Published on Brock University (http://www.brocku.ca)
The following article appeared in the St. Catharines Standard on April 20, 2010
Byline: Rahul Gupta, Special to the Standard
A virutal stock market competition organized by Brock University business students is over, and local charities are the big winners.
From March 1 until April 16, competitors took part in the inaugural Investment Challenge for Charity. They vied for the title of best investor and the opportunity to win one of three cash prizes during the seven-week-long contest organized by the Brock Finance and Investment Group. But the real winners, says contest co-organizer Ryan Brunet, are local charities for whom $5,000 will soon be allocated for the funding of sports and recreation programs for disadvantaged children. "The contest went off without a hitch," said Brunet, copresident of the Group and a fourth-year economics student. "We exceeded our own personal goals."
In all, more than 200 contestants registered for the competition, paying $20 each for the chance to build online portfolios based on real-time stock prices. Sixty per cent of the collected money went toward the Group's children's fund, which will be allocated to various charities with the assistance of the Niagara Community Foundation. Liz Palmieri from the foundation said she was impressed with the desire of the students to help. "Many of the participants are going to be future leaders of business," said Palmieri, the foundation's executive director. "This was a wonderul way to get them involved in a socially responsible endeavour."
Brock business professor Sharon Broderick said she encouraged her marketing students to get involved in the competition because she liked the idea that students could further their investment knowledge without incurring actual financial loss. "It's the real world, without the risk," Broderick said. "It helped give students a sense of what it's like to lose a lot of money." Broderick said she gave special consideration to grades of the students who joined the contest. "It was one opportunity for students to boost their grades," she said. "They didn't receive bonus marks but I thought it was a good opportunity that they should take advantage of." Broderick said 15 of her students took part in the challenge.
Brunet said he was amazed at the enthusiasm for the contest, particularly from non-business students. "Random people would come up to me and start talking about the contest," he said. He said the investment challenge was a way to create much-needed school spirit at Brock. "We were able to capture that community spirit which our school isn't really known for," he said. "It's something we want to continue to improve."
Brunet said plans for a second investment challenge are underway, to take place at the same time next year. Palmieri said she expected the money from the challenge to be distributed by the end of May.