Hundreds of New England high school students got a hands-on lesson in global economics last Thursday when the college hosted the International Economic Summit in the Campus Center's large ballroom.
This was the first time the event has been held in the region. (Story continues below.)
See a montage of photos from the event:
As part of the day-long summit, the approximately 240 students from high schools in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont, were separated into a number of groups, each representing a different country. Throughout the day, the groups competed for points by passing written tests, presenting economic proposals and trading goods and services with other groups. Students also earned points for donning costumes representing their "home nations," and creating table displays that best represented these countries.
The students' goal was to serve as economic advisors to their selected countries, while aiming to increase the standard of living, said Scott Guild, director of economic education at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, which co-sponsored the event.
Mr. Guild said the program demystifies for students the workings of global economics and allows them to apply economic decision making toward tangible goals.
"Young people make economic decisions all the time," he said. "However few understand or are exposed to the short-term and long-term implications of their actions. The summit's curriculum and trade simulation provides teachers with a tool to engage students to focus and apply what they have learned in class about economics to a very specific goal and see if they can fulfill it."
Students seemed to enjoy the activities and learned much from the summit.
During the afternoon trading session, Hilary Keithcart from Essex High School in Vermont, who was representing Bolivia, said the hands-on projects helped her learn more about global economics.
"It definitely makes it a lot easier when you have to interact and work with people in a real-life situation," she said.
Rich Donnelly, a teacher at Bedford High School, said the 47 students he brought to the event are looking forward to competing again, while many others are seeking to participate next time around.
"Needless to say, we might need a bigger bus for the next one," he said.
A number of BSC students and an administrator volunteered at the event as scorekeepers, bankers, and greeters.
Chiefly responsible for bringing the summit to BSC was economics Professor Margaret Brooks, who is also president of the Massachusetts Council on Economic Education.
"This was a wonderful day for MCEE, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Bridgewater State College, and the hundreds of high school students and their teachers who came for the IES," she said.
Event sponsors included BSC, FRBB, the Challenger Foundation, the Massachusetts Council on Economic Education and the Idaho Council on Economic Education.
Participating Massachusetts high schools were: Arlington High School; Bedford High School; Framingham High School; Marshfield High School; Millbury High School; Minnechaug Regional High School, Wilbraham; North Cambridge Catholic High School and St. John's Prep, Danvers.
Out-of-state schools were: Essex High School from Essex Junction, Vt., and Canton High School, Canton, Conn.
(Story and photos by Rob Matheson, Institutional Communications; some montage photos submitted; video by the staff of the Moakley TV Studio.)