RSG Students Compete to Raise National Debt Awareness

Eighteen trillion. It’s a number that’s difficult for many to comprehend, but a group of Robertson School of Government (RSG) students are kicking off a campaign to keep that dollar amount at the forefront of discussion. It is the lump sum the United States federal government owes to its creditors. While RSG M.A. in Government students Chase Bond, Juliana Melton, Jonathan Lantz, Chip Harrell, Paul Bayer and Linda Waits-Kamau aren’t able to write a check to cover this cost, they are competing with student teams from Yale, Georgetown, Northwestern and other universities to promote awareness of the national debt crisis. They are also asking Regent students to get involved.

These RSG students are launching the “It’s-Up-to-Us Regent National Debt Crisis Campaign.” It’s their attempt to educate students and the public about the risks associated with owing $18 trillion dollars, and also provide perspectives on what can be done to reduce the debt. They’re inviting Regent students to sign a petition and will be offering Regent students, staff, alumni and guests a free panel seminar about the costly conundrum at a town hall and lunch on Feb. 12 at 11:45 a.m. in Robertson Hall Room 114.

“Our goal is to encourage further personal and elected official action toward fiscal responsibility and financial stability to avert the national debt crisis,” said Bond. “To accomplish this, our team is sponsoring a free seminar with lunch where a distinguished panel will discuss how we should approach this crisis and answer questions from the audience.”

The event on Feb. 12 in Robertson Hall is dubbed as “My Two Cents Day.” Doors will open at 11:45 a.m. when lunch will be served and Town Hall will conclude by 1:15 p.m. to be followed by an optional Debt Finance mini-seminar until 2 p.m. Dr. Patterson, RSG’s dean, will be moderating the panel. Its members include Joseph E. Bond, senior vice president of Asset Liability Group for BBVA Compass Bancshares, Inc., Admiral William McCarthy (Ret. U.S. Navy), and Dr. Gary Oster, professor of Economics in Regent’s School of Business & Leadership.

“The national debt has a crippling effect on our future,” says RSG Dean Eric Patterson. “I am delighted that Regent University is fielding a team in this competition.”

Regent’s “It’s Up-to-Us” team orchestrated the Town Hall and free lunch as part of a competition for the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI). Similar events will be held at 44 schools across the country during “My Two Cents Day” on Feb. 12. Regent’s Up-to-Us team is asking students and the public to lead them onto victory by signing a petition on Facebook for U.S. leaders to address the national debt crisis, as well as to “like” the Regent Up-to-Us team’s Facebook page and follow them on Twitter to receive information and articles about the national debt crisis.

Signing the petition is key to winning this national competition. Everyone is encouraged to also visit the Regent team’s Up-to-Us table in Robertson Hall Lobby starting Thursday, Jan. 29, to sign the National Debt Crisis petition and learn more about the National Debt Campaign. The competition will conclude February 12. President Bill Clinton will recognize the winning team at a CGI event at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida on March 6 to 8. The team will also receive $10,000. This is the third year the CGI is sponsoring the competition along with the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, and this is the first year that a Regent team is competing.