MBA Interns Organize Credit Awareness Day
A recent study by the Jumpstart Coalition, a national group of educators, trainers, bankers and others, documented that college and high school students are lacking in many basic financial literacy skills and are unprepared for the real world upon graduation. The Massachusetts Bankers Association and the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, therefore, sponsored a special Credit Awareness Day last May. The event was planned by three UMass Amherst interns working with MBA to help educate students on campus about better managing their finances and improving their credit scores.
Michael Leip, David Ladetto and Jocelyn Cash, after studying various materials and receiving training organized by David Floreen '70 (economics), vice president of the Massachusetts Bankers Association, put their heads together and developed the "First Annual Credit Awareness Day."
The event took place at the Campus Center and included prizes, special giveaways, free food and a special appearances by Sam the Minuteman and the SUM ATM mascot. On hand were representatives from local banks and the MBA who distributed useful financial literacy information and led presentations on topics such as "Preventing Identity Theft," "What do I Do Now that I Owe $4,000 on My Credit Card," "Basic Budgeting and Money Mangement Tips," and "Credit Reporting and Scoring 101."
"Our presence in the campus center was very good," wrote Michael Leip in his summary. "Immediately after entering, students were [approached] by the interns in matching t-shirts [How Do You Score?] handing out buck slips. There were four tables filled with posters, banners, handouts, and pamphlets—and if you came at the right time, you might have even been greeted by a dancing man in the SUM costume....We had a lot of success gethering attention with our interactive trivia games about financial wellness and the candy bar prizes. Roughly 90 people attended our main event where they got the long and short of credit scoring--and free Antonio's pizza."
David Ladetto adds, "We were given a lot of creative freedom, base knowledge about financial topics, and pointers from David Floreen. This information led us to discuss many ideas and themes, how to get our message out to the campus, and how we could collectively work in a positive way. [At the event] we often broke the ice with individuals by asking 'do you know your credit score.' The conversation would take off from there, and it was during those times that I realized how much I had learned from participating in the internship. Someone would ask, 'So does it hurt my credit score if I cancel all of my credit cards at the same time?' and I could answer immediately because of the material we'd studied."
Jocelyn Cash notes that each intern had specific jobs in preparation for the Credit Awareness Day. "I was in charge of booking the campus center, promotions across campus, creating the banner and the t-shirts. We were well prepared, and a few administrators stopped at our tables and commended us. I hope the next interns can make [the event] bigger and better."
The MBA represents all 207 banks operating in Massachusetts providing deposit, lending and investment services to more than 6 million customers. The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences is the largest on campus with more than 5,000 majors.
To apply for the internship for 2008, click here.
October 29, 2007