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Project Green Room calls for plans to reduce U.S. deficit, offers $500

By Alexis DeBrunner
On March 7, 2014

Challenging students to create a plan to reduce the United States' $17 trillion deficit and potentially win $500, Project Green Room will be hosting a Political Science Case Competition to showcase each team's plan March 18.

The Political Science Case Competition is an opportunity for teams of two to four students to create a plan to reduce the country's deficit and present it to a panel of judges to win the first prize of $500, Project Green Room President and Founder Jeff Feiwell said. The panel of judges will be chosen by their experience in relevant fields, ranging from political scientists, lobbyists and journalists to businessmen and academic teachers as well.

"We created this competition to give students an in-depth learning experience, not just on the debt specifically but also from a basic standpoint on how the United States runs," Feiwell said. "Putting them in a team setting for a cash prize makes it fun."

With more than 85 students participating, both from Miami and Ohio State, and 30 teams registered to compete, Feiwell said the pool of competitors was a good split between the two campuses, and students were very diverse.

"We have political science and econ majors clearly," Feiwell said. "But we also have neuroscience, biomedical and chemical engineering, diplomacy, French, nursing majors and more as well. I remember seeing the biomedical engineering major and that one really stood out to me as something different coming into this."

Feiwell, who founded Project Green Room with Stephen Hostelley last semester, described his organization as a non-profit that educates and engages college students on the fiscal issues, and specifically advocates for fiscal responsibility. Their aim for their Political Science Case competition is to give students the opportunity to brainstorm and solve the debt problem using real numbers and real world scenarios.

The case is created like a puzzle, with fictional political figures and groups, and includes challenges that each team will have to overcome to get their plan passed, Feiwell said.

"There is no right answer, and that is how we wanted it to be," Feiwell said. "We are going to have people from the left and right who have different solutions and different problems and that is what we wanted. We're trying to see how well can you make your argument, and how plausible is it."

Project Green Room Managing Director Lot Kwarteng said this competition, and Project GreenRoom as a whole, is something with potential for support from Washington, D.C., but they did not want it to be a D.C.-based organization.

"Everybody we talk to in D.C. says that this is a great idea and they are glad we are doing it, but we didn't want to be a D.C. organization," Kwarteng said. "This was started by college students for college students, and has a lot of potential to grow at a place like Miami with talented students and alumni."

Kwarteng said this competition is a perfect fit for Miami's campus because it has the right demographics that will be receptive to it.

"We were validated in the fact that everywhere we spoke students would email us and call us saying 'I like what you guys are doing, what can I do to get involved,'" Kwarteng said. "Students care about it. When you break down the issue into dollars and cents, and show how the macro issue effects us personally, people care and want to learn more, and get more politically engaged."

Student Body Vice President Courtney Bernard is one of four on a team that is participating in the competition. She said she joined because she is always up for a challenge and this was a fun way for her to apply her interests inside and outside the classroom on a larger scale.

"I hope to gain a better understanding of the difficulties our elected officials face when trying to pass a bill- particularly one dealing with federal budget," Bernard said. "While I have experience with legislation at the collegiate level, this will be a much more challenging, real-world experience."

Bernard said Project Green Room is a perfect example of young people taking initiative on issues that others have been unable to figure out, Feiwell said. They provide a fresh perspective and non-partisan views on fiscal issues that college students should understand.

"There is nothing like this, we did the research, and we created it. We thought of it because I did the William Blair investment banking competition last semester and we went to the finals for that and realized there was nothing like it for political science majors. We'll see how it goes," Feiwell said.

Kwarteng said the point of the initiative is to get students thinking.

"We want creativity and we want people to think outside the box," Kwarteng said. "I want to see kids in the library talking about this, I want to see them debating 'We should do this because...' or 'I want to do this.' There are a million ways to go about it and we are excited to see what we get back."

To learn more about Project Green Room visit www.projectgreenroom.com


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