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UNM to compete in debt competition

Copyright © 2013 Albuquerque Journal

The University of New Mexico and two dozen other schools have been selected to go head-to-head in a national competition aimed at injecting new life into the debate over the country’s long-term fiscal problems.

Each of the 25 university teams in the Up to Us Campaign is charged with developing a strategy to educate and engage their local campus communities on potential impacts of the skyrocketing national debt.

Following a five-week campaign early next year, the teams will be judged on their effectiveness at “raising awareness, increasing personal connections and inspiring action on campus and beyond,” according to the Washington, D.C.-based Up to Us.

UNM’s team is led by Tori Pryor, a sophomore in the Anderson School of Management. At this point, she said last week, she and the team are brainstorming and tossing out “rough ideas” as to how they might proceed.

They planned to attend a Net Impact conference in California’s Silicon Valley over the weekend and hoped to pick up additional ideas there.

Net Impact, a global nonprofit that seeks to empower a new generation of leaders, is one of the competition’s sponsors.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for UNM and the Anderson School to be recognized across the nation,” Pryor said. “It’s important to get students involved in the conversation about the debt. It’s something that’s usually left to senators and the like, but it will affect our generation. We’re the ones who will eventually have to fix it.”

The other team members are Earl Shank, Taylor Bui, Rachel Williams and Travis Dockter.

The winning team will pick up $10,000 and the recognition of former President Bill Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative University next year. The annual competition is sponsored by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, the Clinton Global Initiative University and Net Impact.

Now in its second year, Up to Us has grown from 10 to 25 universities and colleges. The campus campaigns will run from Jan. 21 to Feb. 21.

The 2013 winner was the University of Virginia, with Brown University placing second and the University of Texas at Austin coming in third.

In addition to UNM, other schools chosen for the competition include the universities of California, Berkeley; California, Irvine; Central Florida; Michigan; Tennessee, Knoxville; Texas at Austin; and Texas-Pan American. Also, Bellarmine, Belmont, Duke, George Washington, Miami, New York, Northwestern, Oklahoma State, Pace, Rice, Tufts and Virginia Commonwealth universities. Rounding out the list are California State University, Fullerton; the Illinois Institute of Technology; Luther College; the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey; and West Virginia Wesleyan College.

“These students are among America’s best and brightest and they have an important voice in the conversation about our nation’s fiscal future,” said Pete Peterson, founder and chairman of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. “After all, it’s their generation that will be affected by decisions we make, or fail to make, about our long-term debt.”