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Economics students to compete in College Fed Challenge


Jan Dennis, Business & Law Editor

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — A team of University of Illinois economics students will compete Nov. 10 in the district finals of the College Fed Challenge, a national contest promoting the Federal Reserve’s role in the U.S. economy.

The five-member team will compete against schools from across the northern Midwest during the daylong contest at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. The winners of 12 district contests will advance to the national finals Dec. 2-3 in Washington, D.C.

Trenton Morrow, a sophomore majoring in economics, will lead the U. of I. team, which includes Calvin Liou, Joseph Malandruccolo, Ivan Osinsky and Samuel Sogin. Interim economics department head J. Fred Giertz is the team’s adviser.

“This is the most challenging economic environment in the history of the competition,” Giertz said. “In most years, the question is whether to make small changes in the interest rate. With the crisis in the financial markets, this year’s issues are more far-reaching and controversial.”

The Fed Challenge is designed to expand students' understanding of the role of the Federal Reserve System in the economy and the importance of Federal Open Market Committee decisions.

Each team argues whether the Federal Reserve should increase, lower or maintain federal lending rates, basing presentations on economic conditions on the day of the competition.

Those real-time presentations, which teach current events as well as economics, are followed by a question-and-answer period with judges from the Federal Reserve.

Teams are judged based on knowledge of the Fed and its role in monetary policy, quality of research and presentation, responses to judges’ questions and teamwork.

For more information, contact Trenton Morrow at 501-366-0577 ( or J. Fred Giertz at 217-244-3108 (