Some UNM students are hoping to get an edge in a national competition that kicked off last week.
According to a press release from the Peter G. Peterson Foundation website, five UNM students will compete in Up to Us, a national competition in which 24 university teams will attempt to “educate and engage their peers on the effects of the nation’s rising debt and motivate action in Washington on fiscal issues.”
Victoria Pryor, a sophomore majoring in international management and economics and leader of a UNM team, said she and her team have been working on their campaign for months.
“We’ve been working on this since September,” she said. “We had to turn in a preliminary application, and then we had to go through training in California at the Net Impact Conference. And then it was just weeks and weeks of planning up until a week ago.”
The other four members of UNM’s Up to Us team are Rachel Williams, Austin Madrid, Earl Shank and Taylor Bui.
The five students have recently joined forces with Lobothon, an on-campus organization, to try to raise awareness about the event.
“We’ve teamed up with LoboTHON to try to raise awareness about the event,” said Madrid, a junior majoring in interdisciplinary film and digital media.
According to the website, LoboTHON aims to help “develop awareness and provide support to University of New Mexico Children’s Hospitals and Children’s Miracle Network Hospital.”
Kyle Stepp, executive director of LoboTHON, said one of the events his organization planned with the Up to Us team involves gathering about 20 to 30 randomly selected UNM students to present Valentines to children at the hospital.
“This is a great chance for a number of students in the student body to be able to really get to meet the kids they’re raising money for,” he said.
If the Up to Us team members win the competition with their campaigning, they will receive $10,000 as part of their prize, which they say they will donate to LoboTHON’s cause.
“There was some question about what the $10,000 would go to,” said Williams. “Immediately we decided it wouldn’t be going to us, so it was a matter of where in the community do we put the $10,000. And LoboTHON is one of the largest fundraisers happening right now, so it made sense.”
Stepp said none of the money will go to administrative costs for the organization.
“All $10,000 is going to the care of the kids at the children’s hospital,” he said.
If the UNM team wins the competition, they will be recognized by former President Bill Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative University 2014, according to the Up to Us website.
Pryor said the UNM team has already planned a variety of strategies to get students involved in economic issues, including an online quiz, an essay competition, a freeze mob and a roundtable discussion that will take place Thursday.
UNM students supporting the campaign would help benefit the University, Williams said.
“We need as much participation, as much engagement as we can get from the UNM community because we’re representing this University,” she said. “We’re competing against huge schools, and it’s just unreal that we even made it this far.”