More Than 75 Colleges in 34 States Participated in the Nonpartisan Campus Competition, Urging Lawmakers to Address the National Debt
May 22, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The student team from Jackson State University has won the fifth annual Up to Us Campus Competition, which empowers students across the country to raise awareness of and increase engagement on America’s fiscal challenges. Voicing their concerns about America’s fiscal and economic future, the winning team from Jackson State will receive a $10,000 prize, recognition at the Peter G. Peterson Foundation’s 2017 Fiscal Summit in Washington, D.C., and the opportunity to travel to meet with legislators and policymakers in the nation’s capital. Representatives from each of the top 20 finalist teams will also join the winners in D.C.

“No one has more at stake in America’s fiscal outlook than the next generation – it’s their economic future that’s on the line, and the remarkable growth of the Up to Us competition shows that our country’s young people are demanding action to address our fiscal challenges,” said Michael A. Peterson, President and CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. “The energy and creativity of Jackson State University’s winning team and all the students who have joined this growing movement are a shining example as we seek to create greater economic opportunity and a brighter fiscal future.”

Since its inception five years ago, the nonpartisan Up to Us initiative has grown into a groundswell of student activists who have engaged more than 100,000 people to raise awareness on the national debt through creative campaigns and activities. This year, students from more than 75 colleges and universities across the country participated in competition activities that let their peers and policymakers know that the country cannot afford to wait to address its fiscal challenges. The program will hold events on 125 campuses this spring.

The winning team from Jackson State University was led by Terrence Dillon, a junior, originally from Chicago, Ill. Leveraging the popularity of beloved television game shows, the Jackson State University team hosted events such as “Debt Jeopardy,” “Wheel of Debt,” the “Debt is Right,” and other interactive game nights to explain the current fiscal situation to nearly 1,000 of their peers throughout the course of the competition.

“I am passionate about making a positive change in my community, and as a college student, I’m always thinking about my future economic opportunities. When choosing what campus groups to get involved in, I was drawn to Up to Us because it combined my passions with a topic that I felt was important to share,” said Terrence Dillon, student leader of the winning team from Jackson State University. “By participating in this year’s competition, my peers and I realized that when it comes to building a prosperous future, it really is up to us.”

The finalists and winner of the 2016-2017 competition was determined by a panel of judges from various public policy groups including Shai Akabas, Director of Fiscal Policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center; Kerry Searle Grannis, Associate Director of the Brookings Institution’s Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy; Gordon Gray, Director of Fiscal Policy at the American Action Forum; and Steven Olikara, Founding President of the nonpartisan Millennial Action Project. The 2016-2017 competition finalists included:


  • Arizona State University, Tempe
  • Arizona State University, Thunderbird School of Management
  • Bowie State University
  • City College of San Francisco
  • City University of Seattle
  • Earlham College
  • Florida State University
  • Governors State University
  • Jackson State University
  • McLennan Community College
  • Modesto Junior College
  • Oakland Community College
  • Oklahoma State University
  • Pennsylvania State University, University Park
  • Prairie State College
  • University of Arkansas, Fort Smith
  • University of Illinois, Chicago
  • University of the Pacific
  • Waubonsee Community College
  • Willamette University


Launched in 2012 in partnership with the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, Net Impact and Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U), Up to Us empowers the millennial generation to build a prosperous future by equipping them with training and resources to help them become young leaders that drive change in their communities.

To learn more about the 2016-2017 teams or about how to get involved in the movement, visit www.itsuptous.org.  If you are interested in bringing the Up to Us movement to your community, consider hosting an event on your campus or take action today by signing the pledge.


About Up to Us

Up to Us is a movement of a generation, for a generation that lets policymakers know that as those with the most at stake, millennials, are committed to addressing America’s fiscal challenges.  Over the last five years Up to Us has created a groundswell of student activists who’ve engaged and empowered than 100,000 people towards a more prosperous fiscal future. Created in partnership with the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, Net Impact, and Clinton Global Initiative University, Up to Us provides the opportunity for students to build a movement to raise awareness of and increase engagement on America’s long-term fiscal challenge, and hosts an annual competition that takes place on college campuses nationwide.