Press Release

Contact: Julie Walsh 
(202) 518-6489


Up to Us Announces Partnership with Civic Dinners Bringing the Issue of the National Debt to the Table
Young Americans Nationwide are Facilitating Meaningful Conversations on America’s Fiscal Future, Calling for Policymakers to Follow Their Lead

Washington, D.C. (December 12, 2018) – Today, Up to Us, announced that it is partnering with Civic Dinners to raise awareness on the national debt by hosting dinner discussions on how to build a sustainable economic and fiscal future that works for us all.

In partnership, Up to Us and Civic Dinners are transforming collegiate dining halls and dinner tables across the country into forums for positive social change via respectful and purposeful conversations on the national debt. Leveraging Civic Dinners’ simple framework for facilitating conversations that matter, the partnership provides college students with the tools to organize and act on America’s $21.8 trillion and growing national debt. Throughout the course of a National Debt 101 Civic Dinner powered by Up to Us, participants will have the opportunity to engage in meaningful discourse with a diverse group of peers on the national debt, addressing their hopes for the future and barriers to fiscal sustainability.
 “I’m thrilled Up to Us is partnering with Civic Dinners to help collegiate leaders organize and mobilize for the fiscal and economic change they want to see,” said Hilary Allen, Up to Us spokesperson and Senior Associate of Programs at Net Impact. “Our student leaders are having crucial conversations with their friends, roommates and classmates on the role each person can play in tackling the ever-growing national debt.”

The Congressional Budget Office projects that if current laws are maintained, the national debt will climb significantly over the next 10 years, approaching 100 percent of GDP by 2028. By 2048, the government’s number one expense will be paying interest on the national debt. Furthermore, if the national debt is not addressed, the federal government will have a much harder time investing in priorities that drive economic growth like education, research and development, and infrastructure, leaving younger generations with higher tax burdens and limited benefits.  

“Through Civic Dinners we are able to bring different voices to the table to have a balanced conversation over food, diving deep into the challenging issues facing society like the national debt,” said Jenn Graham, founder of Civic Dinners and previous Up to Us competition judge. “I’m excited about partnering with Up to Us and working with the next generation, helping them to lead by example and show America’s policymakers the change and opportunity that comes with civic and civil discourse.”

Launched in 2012 by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation in partnership with the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) and Net Impact, Up to Us hosts campus competitions in 50 states and has engaged more than 230,000 people to raise awareness on the national debt. Through its partnership with Civic Dinners, Up to Us expects engage 800 young people across 20 college campuses.

The National Debt 101 Civic Dinner is centered on three questions related to the national debt that enables all guests to participate in the discussion, giving individuals equal time to share and respond to questions based on their own personal experiences and opinions. Dinners typically have six to ten attendees and can be hosted nearly anywhere, including a home, office, campus dining hall or restaurant.

“It was amazing to see such a diverse group of people come together to discuss the national debt in a constructive way that allowed everyone to ask questions and provide input,” said Melanie Lucas-Conwell, dinner host and student at Presidio Graduate School. “Hosting the National Debt 101 Civic Dinner proved that you don’t have to be an economist in order to have meaningful fiscal conversations.” 

For more information on the National Debt 101 Civic Dinner, including how to become a host or attend, please visit the Civic Dinners website or email  To find out how to get involved in the Up to Us movement, participate in the Campus Competition, or host other kinds of events, 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. Since 2012, Up to Us has created a groundswell of student leaders who’ve engaged and empowered more than 230,000 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.

About Civic Dinners

Civic Dinners is the platform that brings people together to have conversations that matter. With the help of technology, we help people transform dinner tables into forums for positive social change. By providing a simple framework for conversations that matter, anyone, anywhere, can use Civic Dinners as a tool for organizing and action.