The LUC Money Matters Project
Money Matters aims at making money matters visible at Leiden University College (LUC). They aim at raising awareness among staff and students on financial inequality, as well as provide emotional and practical support for students facing related struggles through a variety of student-led projects. We asked members and initiators Carla Barranco & Giovanni Díaz-Infante Posadas three questions about the project.
Why and for whom did it start?
Students from socio-economically and disadvantaged backgrounds at LUC had already been finding ways to meet each other and share resources, but they did not have a dedicated group until Not Rich at LUC was set up. The group was inspired by the student group Not Rich at UM (University of Michigan) and the College Project course taught by Dr. Ann Wilson.
Rana Kuseyri, Hannah Gläser, and Veronica Blažková founded Not Rich at LUC in 2020 to be a source of information and support for students with a working class, low income, first generation or other socio-economically disadvantaged background. In their first year, they compiled a document of financial information and tips tailored towards LUC students and hosted a series of support group sessions during which students could air their concerns.
For their work on Not Rich at LUC as well as other student support initiatives, Rana was nominated as a finalist for the ECHO Award in 2021. The ECHO Award is a prestigious award given to students with a non-western background. You can read more about Rana’s work in this blog post and article.
What does Money Matters want to achieve?
‘Ultimately, Money Matters is a project aimed at shifting the socio-economic mindset of staff and students alike. Across the community, there are several implicitly held biases reflected in the way money is discussed, risking the exclusion of some. Therefore, our goal is to expose these thinking traps and initiate a dialogue that increases people’s awareness and pushes LUC to become a more inclusive space.’
What does the future look like?
‘Money Matters is already part of LUC’s Diversity and Inclusion Student Committee (DISC). We are partnering up with other diversity committees to reach the wider community and collaborate on new ideas that concerns different aspects of people’s life. Adding to this, we want to become an NGO, and thus be able to reach out a wider student community outside of LUC. These issues do not only concern students at LUC, but they concern students from every university.’