The student organization Calvin Business Forum has kicked off the stock market game for spring semester. The organization hosts the game for interested students each semester.

The student organization Calvin Business Forum has kicked off the stock market game for spring semester. The organization hosts the game for interested students each semester.

Playing the stock market is fun, right?

The student organization Calvin Business Forum has kicked off the stock market game for spring semester. The organization hosts the game for interested students each semester.

“It’s actually fun,” said senior Jon De Young, the finance chair of Calvin Business Forum. “I just go with companies that I like and companies that have products that I use. I have a Honda car, so I invested in Honda. GE is a pretty stable company, so I invested in them.”

Easy to play

The basic premise of the game is simple enough. Players choose to purchase stock in various companies, and the student who makes the most money back from their investment wins. The game is hosted on www.virtualstockexchange.com and can be accessed by players after they receive an entry password from the administrators. Top performers in the virtual stock market will receive gift cards for local businesses at the end of the semester.

This fall edition of the game was affected by the international financial crisis. “All the markets were crazy,” said junior Ashley Luse, the president of Calvin Business Forum: “The winner of the stock market game ended up being the person who lost the least, rather than the person who made the most,” Luse said. “That was interesting. We will see how it is going to be this semester.”

Investing and learning

“We set it up so that every player gets $200,000 in cash,” said De Young, who double majors in business and economics. “We wanted it to be realistic in that way so that students can do whatever they want with the money.”

De Young explained that the game does have some rules, one being that participants have to actively invest their money, rather than just hold on to it. “The goal is that students will learn something about how the stock markets work and maybe do a little research into the companies and figure out why the prices go up and down,” he said.

Real-world lessons

“This is a really good way for students not only to get investment experience, but to encourage attention to be paid to what is going on in the outside world—because it is easy to get caught up in your studies and the theoretical part of business and forget that there is a real-world side to everything that we are learning,” said Luse, who majors in business and math.

The Calvin Business Forum meets every Monday during Chapel break in North Hall. “It is just an opportunity for students to network with each other and get to know each other. Then we bring in speakers from the outside community, and we bring in professors to talk about research they have done,” said Luse. The organization is also planning a trip to visit Herman Miller this year.

Luse said that while the knowledge learned in the classroom aids the players with the game, the lessons taken from the game are also very applicable to life.

“It encourages people to learn the terminology too,” De Young said about the game. “What is ‘shorting a stock,’ or ‘calls,’ or ‘puts?’ People can feel more confident if they talk to a stock broker in the future to set up a retirement fund.”

Luse said she’s learned that the markets are very unpredictable: “It has taught me that the safe route is to just find a solid fund, maybe an index fund.”

For more information or to sign up for the game, e-mail Jon De Young at jdg3@students.calvin.edu.

Jon De Young and Ashley Luse

Jon De Young and Ashley Luse

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