GOLD conference teaches students fiscal responsiblity

As students gain independence, they acquire the need for financial responsibility. Geneseo's first Financial Empowerment Conference gave students the tools needed to achieve financial maturity.

Students seeking the keys to fiscal accountability gathered at 2:30 p.m. on Sept. 13 in the Hunt Room for the two-part conference and were given the opportunity to speak with a guest panel and to attend one of four GOLD workshops.

GOLD mentor Iwona Drapala '13 was the driving force behind the conference.

“The main idea is that there is so much about personal finance that you don't know,” Drapala said. “It might be stressful and frustrating, but it's really important, and the best way to deal with it is just to deal with it head on.”

Chad Rieflin, director of the Credit Education Bureau of Rochester, advised, “Don't learn the hard way. Get all the information you can.”

According to GOLD's event page, the other panelists included Michael Schinski, associate professor of management at Geneseo's School of Business, Bonnie Swanson, assistant vice president of KeyBank and Archie Cureton, director of financial aid at Geneseo.

Swanson said that most consumers focus on large purchases, but “it's the little things that will catch up with you.”

Following the the opening session panel, GOLD presented four workshops.

“I realized there is a lot I don't know about things like loans and credit cards, and I'm sure I'm not the only one, so I picked the top four workshops that most appealed to me as a student, and that I thought would most appeal to other students also,” Drapala said.

As described by a GOLD publication, Rieflin tackled issues such as overspending in his “Confessions of a Shopaholic” session.  Other workshops in the series involved advice on managing student loans and credit debt, and investing. The series targeted common financial issues that students run into.

According to Drapala, the conference was successful and may potentially return in subsequent years.

“A lot of people learned a lot, especially during the question and answer panel,” she said. “But the more you learn about personal finance, the more you realize you don't know, so you shouldn't put it off.”