Economics Club collaborates with organizations to create Fort Box

The UT Economics Clubs teamed up with other UT organizations--including UT Recycling--in order to create a Power T "Fort Box" in Pedestrian Mall on Friday, February 21, as a visual representation of the national debt and economics. UT is one of the twenty-five universities whose Economics Club partook in the Up to Us campaign--a campaign which raises awareness to students about the uprising national debt and how it will affect us in the future. Up to Us club members such as Kayla McMurry and Carly Frensley put together an event in which students would come and create a Power T...

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Students working on the early stages of the Fort Box project.
Students working on the early stages of the Fort Box project.

On Friday, Feb. 21, the UT Economics Club held the Up To UTK’s “Fort Box” event where UT students came together at Pedestrian Mall to construct a Power T-shaped box fort, representing the rising national debt and how it will affect our generation in the future.

Kayla McMurry, a senior Economics major and club leader, said the Economics Club’s main goal is “to raise awareness about fiscal sustainability and environmental sustainability” when it comes to the increasing national debt.

Ken Baker, a senior economics lecturer and club adviser, added that the club is trying to make the student body aware of the situation of the national debt, which represents the total amount of money that the U.S.  has borrowed.

“It’s your generation that’s going to bare the front of this,” said Baker. “You’re going to get less from the government than I did, and you’re going  to pay more than I did.”

The idea for the box fort began when the Economics Club discovered the Up To Us campaign, a national campaign seeking to raise awareness about the national debt.

Up to Us club leader Kayla McMurry (right) helping students build Fort Box.
Up to Us club leader Kayla McMurry (right) helping students build Fort Box.

“The box forts have been done all over the country,” said McMurry.  “The largest box fort was over 4,000 boxes, and it was at University of Texas at Austin, and we’re really trying to beat that right now.”

According to Carly Frensley, a junior Economics major in International Business collateral and the creative director for the Up To UTK campaign,  UT had to apply to be able to run the campaign because only twenty-five universities that applied would be entered.

 

Enthusiastic volunteer, Alex Speed (left) and Up to Us assistant team leader, Same Rule (right) working together to tape a box onto the stack.
Enthusiastic volunteer, Alex Speed (left) and Up to Us assistant team leader, Same Rule (right) working together to tape a box onto the stack.

“[The Economics Club] has been getting more involved in national competitions,” said Benjamin Compton, lecturer in the economics  department, “and so they were searching for something else to do that would involve not just students of economics, but students across the university.”

The box fort is constructed using over 5,000 cardboard boxes, representing the total amount of national debt: $17 trillion.

“If you think about $17 trillion divided by 5,000 [boxes], comes out  to about $3.5 billion worth of debt,” said Baker. “If we were to pay off $3.5 billion, we would still  have 4,999 boxes to go.”

Creative director for the Up to Us campaign Carly Frensley holding up sign supporting its teammate club, UT Recycling.
Creative director for the Up to Us campaign Carly Frensley holding up sign supporting its teammate club, UT Recycling.

The Economics Club combined efforts with UT Recycling, the Office of Sustainability, Net Impact,  the Environmental Studies Club and SPEAK in order to create the official Up to UTK campaign.

 

“I’ve  been impressed with the student’s efforts,” Compton said. “Whether we win or not, I think  that we’ve done something that’s impacted at least a certain portion of the students.”

 

Edited by Nichole Stevens 

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