It's "up to us" to address the national debt.

Or at least that's the motto UT students could be hearing across campus soon.

Through Feb. 21, UT is partnering with Up to Us, a nationwide program that challenges students to raise awareness on long-term debt and fiscal and economic problems.

Jessica TenBroeck, senior in economics, is the president of the Economics Leadership Team, a group of students who operate the Economics Club at UT.

She said she hopes the campus will start a new tradition with the Up to Us program after this year.

"Up to Us is a nationwide competition geared toward educating our peers on the national debt, which is over $17 trillion, how it affects us now and in the future, and what can be done about it," TenBroeck said. "The competition is a five-week long campaign where we will have weekly events such as painting the rock, events in conjunction with the Baker Center such as speaking with senators and meeting with the Concord Coalition, and we will be hosting a discussion panel with professors, and more."

Events are open to all students.

Kayla McMurry, senior in economics and event coordinator for Economics Leadership Team, discovered the Up to Us challenge last fall.

"The reason I was so excited about finding this challenge is because we are doing more than just research," McMurry said. "This is a chance to reach out and speak directly to students on an important issue that will affect all of us in the future.

"This might not be the trendiest topic to talk about, but it needs to be understood by students at the University of Tennessee."

The student-run campaign is partnering with the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy and UT Recycling for a few of the debt related events, which include a budget simulation, film viewing, and a visual representation of the national debt.

Samuel Rule, senior in economics and marketing coordinator for Economics Leadership Team, said he hopes the Up to Us program will engage the campus and help educate them on how national debt affects our generation.

"As a member of the Economics Club, I'm excited about making the national debt issue on campus one of importance," Rule said. "I don't believe that UT students realize the magnitude of the national debt.

"We are trying to do the best we can to help students become aware about the issues and reward them for their support in the process."

Throughout the campaign, students can sign a petition to raise awareness for the national debt, interact with the organization's Facebook page, and take a short quiz created by the Up to Us program.

All of these activities give eligibility for weekly cash and gift card prizes.

For more information on UT's partnership with the Up to Us program, visit the Facebook page, Up to UTK.

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