Students face new economic outlook

Mitch Leclair

Mitch Leclair

Back to school and back to class. Usually it’s time to get out the three-hole punch and take care of a bunch of new syllabi.

Except for this semester, when many students at SDSU headed to D2L for digital versions of their biannual rulebooks.

Liz Winter, a sophomore dietetics major, said that a few of her classes “aren’t going to be printing them.” This is part of an effort to save money campus-wide.

Senior nursing student Sarah Wersal hasn’t noticed much difference in her classes, though she said certain elements of her two part-time jobs have changed.

Like many of her peers, Sarah commutes to school. She works at the hospital at Hendricks, Minn., which trimmed the budget recently, though she said, “cost containment is always an issue in healthcare.”

Some students’ families are also feeling the economy’s effects. Weston Byrd, a first year business economics major, said that his dad has been worried about his corn roller-grinder company.

After hitting an all-time high of nearly $8 per bushel last summer, corn commodity prices dipped below $3 before the end of 2008.

Already drawing their diets around dollar HyVee brats, students aren’t helping themselves, said Amber Anderson, president of the SDSU Economics Club.

“Our generation’s largest problem in its understanding of economics is that ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ is our way of life, but we do not understand the negative consequences that our economy undergoes,” she said.

“We spend our money as soon as it hits our accounts and take out additional loans to live more than comfortably while going to school or entering the workforce. We do not save as much as we consume, and our country lacks in that area very much.”

Yet some students have used some foresight and thought about the future. Some have even adjusted their internship plans because of recent events.

Sarah Wersal “can make a lot more money in [her] current job,” and opted to skip a non-mandatory internship.

However, students should “think about the very long run,” said economics professor Matthew A. Diersen.

Many students pay for their education through loans, something Amber Anderson thinks is unwise.

“I realize the loans I have to pay back are much larger than I had imagined at the beginning of my time here at SDSU,” she said.

Students might have trouble obtaining these loans in the future, said Diersen, who serves as adviser to the university’s Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) chapter.

Lately, instead of the usual awkward small talk falling towards topics like the weather, “people tend to bring up the economic crisis,” said Anderson. She has also “noticed people trying to understand economics and how it works” more than ever before.

Economists – such as Ludwig von Mises in “Omnipotent Government” – have warned against boom and bust cycles and the “appearance of prosperity.” Mises also said “such a boom is bound to collapse sooner or later and bring about a depression.”

Anderson’s opinions on the market echo Mises’ sentiments. She said, “I personally believe that we will continue to see business go under and people lose their jobs more and more before we will see the economy recover.”

#1.882016:3965485273.JPG:DSC_0002.JPG:Megan Weber, a first year nursing major from Bridgewater, S.D., gets the checkbook out to purchase a human anatomy textbook. :Ethan Swanson