While several college students use summer vacation to get away from any school-related topics, that isn’t the case with some Heritage University students.
Some of them — two, to be precise — along with accounting and business administration chairman Len Black went to Olympia on Wednesday to talk financial literacy with Gov. Jay Inslee. The three were some of the invited guests who spoke on issues like financial literacy and water availability. An archival recording of the meeting was available Thursday.
Black, along with students Michelle Alegria and Sagrario Leon, represented the school’s Enactus program, which recently took third place nationally among 225 colleges and universities. Enactus is an organization committed to entrepreneurship that aspires to “transform lives and shape a better, more sustainable world” through volunteer work.
Inslee, who visited the Toppenish campus not too long ago, had nothing but praise for the private university.
“It’s really gratifying to see this miracle happening at Heritage. I was in the valley when the institution started because of Dr. Ross’ incredible vision,” he said, referring to founding president Kathleen Ross. “To see you here leading all these other (colleges and universities) is really exciting.”
The programs and initiatives started by Heritage’s Enactus students were highlighted during Wednesday’s meeting as examples of how they promote financial literacy in the Valley. They discussed programs like the Moonjar initiative, where elementary school students learn the importance of saving money, and the ADENTRO program, which allows low-income entrepreneurs a chance to get start-up money to begin their own businesses.
“Financial literacy is an area of significant concern to our community,” said Black, noting how Yakima County is one of the poorest counties in the country and topics like how to handle personal finances are often ignored.
“In your adult life, you’re going to face money troubles,” said Leon. “Financially, you’re going take out a car loan, a house loan, whatever it is. If you’re not well equipped then you won’t be able to do those things. Not only does it affect them personally, it affects our economy, our community — as a state, as a nation.”