Jessica Carey, a senior majoring in Political Science and minoring in Sociology, is leading a group of four other Stockton students in the national “It’s Up To Us” competition. The campaign is sponsored by the Clinton Global Initiative and Net Impact, a nonprofit with over 50,000 students and professionals in 300 chapters aiming “to drive transformational change in the workplace and world.” Twenty-five colleges and universities are competing to win a $10,000 prize and be recognized by President Clinton at the 2014 Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU) in March.
In an effort to win the competition, Team Captain Carey must make sure the team meets three requirements.
Carey and her team must: organize events which encourage civic engagement and educate Stockton and the local communities on the country’s national debt issue; make an informative YouTube video and engage in social media to encourage as many people as possible take a quiz hosted through Facebook.
As part of encouraging civic engagement, Carey’s team drafted a politically neutral petition asking the New Jersey State Legislature to increase the resources being allocated to civics programs throughout public schools within New Jersey. “This serves as a way to educate and encourage students of the overall importance of being actively involved with the government’s policy-making,” Carey said.
To engage Stockton students and the community, Carey organized several campus events open to students, faculty, staff and members of the public. The first, titled, “Jeopardy: National Debt Edition,” had approximately 25 participants. The “Jeopardy”-style setting posed questions to students regarding the reality of the nation’s debt. Next, Carey organized a Democracy Café event titled “Making Cents.” The informative conversation was facilitated by two of Carey’s “It’s Up To Us” team members, Mico Lucide and Tarek Gad, and was guided by Economics Professors Deborah Figart and Ellen Mutari, who provided useful insight for all in attendance.
The final event Carey scheduled was a “Dodge the Debt” Dodgeball Tournament. Eleven teams of five members competed for over two hours as Carey and her team members handed out flyers with the link to the Facebook quiz. Every few rounds, national debt facts were read by Stockton’s “It’s Up To Us” team. At the end of the dodgeball competition, each member of the 11 teams answered a 32-question quiz based on facts given during the tournament.
Based on their community engagements, Carey believes the Stockton team is currently ranked in the top seven schools.
“I think that is something to really be proud of, especially when you consider some of the schools we are competing against – Duke University, University of Michigan, George Washington University, Tufts University, New York University… the list is filled with very competitive, high caliber schools. It’s wonderful that Stockton is involved with this,” Carey said.
Carey wants to make the most of her time at Stockton. She is a member of the debate team; serves as the chair of the Legislative Policies and Government Affairs Committee on Student Senate and holds the position of Activities Chair for her sorority, Delta Delta Delta. She also serves on the Development Committee on the Board of Trustees and the Steering Committee for the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy.
In addition, Carey works two part-time jobs on campus- one in the Dean of Students office and another in the Campus Center Bookstore.
“I personally believe that college is a time to explore as many avenues as possible,” Carey said. “It is the last opportunity you have to find yourself before entering the real world.”
Carey hopes to continue her political activism in the future. Carey plans to participate in the Washington Internship Program in Spring 2015. Through that network, she hopes to find employment and move to Washington, D.C.
“Ultimately, I want to do research for a think tank pertaining to policy for women’s rights or juvenile delinquency advocacy,” said Carey. “I also would like to attend graduate school and receive my master’s degree in public policy and administration.”
Originally from Chatham, NJ, Carey came to Stockton with additional credits from high school. She is a senior by credit, but is only in her third year.
To sign the Stockton team’s petition, click here.
To view the Stockton team’s YouTube video, click here.
To take the Facebook quiz, click here.
Every signature, view and quiz brings Stockton one step closer to victory! To learn more about the “It’s Up To Us” campaign, click here.