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Students and faculty participants in the economic department’s Fiscal Challenge competition.

UNC undergraduate students competed in a fall contest to create innovative solutions to reduce the U.S. government debt burden.

The Fiscal Challenge, sponsored by the economics department, was a competition with a “real world” application. Nine teams of students from different majors across campus prepared a detailed briefing book describing their solutions to the debt problem. A committee from the department chose the four most impressive proposals, and those teams presented their proposals to an expert panel of judges. After each team’s presentation, the judges asked questions that probed the students’ understanding of the issues and of the ramifications of their policy proposals. 

The top three teams received cash prizes funded by the Herbert Brown Mayo Research Fund in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences. In addition, an organization called The Can Kicks Back awarded three finalists a trip to Washington D.C. to meet with members and staff of Congress to present their ideas for debt reduction to policy-makers. 

The Can Kicks Back is a Washington, D.C. nonprofit with a goal of fostering public education on debt-related matters.   

The winning team members are Brian Bartholomew, Danny Hogenkamp, Nick Neuteufel and Ryan Rosenberg. 

Judges included Patrick Conway and Geetha Vaidyanathan of the UNC economics department, Georg Vanberg of Duke’s political science department, and Ryan Schoenike of The Can Kicks Back.


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