A new club, Financial Literacy for the Youth (FLY), was recently approved as a chartered club by the Binghamton University Student Association (SA).
The club received its official SA-chartered status on Feb. 2. The purpose of FLY is to teach BU students the fundamental concepts of financial literacy in order for them to provide financial wellness education to local youth, according to Edon Prelvukaj, the president of FLY and a junior majoring in economics.
Matthew Shields, the chief communications officer of FLY and a junior majoring in economics, described the relevance of the club for the Binghamton area in particular.
“It’s our goal to impact as many people as we can with just basic financial literacy,” Shields said. “We found in Broome County as a whole, there is a dire need for literacy and financial understanding in the community.”
FLY is open to all students, regardless of their existing knowledge of finance or economics. During the club’s weekly events, the Executive Board presents information to members on topics related to financial wellness and helps them develop skills for managing income taxes and building credit. To ensure the legitimacy of the information provided, all senior E-Board members hold certification in personal and family financial wellness through Coursera — an online course-based learning platform — and work with experienced alumni and University staff to create their presentations, according to Prelvukaj.
Members of FLY are encouraged to participate in the club’s community outreach events, where they seek to help youth in local school districts and the surrounding community learn the skill of financial wellness. In order to take part in these outreach events, students must attend one of the weekly presentations, held Wednesdays and Thursdays in College-in-the-Woods, or attend a makeup event.
Thus far, the club has been able to partner with three local school districts and a local foster home in order to provide financial education. The first official community outreach event is going to be held on March 9, with the Whitney Point Central School District.
Daniel Croce, a current member of the club and a sophomore majoring in business administration, said the positive effect such outreach events could have on the greater Binghamton community was a primary reason behind him joining FLY.
“All the way around, I think that helping people understand how to manage their money is the most important thing, and I knew that helping kids understand that, and kids our age, kids younger than us, whatever age they are, was extremely important,” Croce said. “It’s one of the primary facets of life.”
The formation of FLY began with an initial idea from Prelvukaj, in collaboration with fellow classmates Shields and Conor Hughes, the chief financial officer of the club and a junior majoring in economics. Prelvukaj said his passion for spreading financial literacy was inspired by his familial background.
“My family came to this country as refugees,” Prelvukaj said. “Prior to coming here, my father was the chief economist for the Lottery of Kosovo. Within 10 days of coming here, he found a job as a janitor and his knowledge of financial literacy was basically what was able to keep us afloat for so long.”
Once Prelvukaj, Hughes and Shields formalized their plans to create a club dedicated to financial education at BU, the rest of their E-Board soon formed. The group then embarked on the process of transitioning from an independent organization to an SA-chartered club.
Obtaining an official SA charter required the E-Board to meet with the SA and formalize the club’s aims through the creation of a constitution with a description of the club’s goals and objectives. The existing E-Board members also had to prove that there was student interest on campus for the club, by reaching a quota of signatures they obtained at student events, such as the fall University Fest. They additionally held three general interest meetings (GIMs) over the course of last semester.
Prelvukaj noted that FLY was able to be successfully established as a chartered club in large part due to the help and support provided by the SA and other on-campus offices.
“Everything that we’ve done so far couldn’t have been done without the SA office and Harpur Edge,” Prelvukaj said. “I’m really close with the people at Harpur Edge, and they’ve really supported me in making this happen and pointing me in the right direction.”
With an SA charter, FLY can now organize on-campus events independent from other organizations, have access to a B-Engaged page and SA funding, as well as an official SA email and website.
Many members of FLY were encouraged by the club’s chartering and progress. Theresa Murphy, an undeclared freshman, described her plans to continue with the club.
“In the future, I plan on continuing the training and testing process to be able to go out and volunteer through teaching others at schools, community centers or wherever they’ll have us,” Murphy wrote. “It is very exciting to have watched this club grow from an idea to a real chartered club.”
Students who are interested in learning more about FLY are encouraged to reach out to them via email at email@example.com, on Instagram @binghamtonfly or on LinkedIn at Financial Literacy for the Youth (FLY).