Students to learn budgeting skills through Game of Life

By Tessa Brubaker, Campus Reporter

Students to learn budgeting skills through Game of Life

Students will experiment with several budgeting strategies designed to prepare them for life outside of college during an Oct. 5 event adaptation of the Game of Life.

Scheduled to be held at the Conaway Center, 1104 S. Wabash Ave., students will be given the equivalent of a starting salary for a post-college job in their field and work with faculty members from around the college to guide them through budgeting, said David Keys, coordinator for Student Leadership.

Students will play Game of Life to learn how to budget for an apartment, food and other expenses, as well as how to file taxes. Students will play by themselves with a faculty member mentoring them, so they are able to get the most out of the experience, according to Keys.

Afterward, Keys said, students will have the opportunity to talk about their mistakes or achievements during the game and have faculty members answer any questions. The game is designed to educate students who are making these budgeting decisions without parental help for the first time, Keys added.

“Our goal is to create a safe place where students experiment with creating their budget, and reviewing budgets with real life income levels,” Keys said. “We hope they develop decision making skills and resourcefulness throughout the program.”

The Game of Life gathering was created along with Student Organizations and Leadership, the Career Center and Student Financial Services, Keys said, adding that he organized the event with Student Employment Coordinator Poonam Joshi and Coordinator for On-site Services Flor Carabez.

While this will be the Columbia’s first time offering this particular training, other institutions have used this method to teach students about budgeting, Keys said.

Joshi said she first saw this learning method at her former employer Oakton Community College in Des Plaines, Illinois where the event was sucessful.

She added that game play is an excellent practice for students to figure out their budgeting skills.

“It’s fun because it’s a way to see where your salary could potentially get you,” Joshi said. “It teaches you how to budget with what you have and [students] enjoy it.”

David Sparacio, coordinator of outreach and education in the Student Financial Services Office, said it is important for students to attend events like the Game of Life because it teaches important lessons such as saving money for emergencies and budgeting for entertainment activites.

“Budgeting and saving and spending doesn’t come natural to all students,” Sparacio said. “When they come to these budgeting events they’re going to actually learn the tools they need.”

Although students can attend without an RSVP, they are encouraged to do so through Handshake to help faculty find a starting salary based on that student’s major, Key’s said.

“It’s really important, especially in today’s economy, that we are encouraging our students to research different ways to budget for themselves and to be financially wise,” Keys said.