USC Marshall School of Business student Chirag Sagar was honored at the White House on March 15 for his work on a pressing national issue – how to combat financial illiteracy by empowering high school juniors and seniors with the knowledge to understand personal finance.
Sagar is part of a national student movement called MoneyThink, an organization established at the University of Chicago that aims to mentor urban high school students in financial life skills and entrepreneurship.
MoneyThink was selected fifth in the nation in the Champions of Change challenge sponsored by the White House. The goal of the challenge was to recognize campus organizations committed to social change and engagement.
Sagar was one of four MoneyThink members to visit Washington, D.C., where the top five Champions of Change winners were lauded for their efforts by President Obama. More than 1,400 campus organizations applied for the challenge.
For Sagar, founder of the USC MoneyThink chapter that includes 27 students and is advised by USC Leventhal School of Accounting professor Chrislynn Freed, the experience with the organization has been transformative.
“We believe that we can help out with the cause of helping students manage their money,” Sagar said. “We believe that it doesn’t matter what you study or where you’re from, you need to take control of your money and understand basic financial concepts.
“Everything that l have learned at USC Marshall, I have applied to MoneyThink,” he added. “As I took marketing or entrepreneurship classes, I used those concepts to advance the work at MoneyThink.”
After graduation in May, Sagar plans to move to Chicago to continue his work on the national level as director of chapter development for MoneyThink.
“Our goal is to get chapters off the ground as quickly and efficiently as possible and find new ways to get into more urban high schools,” Sagar said. “Our goal to create core financial competency for high school students.”