, which will occur between October 2017 and March 2018.

“Up to Us is a powerful, growing movement of young people working to ensure better economic opportunities for their generation,” said Michael A. Peterson, President and CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. “With our national debt at $20 trillion and growing, younger Americans have the most to lose from the effects of our dangerous fiscal policy, and the most to gain from solving this challenge. This nationwide network of students is engaging and energizing their peers to raise awareness about the very real consequences of the debt – for their job opportunities, for their families, and for the future they will inherit.”

Launched by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation in partnership with Net Impact and the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U), Up to Us has expanded to nearly all 50 states and engaged approximately 150,000 young Americans.

In the year ahead, students will rally their peers to sign the Up to Us Pledge, helping to raise awareness of the essential role everyone can play in building a strong fiscal and economic future. The Pledge is sent to members of Congress and showcases the growing number of young people concerned about our nation’s unsustainable fiscal outlook.

Additionally, on November 2nd students will take part in a national event known as My Two Cents Day (#MTCD), where they can express their “two cents” on social media and in person to facilitate a collaborative, substantive conversation on the impact of the national debt.

Teams participating in the annual Up to Us competition will be evaluated by a panel of judges who are distinguished experts in academia, policy, and civic impact. The winning team will win a cash prize, be recognized at national conferences, and have the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. to meet with Congressional leaders to ensure the voices of young Americans are heard by the nation’s policymakers. Teams from the following schools will take part in the Up to Us beginning this fall, with an additional slate of teams competing in the winter:

  • Albion College
  • American University
  • Arizona State University- Tempe
  • Arizona State University -Thunderbird School of Global Management
  • Binghampton University
  • Biola University
  • Boston University
  • California State University- East Bay
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Central Texas College
  • Christian Brothers University
  • Clark Atlanta University
  • Columbia University
  • Dominican University of California
  • Drew University
  • Duke University
  • Eastern Washington University
  • Florida International University
  • Florida State University
  • Georgetown University
  • Houston Community College
  • Howard University
  • Indiana University Northwest
  • Lone Star College-Tomball
  • Los Angeles Pierce College
  • Mesa Community College
  • Modesto Junior College
  • Mount Saint Mary's University
  • Oakland Community College
  • Ohio Northern University
  • Oklahoma State University
  • Pennsylvania State University- Harrisburg
  • Pennsylvania State University- University Park
  • Sacramento City College
  • San Francisco State University
  • Santa Clara University
  • School of Visual Arts
  • Stony Brook University
  • Texas A&M University- College Station
  • Texas State University
  • The Catholic University of America
  • The Ohio State University
  • University of Arkansas- Fort Smith
  • University of California- Berkeley
  • University of California- San Diego
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Illinois at Chicago
  • University of Miami
  • University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  • University of South Florida
  • University of Texas- El Paso
  • University of the Pacific
  • University of Vermont
  • University of Wyoming
  • West Virginia Wesleyan College
  • Willamette University

A list of all participating teams from past competitions can be found on the Up to Us website. For more information on how to get involved in the Up to Us movement, participate in the campus competitions, or host an event, visit the Get Involved section of the Up to Us website.

About Up to Us

Up to Us is a movement of a generation, for a generation that lets policymakers know that young Americans are committed to addressing the nation’s fiscal challenges. Over the last six years, Up to Us has created a groundswell of student leaders who’ve engaged and empowered 150,000 of their peers towards a more prosperous fiscal future. Created in partnership with the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) and Net Impact, Up to Us provides the opportunity for students to build a movement to raise awareness and engagement on America’s fiscal challenges, and hosts an annual competition that takes place on college campuses nationwide.



Contact: Julie Walsh (202) 518-6489