It is our responsibility to repair the national debt.

The group behind UT's Up to Us campaign is partnering with the Economics Honors Society to host a discussion panel tonight beginning at 5:15 p.m. in the Haslam Business Building room 201.

The panel aims to educate attendees on the national debt and what it means for current and future generations of Americans.

Free food will be provided for the first 50 students to arrive.

As part of the national competition Up to Us, students from UT's economics club are organizing events spanning approximately five weeks. Tuesday night's panel is one of many events designed to inform the campus population of its responsibilities concerning the nation's financial troubles.

Kayla McMurry, a senior in economics and the Economics Club event manager, has headed up the effort to organize the discussion.

"We took this idea of speaking with faculty that had extensive knowledge on the subject and changed it into a panel discussion where more students would be able to attend," McMurry said.

The featured panelists will be Don Bruce, a research professor in the Center for Business and Economic Research, and Scott Gilpatric, an associate professor in the Department of Economics.

Bruce and Gilpatric are expected to discuss questions concerning what UT students and their peers across the nation can do to affect the national debt.

According to the Up to Us website, the national program "is an opportunity for students to build a movement to address America's long-term fiscal and economic challenges." (

Participating teams are responsible for using a $2,000 budget to educate their campus on their role in raising awareness of the national debt.

Jessica TenBroeck, a senior in economics and president of the Economics Leadership Team, said she believes the panel is a vital tool for UT's team to achieve this goal.

"The panel discussion fits perfectly into the larger goals of the Up to Us campaign," TenBroeck said.

Beyond simply informing fellow students of the facts of the national debt, TenBroeck expressed a desire to inspire panel attendees to investigate what the nation's climbing fiscal deficits mean for their futures.

"We hope that through this panel discussion we are able to bring to light the huge impacts the national debt has and give students a greater understanding of how it impacts them," TenBroeck said.

McMurry echoed this sentiment, saying both the panel and the campaign are designed to get students thinking about financial issues in the short and long terms.

"Right now students are concerned about the short-run, like 'Where am I going to get a job after college?'" McMurry said. "But this short-run perspective will come back to haunt us in 30 years.

"It is important for students to understand that federal policy, like spending, will affect us in the future."