Stockton students working to raise awareness of national debt

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EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP – A group of students from Richard Stockton College are nearing the finish line of a nationwide contest that could land them a chance to attend a Clinton Global Initiative University meeting in March and an opportunity to meet former President Bill Clinton himself.

 Egg Harbor Township residents Angelo Bechara and Tarek Gad and Mico Lucide of Galloway are on Stockton’s five-person team with Jessica Carey of Chatham and Katerina Childs of Lacey. The undergrads are currently in second place in the “Up To Us” nationwide campus contest.

 The “Up to Us” challenge asks college teams to foster a movement that addresses America’s long-term fiscal and economic challenges. Student teams, just like Stockton’s representatives, were selected from campuses across the country to compete through designing and running thought-provoking, fun, and impactful campaigns around the effects of rising debt on economic opportunity and America’s future, according to the contest site.

 The Stockton team has been working toward its goal of raising as much awareness about the national debt as possible through a variety of activities and is hosting another on Sunday, Feb. 16 at the school.

 Called “Dodge the Debt,” participant teams will compete at dodge ball as well as answer question about the debt to win prizes. The deadline to register is 10 a.m. It is free to play. The prize is $75 for each team member on the winning team. Teams can register by emailing  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Spectators are welcome.

 Bechara said the team has been working hard since being selected as a finalist, including creating a YouTube video to spread awareness.

“We applied in October and were selected among hundreds of candidates. Now we are in the competition along with 24 other very well-known schools from across the country like NYU, Tufts, Pace, George Washington and Duke. We spoke at our college's ‘Democracy Café,’ we hosted a Jeopardy night where teams answered questions about the debt and won prizes. We visited the Egg Harbor Township High school at their annual nerfball tournament (last weekend) and announced our campaign there as well,” said Bechara, who graduated from Egg Harbor Township High School in 2013.

 Now in the final stages of the contest, the team is asking for the public’s help.

The team can also get points by having supporters take a quiz on the issue. They earn one point for each person who takes answers the short questionnaire. The quiz can be found HERE.

Select Stockton as the campus to have the quiz count toward their point tally.

“The top six teams will be invited to the Clinton Global Initiative in Phoenix, Ariz on March 22. The winning team will receive $10,000 and will get to meet Clinton, who will personally announce the winner and congratulate- hopefully- The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey,” Bechara said.

The team will be notified by March 13 if it is invited, he said. 

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