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Eckerd alumna encourages students to seek sustainable financial independence

By Grey Curcio '24
Published March 15, 2023
Categories: Alumni, Community Engagement, Public Events, St. Pete Center

黄色短视频 graduate and green-living consultant Laura Oldanie 鈥92 came to campus in March to offer expert advice on building wealth without sacrificing your values.

She spoke to an audience of students, faculty, staff and community members, sharing pointers on how they can earn, spend and invest their money in ways that support their values and build financial independence. Throughout the presentation, Laura encouraged students to 鈥渢hink about [building wealth] while you鈥檙e young,鈥 especially through ethical and sustainable sources.

The author and philanthropist began her career journey as an international studies student at Eckerd and then moved on to work for the Peace Corps, the U.S. State Department and the Committee for Economic Development. She started her own business, , in June 2018.

Her time at Eckerd impacted her career goals and redirected her mindset toward community. 鈥淚 came in thinking, Okay, I want to be a CEO and I want to work for a big corporation,鈥 Laura recalled for the audience. 鈥淏y the time I got out of here, that was the opposite of what I wanted to do. I was much more service- and community-oriented coming out of Eckerd.鈥

鈥擫aura鈥檚 new book鈥攄etails her tips on lifestyle design and financial independence. She says she hopes her advice can 鈥済ive people tools and resources to navigate [capitalism] … in ways that leave us with our dignity and sanity intact.鈥

Book cover with title "Growing FREE"

In her talk, Laura provided four tips to help students. First, she encouraged her audience to remove their blinders and become aware of the environment they live in, describing the current financial system as a 鈥渉amster wheel鈥 that leaves us stuck in a limited perspective.

Next, she recommended that students 鈥渞edefine rich鈥 and question what makes them feel wealthy. She warned against wealth accumulation and lifestyle inflation鈥攖he constant desire for more that can lead down a path of deep dissatisfaction. 鈥淲hat is your 鈥榚nough鈥?鈥 she asked.

The third piece of advice was to use money to bring about the change you want to see in the world, encouraging her audience to invest in small, socially conscious banks that haven鈥檛 used predatory lending practices and companies that are thinking creatively to solve problems.

Finally, Laura urged students to unleash their imaginations, saying, 鈥淲e need so many more innovative careers 鈥 especially in environmental and social issues.鈥

The alumna says she hopes her talk inspired students to think about their financial futures and consider alternative methods to achieve economic freedom.

This event was sponsored by the 黄色短视频 St. Pete Center for Civic Engagement and Social Impact, which brings together Eckerd students and the St. Petersburg community to collaborate, connect and become involved in civic activities.

David Gliem, Ph.D., the ECSPC director, says that events like Laura鈥檚 are important because they bring together individuals from outside Eckerd that will 鈥渙nly bring a richer experience to our community.鈥

He also hopes this event will encourage students to think about personal autonomy and financial literacy. 鈥淢aybe Laura鈥檚 ideas really got them thinking about how they want to shape their lives going forward,鈥 he says. 鈥淚 didn’t have this kind of conversation or discussion when I was a student.鈥

The St. Pete Center is sponsoring several more events this semester鈥攊苍肠濒耻诲颈苍驳 , the former head of the National Science Foundation, at 7 p.m. Monday, April 10.

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