Up to SFSU: 3 years and counting

By: Estevan Lopez, San Francisco State University

Estevan Lopez, Team Leader, second from the right

As this was our third year of participating in Up to Us, we felt that we had very strong support from our peers, department (Economics) and school (SFSU). This year, the competition had changed in format, but our attitudes remained the same- determined to raise awareness to our peers about the long-term national debt. We had the support of students from previous years as well that greatly contributed to our campaign on campus. Furthermore, since it was our third year of participating in the competition, our university extended a greater support for our efforts.

Due to our prior success in the competition, many people within our cohort stepped up to help us with our campaign. We had our team of 5 core members, but had an extended network of over 30 people that helped in both small and major ways. We had many volunteers join us to present in classrooms across campus, participate in our music video shoot, and have people take the pledge. In addition, we had an extensive support from many students and student organizations across different majors, departments etc. This was a major contribution to our efforts.

One of the most difficult parts about educating people about the long term national debt is convincing our peers why this is an issue that affects us currently and in the future. Our approach to tackle this issue was to present the information in a tangible way that students could directly identify with. Our primary method was to ask a classroom of students “who here receives financial aid to be able to attend school?” The majority of the hands would rise and we would follow up with “how many of you would still attend school if you didn’t receive financial aid?” We saw nearly every hand fall from the previous question and discomfort amongst our peers. This captivated the attention of the students and we were able to present with an invested audience. This was a key factor in our campaign.

One thing to remember about competing in a competition of this magnitude is that attitude is everything. There were days where we felt crushed and defeated, but we decided collectively to persevere and strive to make it all come together. A key aspect is that WE are all on the same team with one goal. This kept us motivated even during our worst days.

Overall, we are very proud of our efforts in this competition. We have been competing for three years and will continue to do so in upcoming years. Every year we feel that we could’ve done this or that differently, but it is a learning process. We gained and enhanced valuable skills such as leadership, work ethic, community involvement and so much more. Next year we will be right back where we left off. Remember, it’s UP to US!

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