Financial event teaches students through “The Game of Life”

The stereotypical college student is known for mishandling money. UNA’s on-campus Listerhill is working to change that with “The Game of Life.”

The event is hosted in partnership with the Student Government Association and its Budget Oversight Committee.

The event was from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Commons lobby with a drawing at the conclusion of the event where one student won $50. All students who attended the event received a free t-shirt.

“This event is really about preparing students for the world both before and after graduation,” said Zach Rose, director of financial wellness at The Hill on campus.

Listerhill’s third annual “The Game of Life” event drew in more students than previous semesters, said Tosha-Paige Brewer, marketing project manager at Listerhill.

“We cater this event for students freshman to senior,” she said. “Many professors bring their students in to go through (the activity).”

Junior Caitlin Hogeland said she learned about weighing financial options.

“I came to this event as a freshman and I didn’t really do very well, so coming back and going through the program again really helped open my eyes a lot,” she said.

Students start at one end of the literacy fair and workers give them a card with an assigned career and income, Rose said.

Attendees work through a line of stations where they make choices that determine their monthly costs.

Then, in keeping with real-life statistics, about seven of 10 students make a student loan payment and every student’s card has a monthly healthcare cost.

For the second step in the program, students spin “The Actual Wheel of Fortune.”

Here, students are either rewarded with a supplemental income situation, such as a holiday work bonus, or an unpredictable real-life cost, including a flat tire or a broken phone, Rose said.

After that, students face choices about common monthly bills, such as housing expenses, car payments, groceries and entertainment expenses.

At the end of the program, Rose helped each student calculate a realistic percentage of his or her income for a card payment, a savings account deposit and for retirement.

Freshman Jala Johnson said this event could be useful to some students.

“I know how to budget and manage money, but for someone who isn’t used to being on their own, this event could help them learn what to do,” she said.

Rose said he encourages students who have financial needs and questions to come see the employees at The Hill branch.

“If students have specific questions for me, they are more than welcome to come by and see me in my office,” Rose said.