Exploring the benefits of buying from the new player in the X-Ring game
I would like to begin by saying that prior to this June, I was pro-Cameron’s Jewelry all the way. They are tradition, they are StFX and students always buy from Cameron’s because doing so supports a small, local business. These are all excellent reasons that I would never argue against. Furthermore, when trying to decide where to buy my X-ring, I figured that I have already spent enough money at StFX and even though the X-Ring Store donates all net proceeds to the Xaverian Fund, I really had no idea what that meant. To me, the Xaverian fund kind of sounded like a big huge pile of useless money.
It wasn’t until sitting in on a few meetings in June, as a student representative of the StFX Board of Governors , that I learned how much it costs to run a small university and just how expensive scholarships are. It was also then that I learned that the Xaverian Fund is actually a pool of investments within the StFX endowment, whose income directly funds student scholarships and bursaries. The fund is responsibly invested in a diverse portfolio and the larger the fund, the faster it will grow. As the fund grows, so too does the pool of funds available for student scholarships and bursaries. This is by far the most sustainable way for the university to increase student aid.
Now, there are three important reasons why financial aid for students is a good thing. One is very obvious, one is a little bit obvious and one is much less obvious. I’ll start easy: First, scholarships and bursaries give students money. If a student gets money from a scholarship, that means less debt, less stress, more fun and more happiness. Those are all good things and since you are all smart, I won’t write too much more about why students like scholarships.
Secondly, scholarships increase enrollment and retention at StFX. More financial aid means more students, plain and simple. People choose their universities for a variety of reasons and for many students, cost is a deciding factor. If there are more scholarships and bursaries available, StFX will be more affordable and more competitive, meaning that more students will have the opportunity to come here. We are very fortunate to benefit from our StFX education, so if buying from the X-Ring Store means that someone else might have the same opportunity, then that is a definite advantage.
Lastly, more spending money and increased enrollment means more economic activity in Antigonish. This point is perhaps more abstract and less obvious but it is still absolutely worth noting. Cameron’s is a fantastic Antigonish business and supporting Cameron’s directly supports small business. Nobody can argue that. I would argue, however, that by providing more spending money and bringing in more students, the X-Ring Store actually does more to support the local economy. The impact is indirect but is still there. We all complain about being broke students but still spend a heck of a lot of money at businesses in town. Each haircut, movie, grocery run, gas fill up, pizza stop or trip to the NSLC supports the town. Each meal, each night out, each cab ride, each student creates economic activity in Antigonish. Heck, even without spending extra money, students are providing jobs for custodial staff, full time security, maintenance staff, snow removal staff and even police and bylaw officers (face it, who else is breaking noise rules?) Us kids are pretty good for the town and unless Antigonish runs out of room (it hasn’t), the more the merrier. It may be pretentious or distasteful for someone from away (i.e. me) to trumpet the virtues of his own presence, but the fact remains that us students do a lot to support the local economy. More financial aid means more students with more spending money and that is a great thing for Antigonish business.
I’d like to conclude by stating that the X-Ring is special no matter what. Your choice is totally 100% up to you. Whether you purchase from the X-Ring Store or Cameron’s, you will have a special piece of StFX that will always be with you. There is no right or wrong vendor nor are there better or worse reasons for choosing a vendor. If you have earned the privilege of buying an X-Ring, you have earned the right to choose who to buy it from, and you have earned the right to feel good about your decision, no matter what. There are no bad options. I am writing only to explain my personal reasons for purchasing from the X-Ring Store and would never, ever claim that my convictions are better than someone else’s.