Fiorella Riccobono and Daniela Rognoni: Competing for Fiscal Responsibility

Fiorella Riccobono and Daniela Rognoni have taken their interest in social entrepreneurship to the national level by competing in the UP to US campus competition. The Up to US team at FSU has not only made our campus more fiscally aware but also grabbed a spot as a top 20 finalist in the competition.

HerCampus(HC): Can you tell us a little bit about what Up to Us is all about?

Fiorella Riccobono(FR): Basically Up to Us is a bipartisan organization that wants to raise awareness of the national debt and also come up with innovative solutions for our national debt like policy changes or laws that can be implemented. Part of the competition was getting Millennials to take the pledge saying, “I’m a Millennial and I care about our rising national debt.”


HC: How did you get started with this organization?

FR: Up to Us is under Net Impact which works with a lot of social enterprises, so I was already on their newsletter to read about upcoming social entrepreneurship things where I saw the Up to Us and how to apply.


HC: Your team here at FSU has been selected as a finalist in the Up to Us campus competition. What sort of events did you all compete in to claim your spot?

Daniela Rognoni (DR):  We first began with tabling on campus to get as many pledges as possible and to get people interested and caring about the rising national debt. But, our biggest event was when we partnered with the Social Entrepreneurship and Innovators club where we had food and tried to get people to think of their own solutions on how to decrease or stop our national debt from continuing to rise. It was very interactive to get people interested and connected and to educate them. Not a lot of people know the breakdown of the national debt and how it can impact us in the future.


HC: What is the next step in the competition?

FR: Basically the competition part is done. They have the top twenty teams, which will then be narrowed down to 10. From there the Clinton Global Initiative Organization will rank the top 10.


HC: What do you think is the first step in changing the pattern of our rising national debt?

FR: Definitely education first. Informing people how the national debt is, how laws are currently set up and how the federal budget works. Then from there we can start thinking how policies can change or figuring out if the solution is in policy or something else at a more local level where other sectors can help decrease it. Just get the conversation going and get people thinking about what they can do.

DR:  I feel like a solution is hard to just figure out but our group came up with taking the weight off of the government, which is what social entrepreneurship is about. Its more on the businesses who are interested in creating social change and putting that on them so that our government doesn’t have to take on so much.

FR: Basically we think that we should blur the lines between the public sector and the private sector and the solution is to bring all of these entities together and work together to make it everyone’s responsibility and not just the government.


HC: What do you see in the future for Up to Us at FSU?

FR: I hope we compete again next year. We will have to reapply but I definitely enjoyed it and I think we learned a lot with how we can do good here. I’m really happy with how we did it and I think that we had the most innovative approach to our events. I think next year I would want more supervisors involved so that we can do it on a larger scale because we pretty much did it within our small team.


HC: Has your perspective on any issue changed because of Up to US?

FR: Honestly yes. I think I’ve become more fiscally conservative just by understanding how budgeting works and how policies are actually crafted has changed how I view the responsibility of the government.

DR: I agree. I think before we started this I wasn’t as educating. I was aware of the national debt and I knew it was growing but I think being a part of this has made me break it down and make me feel more responsible. I want to be a part of the solution since we are the future and we are the solution.