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A new collaboration between Okanagan College and Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) will help OC students tap into free financial literacy support and services from RBC advisors.
On Monday, RBC officially opened the new “RBC On Campus” financial literacy hub outside the Library on the second-floor mezzanine level of the Centre for Learning at the Kelowna campus.
The space will be open from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday to Friday. Students will be able to drop in, free of charge, to speak with RBC advisors who can help students on a host of topics, from balancing budgets to planning for their future, reducing debt and building savings after graduation. The space will also include extra seating and stations for students to charge their electronics.
And while the kiosk is physically located at the Kelowna campus, digital resources and pop up events by RBC advisors local to each community will ensure that students on the College’s other campuses will also have access to similar support.
The partnership was developed in concert with the Okanagan College Students’ Union (OCSU).
“The OCSU is excited to be working with RBC to help increase financial literacy for post-secondary students. Financial literacy has been a big challenge facing many of our members and we hope to team up with RBC On Campus to help host workshops and events in an effort to reduce stress and create a stronger support system for students.
Students will be able to benefit by having a third-party non-partisan financial educator and this will be available to students at all four campuses throughout the year. We have already heard from a few students who are looking forward to meeting with RBC as soon as they are set up. It's been great working with OC to help make this project a reality,” says Brianne Berchowitz, Executive Director for Okanagan College Students' Union.
Marissa Jonn, a Client Advisor for RBC, is one of the people who will be providing advice to students each week. She has experienced first-hand both the challenges of balancing a budget as a student, and can also speak to the support that OC students receive during their time on campus. Only a year ago, she was walking the same hallways as an Okanagan College business student.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Business Administration in June 2019, Jonn stepped directly into her role with RBC On Campus thanks to connections she made during her program.
“I always appreciated the knowledge and support OC provides to students. I got my current position thanks to a co-op I completed with RBC as a student, which was an amazing experience and opened up doors for me. Coming back and being able to support students in this way means a lot to me. There’s a lot of value we provide to OC students and staff.”
The partnership serves to augment existing financial services the College provides to students through its Financial Aid and Awards office and other areas.
As part of the partnership, RBC will also be supporting Okanagan College events, and will also be offering their own wellness-focused pop up events, such as bringing in registered massage therapists to help de-stress students during exam periods.
“We’re excited to welcome RBC On Campus to Okanagan College to support and enhance the services we have in place for students when it comes to their finances,” says Phil Ashman, Regional Dean for the Central Okanagan. “I think we can all appreciate that students have to juggle a lot between their studies, work and life outside the College, so having another resource they can access on campus to support them and help them gain confidence in their finances is a great benefit.
“We were also very encouraged by the feedback from other institutions who have had RBC On Campus, particularly in the way in which they have gone above and beyond not just to support students on the financial side of things, but also the way in which they’re dedicated to supporting wellness and other initiatives for students on campus.”
RBC has launched 16 other RBC On Campus branches at post-secondary institutions across Canada. Okanagan College is the fifth school in B.C. to host one.
RBC and the College will be working to install an enhanced RBC On Campus student service location in the Centre for Learning later this summer, to replace the current temporary location.