In keeping with the emphasis on preparing alumni for the future, WPI is offering students a chance to become active in their financial futures ahead of the curve. On Feb. 23, students are invited to “Launch Your Financial Future” when Country Bank and WPI co-host the campus-wide event.
“Financial education is not a one-and-done concept. It is a lifelong learning process for everyone,” says Monica Blondin, executive director of Student Aid & Financial Literacy at WPI. “Being able to get the word out to our students now, before they enter the workforce, about the importance of developing sound money management skills, is key, as it will increase their chances of being financially successful throughout their lifetime.”
“Launch Your Financial Future” hosted by WPI and Country Bank, will run Tuesday, Feb. 23, 4–6 pm, in Alden Hall.
Blondin, along with others from Country Bank and the Student Aid & Financial Literacy office, will oversee the event, which will consist of 10 booths focusing on various aspects of fiscal responsibility.
“Each of the 10 financial literacy booths will be staffed with Country Bank and WPI volunteers, who will provide students with information on areas such as credit, student loans, fraud prevention, insurance, employment benefits, transportation, savings and investing, career development, budgeting, and more,” she says.
Budgeting is at the heart of the event, as the program is designed to stress the individual student’s role in designing their own financial futures.
“There is a lot of research out there that points to the fact that our young people need help with developing a skillset in managing their money,” Blondin states. “The first step for anyone is to understand how to create and follow a budget. You can have all the knowledge in the world about money management, but if you cannot stick to a budget and understand the basics of ‘wants vs. needs,’ then your financial life will be a challenge for you.”
The event will take the format of an open house, from 4-6 p.m. in Alden Hall, and the first 50 students through the door will receive a free T-shirt. For this and other reasons, Blondin encourages attendees to arrive early.
“Throughout the fair, there will be several raffles where students can win gift cards or even a smart TV. The earlier students arrive at the fair, the more times they will have to visit all 10 booths and increase their chances of winning. Also, as the fair is taking place during dinnertime, students can take a break and grab a slice of pizza at the food booth.”
In addition to the perks, the event will offer a real chance to learn from attendees such as Massachusetts state treasurer Deborah Goldberg and state senator Michael Moore. The booths themselves will be hosted by a number of volunteers from Country Bank and WPI.
“While the entire staff from the Office of Student Aid & Financial Literacy will be working at the fair,” she says, “many other members of the WPI community are also volunteering their time to assist with this event. It truly is a campus-wide initiative.”
Looking forward, the organizers hope the event, which Blondin’s department has been orchestrating with Country Bank’s Jodie Gerulaitis since last August, will not only convey the importance of students engaging themselves in their financial wherewithal, but also shine a light on WPI’s role as a community leader in bringing these issues to the forefront of students’ attention.
“WPI does a fantastic job educating our students who ultimately become quite successful in their professional careers,” says Blondin. “Let’s take it one step further and ensure that our students are also able to manage their financial lives just as successfully as their professional lives.”
Students are encouraged to register for the fair at Regi25.
– BY RYAN MORIN