Four University of Arkansas – Fort Smith students had the opportunity to meet with Rep. Steve Womack as part of a national collegiate competition to raise awareness about the national debt.

Kayley Corley of Booneville, Alex Ellis of Gentry, AnnMarie McCollum of Mulberry and Taylor Wewers of Fort Smith met with the congressman Nov. 4 during a visit by Womack to the UAFS campus.

Among other topics, the students talked with Womack about how the national debt affects the fiscal future of the United States and the myriad of challenges legislators face in balancing the budget.

“As students, we understand that this could have a big impact on our future,” Corley said. “Having the opportunity to sit down and speak with Congressman Womack is an opportunity to have a dialogue with a person who has a say in that conversation at the national level.”

The meeting between the students and Womack helped the students prepare for this year’s Up to Us competition, where teams from schools across the nation compete to raise awareness about the national debt on their respective campuses.

After hearing that UAFS was competing in the competition for the third straight year, Womack asked to meet with the students to discuss the debt in-depth with them.

“The congressman has been absolutely wonderful,” Corley said. “This is just a testament to the relationship we have with him and his office. He’s very committed to our team and our cause and what we’re doing. That’s very exciting.”

The Up to Us competition began on the UAFS campus with My Two Cents Day, which included a debate watch party and “Taco Bout the Debt,” an event where the UAFS team handed out tacos and fact cards about the national debt.