On the 7th December friends and family came together with the residents of Celimontano and Porta Nevia for the inaugurazione of the academic year 2019-2020. An impressive turnout filled the Aula Magna at Celimontano on Saturday morning and familiar and unfamiliar faces gathered to hear the speaker, Tiziano Onesti’s words.
Costanza Persichetti kicked off the event with an introduction that linked the values of the RUI residences with Onesti’s theme of whether a new kind of economy was possible. The link was made between the voluntary projects underway, such as our experiences at the Lanciano prison and the immigration centre at Rocca di Papa, and a future economy where people take responsibility for those less fortunate than themselves. The point that such a change was long overdue was struck home by the shocking figure that a mere eight people in the world own the same amount as the rest, which brought us on nicely to Onesti’s contribution.
As the current president of Trenitalia and Professor of Economics at Roma Tre and the LUISS, Onesti’s outlook was weighty not only due to his extensive experience but also on account of his ability to have a real impact on redefining economic relations on an international basis. A captivating speaker clearly used to addressing a room of students, Onesti’s talk drew the focus of economy away from the facts and figures and towards the key players, the people themselves. He identified a successful company in any sector as one who puts their emphasis on people, valuing their employees and listening to their clients’ fluctuating needs and desires. Onesti then took us through the recent ‘moral crisis’ in economic theory, where he placed the onus on the importance of ethical values at the heart of big businesses. The recurring theme throughout his speech, as he called for a change in economic stance, was that this was ultimately a win-win situation: the effort involved in creating a sustainable and socially responsible economy pays off.
Any current consideration of the creation of a sustainable economy cannot avoid the question of being ‘green’, and Onesti successfully incorporated this into his presentation with an interactive quiz. The audience were asked to anonymously answer questions with their smart phones and the results were projected at the front of the room. Did we think about how our actions could make us more or less green? Were we likely to pay more to be more green? The audience provided mixed responses and Onesti did not take a stance, but some of the challenges in the creation of a green economy were made clear.
The morning came to an end with a celebration of those students who had attained their JUMP diplomas, presented to them by Onesti, and an impressive spread. The buffet lunch allowed for a pleasant conclusion to the event where students of different residences, families and friends gathered to welcome in the new academic year.