Northwestern’s Moneythink to compete in national debt education competition

Elizabeth Kim, Reporter

A group of Northwestern students are competing to educate students on the national debt for a chance to be recognized by former President Bill Clinton.

NU’s chapter of Moneythink has been selected to participate in Up to Us, a nationwide campus competition to educate college students on long-term national debt and fiscal challenges in the United States.

Moneythink is a nationally recognized philanthropic organization working to educate youth in 30 different universities about the economy. The NU chapter’s five-student executive board will comprise the core team to represent the school at the competition. Each member will receive training throughout the fall through online resources, webinars and the organization’s Net Impact Conference prior to executing the campaign early next year.

“Moneythink has a unique role compared to other schools competing in the competition in that our organization’s goal is cut from the same cloth as Up to Us,” said Weinberg and Communication junior Alex Olivo, Moneythink’s vice president of operations. “Other competing schools simply have groups of students who wanted to compete. Our specific group is the executive board for an organization whose goal week in and week out is to educate our own generation in the subject of financial management and fiscal responsibility.”

The coalition of three nonprofit organizations — the Clinton Global Initiative University, Net Impact and the Peter G. Peterson Foundation — is bringing back the Up to Us competition for its second year with the hopes that this generation of students will become aware of the anticipated fiscal challenges brought about by growing national debt. 

A panel of distinguished judges will decide on the winners of the competition based on the diversity and creativity of actions implemented and the number of student participants. Winners of the competition will receive a $10,000 cash prize and recognition at the Clinton Global Initiative University, as well as admission to the 2014 Net Impact Conference. The conference is devoted to experimentation and innovation.

“As we plan for CGI U 2014, I’m excited to see more students participating in this year’s challenge,” Clinton said in a news release. “They represent the next generation of leaders who have the ideas and resolve to face one of our nation’s biggest challenges.”

NU’s own campaign will run from the end of January to the end of February. With an allotted budget of $2,000, the Moneythink team has already planned an a cappella concert kickoff, a Dance Marathon national debt-themed trivia night and an acclaimed guest speaker for the Up to Us competition. The team will also use social media to reach out to not only the NU campus but also to the larger Evanston community.

“We are incredibly passionate about encouraging our generation, a generation of ‘doers,’ to speak up about important issues,” said Kelly Carlquist, a Weinberg senior and Moneythink’s vice president of curriculum.

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