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June 13, 2012

The Bridgewater Credit Union donated $10,000 to help fund BSU's Financial Literacy and Giving (FLAG) program. Part of the gift will help three groups of FLAG students implement their own service projects.

The service projects, which will be implemented this fall, include a financial literacy training program for local high school students, a student art gallery aimed at educational outreach, and a resident hall recycling program at BSU to benefit various charities. Incoming FLAG students may join in on the projects or start their own.

The implementation of the projects was part of the giving component of FLAG, which encourages students to initiate social entrepreneurship projects involving community service and other good business practices, said [b]Dr. Margaret Brooks[/b], professor and chairperson of economics and director of the nine-week FLAG program.

"The students learn ways businesses can be sustainable and contribute in positive ways to their communities," she said.

The donation was the product of an agreement between Mark Campanale and Theresa Heffernan of Bridgewater Credit Union, and BSU's Dr. Brooks and [b]Susan McCombe[/b], director of university and community partnerships.

Dr. Brooks said the partnership helps promote improved financial literacy in the region and brings expertise and funding to support BSU students, who in turn help contribute to the town's economy and financial institutions.

"Both institutions share a common interest in supporting the town of Bridgewater and the surrounding communities," said Dr. Brooks. "Helping BSU students become financially literate not only empowers students, but can also help them to become informed contributors to the local economy and banking system for many years to come."

Since BCU and BSU partnered, FLAG has grown significantly, said Dr. Brooks. The partnership has brought to campus several BCU executives to lead sessions on banking and personal financing, such as Kevin Burns, vice president of lending at BCU, who in February taught a class on building and maintaining good credit.

The FLAG sessions help students learn teamwork, real-life financial skills, and how to make important personal finance decisions, such as with budgeting and building credit, said Dr. Brooks.

"Financial training helps students become aware of long-term implications of their decisions so they can make the best possible choices now," she said. "The program also seeks to provide students with an understanding of how their work and spending decisions impacts others in their families and communities. The recent recession has made this program more important than ever."

Approximately 30 students have graduated with a certificate from the program each spring semester since its inception in 2010.

Co-teaching the FLAG program each semester are Dr. Brooks and three other BSU professors: [b]Dr. Arnaa Alcon[/b], associate professor and chairperson of social work; [b]Dr. Shannon Donovan[/b], associate professor of accounting and finance and faculty director of the university's Center for Entrepreneurship Studies; and [b]Dr. Jonathan White[/b], associate professor of sociology. (Rob Matheson, '07, G '12, University Advancement)

FLAG students and staff receive the donation from the Bridgewater Credit Union

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