William & Mary Students Win National Prize for Educational Campaign on Fiscal Policy

WYDaily.com is your source for free news and information in Williamsburg, James City & York Counties.

Members of the winning W&M team included (left to right) Sruveera Sathi '16, Aastha Uprety '18, Arjun Rastogi '18, Octavia Goodman '16, Merci Best '17 and Sudeep Kalkunte '16. (Photo Courtesy College of William & Mary)
Members of the winning W&M team included (left to right) Sruveera Sathi ’16, Aastha Uprety ’18, Arjun Rastogi ’18, Octavia Goodman ’16, Merci Best ’17 and Sudeep Kalkunte ’16. (Photo Courtesy College of William & Mary)

A team students from the College of William & Mary recently took home first place in the fourth annual “Up to Us” competition, which challenged campuses across the country to raise awareness of America’s fiscal policy.

Up to Us, which is sponsored by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation in partnership with the Clinton Global Initiative University and Net Impact, was created with the goal of giving the millennial generation a voice on fiscal issues and the information they need to make responsible decisions about how to handle the nation’s debt.

William & Mary was one of 53 schools to participate in this year’s competition, which took place from Feb. 1 through 21. The Tribe team included team leader Sruveera Sathi, Hannah Cannon, Aastha Uprety, Octavia Goodman and Merci Best.

The team organized several different events and initiatives to take place around campus during the three-week contest period.

In addition to setting up a table and delivering a presentation at the Defense Entrepreneurs Forum conference held at William & Mary in February, the students also hosted two events of their own to generate discussion about fiscal policy and the national debt.

The “Innovating the Industries” event featured millennial innovators from the healthcare, education and defense fields addressing how their generation can overcome the challenges presented by the national debt, while the “Great Debt-bate” saw four student political groups taking the stage for the first time in the college’s history to debate issues of fiscal policy.

The team also took a more creative approach to getting the word out about their mission by putting together a dance workshop that allowed participants to “dance the debt away” and an art installation themed around the saying “money doesn’t grow on trees” that featured fake dollar bills with educational facts about the national debt hanging on trees around campus.

As the first-place winners, William & Mary’s team will be awarded a $10,000 cash prize and will be recognized by President Bill Clinton at the ninth annual Clinton Global Initiative University meeting at the University of California Berkeley this weekend.

“The enthusiasm in this year’s Up to Us competition shows that young people are taking action to invest in America’s future,” President Bill Clinton said. “As the winning team from William & Mary proves, everyone can play an important role in addressing our nation’s challenges, and working together is the best way to do it.”

Students from the top 10 teams will also be invited to Washington, D.C., next month to meet with think tanks and economists and to attend the Peter G. Peterson Foundation’s 2016 Fiscal Summit.