In tough economic times, knowledge about finance and investments is more important than ever. The Captain’s Educational Enrichment Fund (CEE Fund) seeks to educate students of all disciplines and give them real business experience that will help them succeed in the competitive professional world. They are completely student founded and run and intend to keep it that way.
“It’s completely non-profit,” senior Ross Merrick, CEE Fund Chief Operations Officer (COO), said. “A lot of other schools have the same organization, but all of them started from wealthy alumni donating money, saying this money has to be controlled by students, and we started from the ground up and made our own path.”
“It stemmed from a group of us that used to meet in the back of Brickhouse and talk about investing,” senior Arthur Lundsten, CEE Fund CEO, said. “Last spring, it started shifting from an easy going group that hung out to…meeting in the library and bringing in advisors.” Business management lecturer William Donaldson and associate professor of finance Dr. Naizur Rahim are currently the advisors for the organization.
The members of the CEE Fund stress that it is an organization open to anyone, business major or not. They even provide a class for those students who are not in the business school, but want to acquire more knowledge about the field.
“You don’t take a single finance course until you get into the business school,” Lundsten said. “This class would give people financial knowledge who aren’t in the business school. It’s not exclusive. It brings everyone in and allows them to take it on themselves to get that education.”
The class would teach the basics of finance, and academic advisor Dr. Rahim is looking to turn it into a class that would count for credit. It would be a non-business school class, open to all majors, and it would also count as an Area of Inquiry course.
This class is just one of many ideas that the CEE Fund plans to implement in the future. Donors provide the organization with money, which they take and invest, thereby generating funds, which are put towards the education and experience of the group’s members, whether it is allocated for the class mentioned above or real business opportunities for the students involved. Ultimately, CEE Fund is looking to be able to give out scholarships to deserving students from the money they make as an organization.
“We are partnered with the educational fund and have fostered a relationship with ACM and IEEE,” Merrick said. Through those relationships, the CEE Fund has been able to grow over the past year.
“ACM and IEEE are two of the biggest organizations for computer science,” senior Taylor McClenny, former CEE Fund COO, said. “They have two chapters here and we partnered with them to build the website. It took last semester to build the website and build the structure and you will see a whole lot more coming out of it.”
The university and the Luter School of Business recognize the group’s potential.
“We’ve been given the opportunity to help shape the trading room in the new business building,” Merrick said.
“We have a unique time intersection right now with Luter being built and it growing as we’re growing—it’s being put together day by day. We actually get to have input on how that building will shape the future,” McClenny said.
The group advertises four divisions of business that students may get involved with: development, finance, investment, and operations. They state, “All full-time student members with a 2.5 GPA or higher will have the opportunity to run for office positions and other elevated non-officer positions.” They are trying to give students leadership positions and experience that they might not get otherwise and that will help them in the professional world.
“Business experience can be more beneficial than an internship,” Merrick said. As a member of the CEE Fund “you have the ability to make decisions and see how those decisions affect a 501C3 nonprofit. It’s a huge learning tool and confidence builder and companies recruiting love to see that type of thing.”
McClenny added, “As we continue to grow there will be more specific fits for the different fields.”
The organization is still considered new, but membership is growing and the group hopes it will continue to do so. They were an official organization at club fair in the fall, and also held several interest meetings last semester. CEE Fund has an open recruitment policy.
“Anyone can approach saying they want to join,” Lundsten said. “We interview them to get a feel for what the person wants to do so we can place them in the right group. We want to place someone in the best possible spot so they can succeed. If you have the drive and the dedication, we’ll give you something to do.”
Merrick agreed, saying, “I learned so much from these people and this organization outside of the business world. You’re surrounded by a bunch of people who have a common passion to exceed and excel no matter what that area is. Anybody can have a tremendous impact as long as they’re passionate.”
The success of being a part of the organization is apparent with Merrick and McClenny. Merrick is currently the COO of Marine Towing and Salvage, while McClenny is working with a start-up company in Norfolk.
For more information, students can visit http://ceefund.cnu.edu. Meetings are held on Wednesdays at 5:30 in McMurran 114.