Photo credit: Sabrina Drescher ’20
Visit Humanities 105 on any given Sunday, and you’re likely to find a group of women sitting around a boardroom table analyzing market trends and pitching investments to add to their nearly half-a-million-dollar stock portfolio.
These women aren’t stock brokers or bankers: they’re members of the Scripps Student Investment Fund (SIF), a nearly 50-year-old club started in 1972 with a $50,000 donation by former trustee Mary Wig ’35. Since then, the SIF, which includes students from every major and discipline, has grown that seed money into a $350,000 portfolio through closely monitored, long-term investments.
Every two weeks, individual SIF members pitch investments to the group, who then vote on whether or not to purchase the stock. “The best way to become a good investor is by actually practicing it, so our members research companies and then make a pitch for why it’s a good investment,” says SIF co-president Callie Walsh ’19, who also notes that the club isn’t just about buying stock, but also learning the fundamentals of finance and investment:
“Members teach each other lessons every other week based on the group’s interests and each member’s expertise. We focus on what ratios to looks for, how to purchase stock, and other baseline competencies. Plus, each member is in charge of tracking a specific holding for the year,” explains the economics major.
The fund is currently tech heavy, a sector that has shown significant and sustained growth. “But we are trying to look into different industries, like retail, biopharma, healthcare, and financial institutions,” said Walsh.
“And we’re interested in clean energy,” adds co-president Megan Rai Grewal ’19. “We are a Scripps organization, so social and environmental responsibility factors heavily into our decision making.”
These values were on full display during a few key decisions made in the past few years. Although the fund had been aggressively pursuing pharmaceuticals, they backed off of a company when they discovered its potential implication in the opioid crisis. They also recently pulled out of oil in favor of pursuing more green technologies.
“We got Tesla, Inc., two years ago, and are closely watching Elon Musk’s behavior—it has been very interesting. We are also watching tariffs and how they affect the markets. So, we look at markets and current events how they affect our holdings,” said Grewal, who is a pre-med physics major.
The SIF presents their progress to the Scripps College Board of Trustees once per semester and runs potential purchases by them. The club also gifts two to four percent of its annual gains to 5Cs organizations—an amount that roughly totaled $6,000 last year.
“By pitching and presenting, the fund has been an incredible arena for professional development opportunities,” says Walsh, who has an account manager position with Facebook lined up after graduation. “To speak every week in a professional setting with a women’s group is incredibly empowering.”
“I tell anyone who will listen—I came into Scripps thinking I would be premed or major in environmental science; I could never foresee doing this fund. But it has been lifechanging,” adds Grewal, who plans to pursue both an MD and MBA. “SIF has given me the mindset to understand business without abandoning ethical engagement.”