Up to Us, a campus group aiming to help voice student concerns, is in its final stages of becoming a fully recognized on-campus club after almost six years of expanding its campaign and presence at SF State.
The cohort-based organization helps bring awareness of the national debt to students and collects pledges to raise their voices. This will give students the opportunity to be civically engaged by letting California elected officials know that the SF State community is concerned about the fiscal challenges the U.S. faces.
With the process of being fully recognized as a club on campus almost complete, Up to Us plans on further expanding community outreach and engagement at SF State.
After a successful tabling event on Oct. 3 involving pizza, 375 pledges were collected. This brings them closer to the 1,000 pledge goal by Dec. 1. In a recent pledge report, the SF State cohort was placed at the No. 1 spot out of all participating schools for having the most pledges collected — a jump from when GGX first reported on the organization in October 2017, where Up to Us had placed third.
“It went really well,” said Nathan Bowman, a sociology major and team leader with Up to Us. “Especially in this political climate, where younger people are becoming more active, everyone has a lot to say.”
Bowman hopes to expand the organization’s influence, and smash goals with this year’s campaign. Currently, the cohort is in the final stages of being audited in order to be an officially recognized campus club.
“When people hear about us being an unofficial outside organization, it kind of puts people away,” Bowman said. “Becoming an official club would incentivize students to join, when it comes to resumes and having club experience.”
With 18 sponsorships under its belt from last year’s campaign, the cohort is working actively with several organizations on campus — such as the Economic Students Association, the College Democrats, the Social Experiment and Project Censored — doing in-class presentations, tabling in the quad, hosting campus events and engaging on social media. The group also has plans this year to reach out with San Francisco Mayor London Breed in order to bring awareness and discuss the issue of fiscal spending.
“We’re growing in so many different ways that it’s even hard to list everything,” Bowman said. “Students are starting to recognize us around campus, which is something we’re extremely excited about.”
The U.S. national debt is currently at a whopping $21 trillion and growing every second, according to the U.S. national debt clock. The risk of an ever-increasing debt is extremely dangerous as it increases the cost of borrowing for everyone, making mortgages and private business loans more expensive — making it less likely that millennials will be able to own a home or find good-paying jobs, according to a statement from the Peter G. Peterson Foundation.
“The issue is non-partisan. It’s not our role to tell people how the budget should be distributed,” Bowman said. “It’s something we leave up to to the people on how the budget should be drawn up.”
Up to Us is growing its base from last year, having recently expanded to all 50 states and established a presence at several Ivy League schools. Up to Us’s presence is nationwide, having 657 teams in all states, SF State being one of them. Since its establishment in 2012, the organization has earned more than 90,833 pledges according to the organization’s website.
“With how the political narrative is right now, I don’t see the debt ever going down,” said Sarahai Salas, community outreach lead and sociology major. “Maybe in 30 to 50 years, but it’s likely it’s not in our lifetime.”