This story is a part of the Student Life Blog, which is primarily produced by the students behind Georgetown Stories, a series that follows a group of students throughout the academic year at Georgetown as they share their experiences with past, present and future Hoyas.
Explaining to people that a big part of my social life in college revolves around a bank is never easy. It becomes a winding path of “well kindas” and “it’s not a frat but it still has a big social scene.” You see, I am an intern at the Georgetown University Alumni and Student Federal Credit Union, or GUASFCU. GUASFCU is one of two student-run credit unions in the country and is by far the largest. From our CEO to our tellers, every person who works in the credit union — who are all known as interns — is a current Georgetown undergraduate student. But the best part of GUASFCU, in my opinion, is the people who work there and make it a fun, social community.
Picture it: it’s fall of your freshman year and everyone is trying to make friends. One day as you’re walking through Red Square you see a table for this club that has a long name and an acronym you don’t really know how to pronounce. But, looking to join any organization you can, you go up and talk to the people behind the table. They tell you about the Credit Union, which is a little different from a bank because it’s entirely non-profit which means all the profits go back to making a better experience for the members.
And that’s how I ended up working at GUASFCU. Despite being a culture and politics major in the School of Foreign Service, I decided to apply and got accepted!
After joining GUASFCU my freshman fall, I was immediately introduced to over a hundred unique individuals who were eager to get to know me and teach me everything they knew about the Credit Union, Georgetown and various career fields. Within GUASFCU, there is a big culture of mentorship; upperclassmen are always reaching out and offering to assist with interview prep, what classes to (not) take and resources for various projects you may be working on.
Going into our physical branch location is something I always look forward to as I know I will be greeted in the back office by interns there to work or just to hang out. Regardless of what department they are in, GUASFCU interns love to be in the branch throughout the day because it’s a surefire place to see your friends and get to know other interns better. Spending multiple hours a week in our small office strengthens our community because we are able to chat while we do our work for GUASFCU.
We also have many events outside of the branch throughout the year. Departments have fun social events and the club often has little get-togethers on Wednesday nights. Our larger events are my favorite part, though. Some of my favorite events are our Holiday Formal, Transition (when we inaugurate our new board of directors), and Wedding (when two interns get ‘married’).
Going back to the branch, there are six core departments that work within the Credit Union. There’s risk, finance, credit, operations, marketing and member service. As a part of the member service department, I answer phone calls, troubleshoot issues with debit cards, open accounts, explain our services to prospective members and answer a wide range of questions. I love being in member service because it challenges me to quickly solve problems, but is also a very social department. Also, I find working directly with members very rewarding — there’s no better feeling than knowing the solution to someone’s problem.
Ultimately, being in GUASFCU isn’t typical for someone with my interests. I don’t want to work in the financial industry in the future, nor am I studying business in any sense. I dedicate my time to GUASFCU because I love the people and find the work fulfilling.
There seems to be a tendency within competitive environments to only do activities that advance our future careers. While tota
lly understandable, only participating in activities for future benefits forgets the importance of doing things just for fun. We deserve to do things just because we like them. For some, it’s reading adolescent books; for others, it’s playing video games; for me, it’s dedicating my time to an organization just because I like the people and find the work fulfilling.
Ultimately, despite how odd it may be to say that working at the largest student-run credit union is a major part of my social life, I wouldn’t have it any other way. GUASFCU has introduced me to some of my closest friends, which I will forever cherish.