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Students at SUNY Purchase Find Creative Ways to Give Back

This piece appeared jointly on Her Campus and Huffington Post College as part of a partnership with the Huffington Post to explore how college students are giving back on campus in response to the recession.

Purchase College has always been full of fashionistas strutting their stuff on campus, but soon recessionistas will start to take the reins. Undergraduates of all ages have felt the crunch of budget cuts and tuition hikes, both effects of the recession. With less money in their pockets, students have started to take matters into their own hands and really, as the Purchase motto instructs, “think wide open.”
From the technical to the aesthetic, Purchase students are using their skills to help out fellow students during these tough economic times.  

A few freshmen have put signs on their dorm-room doors advertising free services. One makeshift banner offers free massages, and another door touts cut-out letters that spell out an offer of free tech services.

Suitemates Joshua Fishbein and Justin Roethel started the trend for tech support. They originally saw it as a way for the members of their floor, all of whom are freshmen, to bond.  

“It’s one of the things that help, like an ice breaker type thing,” said Fishbein, “Most of us in the suite are really technically inclined, so it was a great way to start meeting people because there are a lot of [internet] problems all around…we knew people would need help. It’s really a friendly and generous type thing.”  

The Purchase online communities have been abuzz with students promoting both cheap services and sale of used items, like video games, DVDs, equipment for classes, furniture and textbooks.

Senior and music major Jamie Lee is an amateur manicurist and hair stylist who has been advertising on a University livejournal. Because of the recession, it was hard for her to find work during the summer – she recalls sending out a whopping fifty-five resumes, with only one response. Finally, her mother found her a job at a local nail salon through a family friend.

When school started, Lee decided to continue her work — she’s used the site to post adverts for cheap manicures and haircuts.    

“It’s fun and it’s nice to do something on campus,” said Jamie Lee, “There’s been a lot of responses about the haircuts.”  

Like all savvy recessionistas, Jamie and others are happy to barter for what they need.  In her ad Lee writes, “All prices can be replaced with an appropriate amount of cigarettes or a meal at the hub [dining hall].”

Gabriele is a sophomore journalism major. She attends SUNY Purchase College after transferring from SUNY Albany.
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