Kappa Psi representing Wayne State in national ‘Up to Us’ competition

Javier, Dudash and Allen
P1 Kappa Psi brothers Joseph Paul Javier and Jacob Dudash with Up to Us program director Hilary Allen

The U.S. national debt is $24 trillion and is growing at an alarming rate, especially considering the recently approved COVID-19 stimulus packages. To raise awareness of the long-term challenges such massive debt presents, especially in terms of health care, a group of Kappa Psi brothers led by first-year PharmD student Joseph Paul Javier joined the Up to Us Campus Competition to help spread the word at Wayne State.

Up to Us is a nationwide, campus-based campaign focused on building a sustainable economic and fiscal future – which correlates directly to future opportunities and resources for today’s young people. Through creative campaigns at colleges and universities across the country, emerging leaders like Javier power the Up to Us movement by educating and engaging their peers on the risks presented by the nation’s overwhelming debt – and the benefits of working toward a solution.

Kappa Psi team members include PharmD students Joseph Paul Javier, Hussein Safaoui, Jacob Dudash, Brian Randall, Noah Trotter, Chima Nwamba and Fadi Manuel. Earlier this semester, they traveled to Oakland, CA, to attend a leadership conference for team building and to brainstorm campaign strategy with other student leaders. Their goal: to raise awareness about federal fiscal policy and gather support for building a sustainable economic future for the nation.

Help WSU win the competition

The Conference
Up to Us leadership conference at the Net Impact Headquarters in Oakland, CA, with student leaders representing 150 schools from all across the U.S.

“Since we are all PharmD students, we chose to focus our campaign on health and medicine since health care is a major driver of the national debt,” Javier said.

The team’s campaign includes a robust social media presence on Instagram, presentations in now-online classes offered by Professor Mary Beth O’Connell, PSAs on COVID-19 and its impact on the economy, and even creative online events like their Zion Speedway Races, broadcast on Facebook, which aim to entertain and educate viewers while they shelter in place and practice social distancing.

Launched in 2012, the Up to Us Campus Competition – a partnership between three nonpartisan, nonprofit organizations – provides a platform for initiating collaborative discussions on campus, as well as unique leadership development opportunities for participants. This year, Wayne State’s first in the campaign, 150 schools are competing for $10,000, and the chance to travel to Washington, DC, to meet with policy organizations, civic groups and leaders from across the political spectrum to discuss the next generation's stake in fiscal issues, and attend the Peter G. Peterson Foundation’s Fiscal Summit.

In addition, participants receive leadership training and get priority access to apply for paid internships with Net Impact in Oakland, CA, prestigious Leadership & The American Presidency (LTAP) internships in Washington, DC, $5,000 Civic Engagement Fellowships and Harvard Business School online course scholarships.

“Up to Us is a great opportunity to help spread awareness about health care as a component of the U.S. economy,” Javier said. “But our team benefits too.”

During the Up to Us Campus Competition, students build critical skills in leadership, strategy development and community engagement. The experience also serves as an impressive resume builder.

Harvard scholarship winners
Up to Us recipients of Harvard Business School scholarship to study Sustainable Business Strategy: Joseph Paul Javier, Fiorella Riccobonno, and Wainright Acquoi

“Personally, through the Up to Us competition I have benefited much from the opportunities it can afford,” Javier said. “Aside from learning about issues surrounding fiscal policy and the economy, I was granted a scholarship for a graduate certificate program with Harvard Business School, and I will be participating at an online town hall meeting with former President Bill Clinton next weekend to ask him questions regarding the economic effect of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. as well as how the nation can better prepare itself for future a health crisis like the coronavirus.”

The competition formally ends on Friday, April 17. You can help the team win by signing the pledge at www.itsuptous.org/get-involved/pledge. Make sure to scroll down the list of schools and select Wayne State University when you complete the form.

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