Up to Us: Student organization Net Impact's biggest initiative

Net Impact, a student organization at William & Mary’s Raymond A. Mason School of Business, focuses on equipping future businesspeople to act in socially responsible and environmentally conscious ways, thereby improving the world around them.

One of Net Impact’s biggest initiatives this year is called “Up to Us.” This initiative is a non-partisan project founded by the Clinton Global Initiative University, the Net Impact National Chapter, and the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. “Up to Us” seeks to involve college-aged individual in the conversation about long-term national debt and raise awareness about national fiscal challenges; in particular, the initiative focuses on the ways in which the financial position of the nation could affect the opportunities of millennials.

“[“Up to Us”] aims to fix [the] gap in civic participation by empowering students to educate their peers on our long-term national debt [in] creative and innovative ways,” said senior Sruveera Sathi, president of Net Impact

This year, William & Mary got involved with “Up to Us” for the first time, joining 76 colleges and universities from across the nation. The kickoff event occurred on Thursday, October 22nd.

“Our first event was called "My Two Cents Day." Participating teams across the nation gathered [to share] a critical mass of millennial thoughts and opinions,” said Sathi. “Teams were evaluated on the number of pledges they were able to get as well as the creativity of their engagement.”

On “My Two Cents Day,” William & Mary placed in the top five on an online platform called OhSayNation by amassing a large amount of pledge signatures. This petition was eventually sent directly to legislators in the House and Senate.

“The future of Up to Us has a lot of potential for growth, especially on our campus, where many individuals love to get involved and have a strong interest in activism,” said Merci Best, a junior involved with the initiative.

“My main focus with working with “Up to Us” is to bring the issue of the national debt to a very broad audience here at [William & Mary],” said senior Stephanie Faucher, who helps with public relations for the initiative. “This means getting a diverse range of organizations [involved], some of whom [one] would not immediately think would have anything to do with the national debt crisis, to be aware of how it will affect us in the future.”

The second part of the “Up to Us” initiative will take place in February. Teams from participating colleges and universities will enact and then present their campaigns, which will explore the best ways to get campuses engaged and involved with the conversation on long-term national debt.

The “Up to Us” William & Mary team will hold a number of events as part of their campaign. On Monday, February 15th from 6-7 p.m., students groups (including Young Democrats, College Republicans, College Libertarians, and College Socialists) will debate fiscal and economic policy (this event will take place in Tucker 127). On Thursday, February 18th from 6-7 p.m., “Up to Us” will pair with Syndicate Hip Hop Dance Team to hold a money-themed dance workshop. On Sunday, February 21st from 12-2 p.m., the initiative will bring in a variety of speakers from such fields as healthcare, education, and entrepreneurship. The speakers (who will present in Miller 1013) will discuss how to combine innovation and fiscal responsibility in their respective fields.