April is Financial Literacy Month, which coincides with one of the busiest times of the academic year. As students and professors prepare for final projects, exams, and graduation, finances are often the last thing on people’s minds.
However, finances are one of those things that everyone has to take care of no matter your station in life. That is why Alfred State College’s Financial Wellness Task Force (FWTF) was formed, to bring finances to the forefront of minds of the Alfred State community.
One of the ways in which the task force is doing this is through hosting a number of on-campus events each Tuesday and Thursday in April. In March, the FWTF launched “The Game of Life,” in which students played carnival-like games where they lost or earned money based on where their “chips landed” and the corresponding scenario cards.
The group reached about 60 students, but realized they needed to have a broader influence, and planned nine events for the month of April. Topic titles range from “Navigating the Waters of College Loans” and “Investing is Like Baking” to “The Psychology of Money” and “Debt Stress.”
The events are led by Alfred State’s financial experts – faculty, students, and staff – as well as ASC graduates. Students are encouraged to come prepare for their financial futures and support the FWTF’s speakers every Tuesday and Thursday from 4-5 p.m. in EJ Brown Hall, room 119.
The FWTF was formed as part of the mission for Americorps VISTA member Dr. Fileve Palmer to make ASC students financially literate. As a trained anthropologist, Palmer, spent her months getting to know key figures that could be helpful resources for the giant, amorphous task. One by one, she contacted individuals to brainstorm ideas to help financial awareness.
When meeting with Dr. Hollie Hall and Jeanine Rose from Health and Wellness Services, Hall brainstormed a task force consisting of faculty, students, and staff who would assess student financial needs and develop programming around those needs. Hall suggested membership include a representative from ACES, a faculty member, and employees from Residential Life, Financial Aid, and Student Success.
Palmer contacted Business Professor Scott DuMond during his office hours to pitch the idea. DuMond, being a business professor, loved it and vowed to help. With that validation, Palmer set up meetings with leaders in each of the referenced organizations and recruited someone from each. Once organized, the group met in November to lay a foundation. Palmer then worked with Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Gregory Sammons to hammer out a clear mission statement and goals to present to President Dr. Skip Sullivan to make the group official.
The Financial Wellness Task Force received official recognition from Sullivan on Dec. 17, 2018. An official letter of acknowledgement was sent to provide “formal charge, membership, and direction to the Financial Wellness Task Force.”
The mission of the task force is to guide students to achieve financial stability to thrive on and off campus by providing baseline financial literacy through shared language, engaging programming, and innovative education. Members will empower students to create networks that give them tools and resources that will live up to Alfred State College's motto to “Hit the ground running!”