Students: Save some money with knowledge

SJSU students brought 17 financial institutions and organizations to campus to educate the community about finance last week.

As a part of “Financial Literacy for the Community,” workshops were held every hour-and-a-half, aligned to class periods, in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library and Clark Hall.

Sociology lecturer Michael Fallon was the lead organizer, combining efforts in his Contemporary Issues course and SJSU’s Center for Community for Learning and Leadership to organize a finance event for the community.

“We’re disappointed more students didn’t take advantage of this opportunity,” said Fallon, co-director of the Center, in response to the estimated turnout of 100 to 150 students and community guests.

Fallon said the locations probably kept attendance down, and that if the event was to happen next year he’d want it outside near more foot traffic.

“Financial literacy should be important to the community,” he said. “It is to us.”

Fallon and his students, including senior sociology major Katie Louey, fundraised for marketing and food to support the event.

“A lot of my friends say they know how to budget,” Louey said. “I don’t know if they really do.”

Students were outside the King Library, in the main area on the first floor handing out flyers, encouraging library guests to attend seminars and meet with financial professionals.

One of these professionals, Greg Meyer, Meriwest Credit Union community relations manager, directed a financial information session titled “Know Credit, No Problems: A guide to understanding credit reports and credit scores.”

Meyer’s presentation brought a tangible understanding of how interest rates and credit reports work, complete with color handouts paid for by the organizers.

“Our parents didn’t teach us everything about money,” Meyer said. “You have to learn it somewhere.”

“Financial education is important in a time like this,” said Neil Hopper, a Wells Fargo personal banker and credit product specialist. “After the whole financial collapse, It’s important for SJSU students to have the skills to succeed and not fall into that same trap.”

Hopper described the crowd that attended his seminar, “Hands on Banking,” as eager to learn.

“Students that attended today were more than cheeks in a seat,” he said. “They actually took notes. It’s nice to know that people care about their future.”