Students compete to raise fiscal awareness

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A five-student team will represent UT in the first Up to Us competition that challenges nine other major universities to raise awareness of fiscal responsibility through creative campaigning. 

Competing schools aim to educate students on the effects of rising federal debt and inspire collective action. 

UT’s team leader Hamid Poorsafar has come to understand the importance of political participation through his work for the initiative.

“As a business student you’re taught to focus on getting a job and how much money you’ll make at that job,” said Poorsafar. “Getting people involved in public service is also important, and that kind of work can be really fulfilling.”

Poorsafar is the leader of UT’s team, which includes economics and mathematics senior Carter Pearson, statistics graduate student Novin Ghaffari, government senior Philip Wiseman and economics, philosophy and Chinese senior Grace Fu.

Wiseman says the competition functions as a reminder of his responsibilities to his generation.

“Previous generations have failed to look out for our future, and nobody else is going to do it for us,” Wiseman said. “We need to take control of the future of our nation, demand answers from our elected leaders, be smart in our borrowing in our own personal lives, understanding that it is in our hands to solve.”

In its campaign, UT’s team will host a jeopardy game Feb. 26 with topics that will test various UT organizations’ knowledge of the fiscal debt. The team will also hold a flash mob the evening of Feb. 28 on the south lawn. 

Up to Us is a collective project of sponsors Peter G. Peterson Foundation, Clinton Global Initiative University and Net Impact, all organizations dedicated to fiscal sustainability.

Mary Tam, senior manager of the Up to Us campaign said, despite set criteria, the judging process will be difficult. 

“I’m incredibly impressed with the immense amount of work Up to Us teams are putting into the competition, despite their jobs, classwork, social lives and other commitments,” Tam said. “It’s also wonderful to see how each campus has tailored activities to their campus culture, and how team leaders have stayed in touch to support each other. This is an impressive group of students.”

The winning team will be awarded a $10,000 cash prize and be recognized by President Clinton at this year’s Clinton Global Initiative University annual student meeting. 

Printed on Thursday, February 21, 2013 as: Fiscal responsibility taught via jeopardy