Three College of Business student organizations teamed up this month to help improve the financial literacy of UF students. Members of Accounting Club, Marketing Club and Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) worked together to host a simulation activity on Feb. 20 where students could learn what financial issues they may face after college.
Julie Cusick, senior accounting major and president of Accounting Club; Camilla Jesko, senior business management and marketing major and president of Marketing Club; and Austin Wilson, sophomore international business and finance major and SIFE co-president, decided to work together after Crystal Weitz, Campus Compact coordinator and member of the Hancock Saves board, approached their organizations about being a part of America Saves Week.
“The three clubs wanted to be able to work together to reach out to students and educate them on the importance of America Saves,” said Jesko. “By working together, we were able to collaborate and join three great College of Business organizations to have a successful, educational event for students.”
America Saves Week is an annual opportunity for organizations across the country to promote good savings behavior. According to America Saves and the America Savings Educational Council, more than 2,000 organizations participate during the week, reaching millions of people.
The organization leaders brought America Saves Week to UF by planning an interactive simulation exercise. They adapted the exercise, which is often used in middle schools and high schools, to fit the needs of a college audience.
“We had to decide what kind of experience would be most beneficial for college students to learn about the importance of saving money and keeping track of their finances,” said Cusick. “We decided that an interactive simulation exercise instead of a speaker would be the most interesting for the students.”
More than 100 students attended the event and each were given a scenario that included a job, number of kids, credit card debt and college loan debt. They each also started with $300 savings. Throughout the event, students moved between stations where they paid for expenses including transportation, housing, utilities, college debt, credit card debt, food, childcare and insurance. Other factors like government assistance, a second job and a “chance” card were thrown into the mix. The goal of the event was to help students realize how important it is to be financially prepared.
“Financial literacy is important. I feel that students in general are not good with their money,” said Wilson. “Many do not have expenses or have to work during school so their real-world money skills are quite limited.”
The simulation gave students the opportunity to learn what realistic expenses they can expect to face after college. The organization leaders agreed that it was an eye-opening experience for many students.
“Students were able to experience firsthand the large amount of expenses they will incur after graduation,” said Cusick. “This exercise reinforced the importance of getting a college education and a good job to cover future expenses including housing, food, insurance, college loans, car payments and even entertainment.”
“I believe that the students really took this event seriously and put themselves into the scenario that they were given,” said Jesko. “Overall, we wanted the students to see why saving is important and how having financial knowledge can help everyone be prepared.”
By Katie Baumgart