Investment Club to upstart at Lawrence University

Officially starting in Fall Term 2024, the Lawrence University Investment Club will pilot on campus. Board member first-year Evan Izenstark said the idea for the club arose from Lawrence’s recent addition of the Business and Entrepreneurship (BUEN) major and the Fall 2024 completion of the Fox Commons’ business center. Along with the introduction of this BUEN-focused space, he said Lawrence will also introduce new business and finance resources to campus in the Fox Commons classrooms, such as FactSet, a leading investment research software. He and board member first-year Carter Cloutier said they saw an opportunity for the club to take advantage of these resources outside of the classroom.  

“We’re at a very exciting time to be at Lawrence where there’s a lot of growth and there’s a lot more interest in finance and business,” Cloutier said. “So, with the addition of the Fox Commons…it seemed like a no-brainer to create a fund where we can connect students with alumni and faculty who will provide resources for them to learn and grow in the field.”  

Izenstark believes there is much room for development in this growing interest area, stating the idea for the club also partially stemmed from hearing of similar organizations at other universities with no Lawrence equivalent.  

“With the addition of our business school…students are going to want extracurricular activities to further their understandings [of the field] just as students in biology want to research in a selected field,” Izenstark said. “It’s similar for us.” 

The board members said they all had the idea separately and came together to propose the club to Dwight and Marjorie Peterson Professor of Innovation and Associate Professor of Economics Adam Galambos. Galambos was enthusiastic about the idea, according to Izenstark, and helped connect the board members to other faculty members to advise the implementation of the club. 

Board member sophomore Jeb Dee said his idea for the club came about because there is no course dedicated to investing currently offered in the BUEN major. As a result, he believes the club’s integration will not only give BUEN students the opportunity to engage with investment practices and apply concepts from classes to real-world situations, but its extracurricular status will attract students from a variety of other majors to learn about investment. Because the club is not only aimed at students in business and financial fields, Cloutier said they hope to attract students with all different experience levels with investing. Board member first-year Patrick Noonan said the club is working on ways to bridge the gap between experience levels in their activities to foster the most inclusive environment they can.  

“It can be intimidating jumping into something like investing where you’re handling real money,” Noonan said. “So, we want to get the message across that it’s open whether you have a ton of knowledge about it or not. That’s the whole point — if you want to join, you’re in.”  

Izenstark hopes the Investment Club will be a place of diversity and equity beyond just experience level. He hopes the club will help break down assumptions about the field and expand the boundaries of who participates in business and financial spaces.  

“The stereotypical [field of] finance is very white, straight and male-driven, and…we’re trying to become an inclusive environment, so we want everyone from every creed, major, everything — it doesn’t really matter,” Izenstark said. “If you’re interested in investing and personal finance, we want to be the bridge and resource towards that.”  

To accomplish their inclusive ends, the board has planned some social events for the future, such as mixers and movie nights to further integrate the club into the greater Lawrence culture.  

Aside from inclusion, Izenstark said the other goal of the Investment Club is to help connect students to alumni who work across business and financial industries. He and the other board members are currently working to facilitate relationships with Lawrentian industry professionals to present networking and educational opportunities to club members.  

In addition to student and faculty enthusiasm through word of mouth, Cloutier said the club’s reception has been positive, citing the 41 students currently signed up on the club’s roster. While they plan to fully integrate in Fall 2024, the Investment Club is hosting an introductory meeting in the first week of May. The board members said Lawrentians are welcome to come and learn about everything the club has to offer.  

“We want people to be excited about our club,” Cloutier said. “We want people to identify with our club and the community that we foster and help grow to create something where people can look back on their time at Lawrence and be proud that they were a part of this club.”