Competition Featuring UVA Campaign on National Debt Ends - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Competition Featuring UVA Campaign on National Debt Ends

Posted: Updated: March 2, 2013 07:20 PM

The nation's fiscal fight is the focus of a challenge for University of Virginia students.  The six-weeklong "Up to Us" campaign is coming to an end Saturday night after sparking a new conversation about America's debt crisis.

The student-run initiative was designed to get a younger generation talking and learning about the national debt.  Team organizers and participating faculty say the university has really come together around this cause.

The "Up to Us" campaign created a collective video message, representing more than 16 universities, on what the national debt means and why it's important to get involved.  It is just one element of a competition that students say took lots of teamwork.

Team organizer Alan Safferson said, "We've gotten collaboration from schools across the university that typically don't work together to really join forces on this campaign and really get students excited about the national debt."

The group formed six weeks ago, focusing its campaign first on education through documentaries and speakers.  Then the students launched a four-part flash seminar series to get people talking.  One of the group's biggest events was bringing Senator Mark Warner to the university to speak in front of hundreds about the nation's debt crisis.

"I think that the way we've approached the competition is that we understand the ultimate purpose is to try and get as many people to talk about it as possible," said team organizer Lena Shi.

Faculty members joined to help the campaign carry a more long-term conversation.

"It's not just about the sequestration events that are happening right now, it's much larger than that," said UVA professor Mary Margaret Frank.  "When you look at the data, it's not just the, it's really more about what's going to happen 10, 15 years from now, not just right now."

Students and faculty are looking ahead on an issue they say is everybody's responsibility.

A competition winner will be announced in about two weeks.  The winning team will be recognized by former president Bill Clinton and receive a $10,000 dollar prize.  UVA's "Up to Us" campaign says if they win, they will put the money towards creating a scholarship related to fiscal policy.

One of the 12 judging criteria is called action points, measured by how many people click and participate on each of the links on their website.  Click here to help them win. 

The action points system will close down at midnight Saturday.  You can also fill out a survey to give feedback on the campaign.

Competition Judging Criteria

  1. Causes Members - Accounts for number of members and percent of student body
  2. Causes Actions - Actions taken by team's Cause members (accounts for total number of actions and average actions per member)
  3. Survey Response - From survey - accounts for number of responses and percent of student body
  4. Awareness Generated - From survey - student awareness of fiscal issues
  5. Personal Connection - From survey - ability to draw personal connections to fiscal issues
  6. Participation & Rules - Net Impact Conference and webinar attendance, adherence to competition rules, and responsiveness to deadlines
  7. Light Touch Actions - Consider participation levels and lasting impact of actions
  8. Heavy Touch Actions - Consider participation levels and impact of actions
  9. Overall Creativity - Is the campaign original and visionary?
  10. Public Visibility - How was the campaign promoted on campus and did the team secure local media coverage?
  11. Learning - Did the team identify valuable lessons learned in their final report?
  12. Overall Campaign - How well was the campaign designed and executed?
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