Weekly Spotlight: Omicron Delta Epsilon/Economics Club

The club that “explores the hidden side of everything” through the eyes of economics.


Left to right: Treasurer Erik Rodriguez, Vice President Jonathan Chavez, President Jeehoon Paik, Public Relations Kelcie Lewis. Photo courtesy of Omicron Delta Epsilon’s Owl Central page.

Brittany Ferrendi, Features Editor

Welcome to the Weekly Spotlight, where you can learn about on-campus organizations in one easy place.

This week we spoke to Jeehoon Paik, president of Omicron Delta Epsilon/Economics Club at FAU. He is a graduate assistant for the Department of Economics and a teaching assistant for the club advisor, economics professor Eric Levy.

The group is a hybrid between the internationally known economics honor society, Omicron Delta Epsilon, and FAU’s individualized economics organization, Economics Club.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

UP: What can you tell us about Economics Club?

JP: In a nutshell, a lot of people often get confused between ODE and economics club but … it’s a hybrid. It’s a chapter honor society for economic students. It’s an international organization. The FAU chapter started in [1968], so we have a long history.

And the other one is simply economics club. I like the quote from Freakonomics, “Explore the hidden side of everything.” It really gives a good perspective on pretty much everything in the world in the eyes of economists.

UP: What’s the atmosphere at Economics Club like?

JP: Right now we are a registered student organization on campus, and we have about 40 active members. We communicate through Facebook and Owl Central.

We are a group of students mainly from the College of Business. However, what’s different from previous years with me as a president who started last year, is I wanted to have more exposure to students from different majors. Whether it’s liberal arts, or art degrees, or science and engineering (sic), economics is such a fundamental study that we need to equip ourselves [with] as human beings.

I can always get super interesting perspectives from different major students. For instance, we had one engineering student come in last semester. He was talking about what’s interesting in what he studies, and then we were able to somewhat make a connection in economic ideas.

UP: Does that mean that there are two separate clubs — ODE and Economics Club?

JP: I guess we don’t focus too much about the ODE honors chapter because the last thing we want to do is create an “exclusive” environment where people don’t feel included. Ultimately, the goal of our organization is to increase membership so that we can create our own network.

My supervisor, professor Eric Levy, (sic) wants to increase enrollment so that we can create our own career fair for economics students specifically.

My observation that I got from FAU is that a lot of students don’t feel as outstanding as other business majors such as marketing, accounting and financing when it comes to entering the job market.

UP: Is there anything new to look forward to from Economics Club?

One thing I want to embrace a lot for this year is we have a new partner chair, [Steven B.] Caudill. He’s super passionate about reaching out to students and listening to their voice. So, Dr. Caudill came to our of our events to tell people that he’s available. The challenge that I have as president trying to increase involvement, that I’m sure other people have, is FAU being closer to a commuter campus so it’s harder to increase student involvement and club activities and whatnot. In [Caudill’s] eyes (sic), he’s doing customer service for students who pay tuition to get an education.

Benefits of attending economics club is that you can have direct contact and interaction with the department chair, who has leverage on classes and how many students per class it should be, or what kind of courses should be offered, how office hours with professors should be conducted, what is the appropriate level of access to having your voice heard in the curriculum throughout [the] semester and whatnot.

UP: Does your club have membership fees?

JP: We don’t. We get funding from Student Life and Student Government here. That is often used for … food, pizza, because as economists, we know the basic principle of economics is that people are rational and they respond to incentives. If there’s food, they are going to come. Believe it or not, enrollment actually increased because of that.

UP: What kind of club activities do you host?

JP: I would say it revolves around our regular events. Each event deals with many many different issues. In regular basis, we have pizza, but we talk about current issues. They’re bi-weekly, the time and location varies. It’s in the business building to increase enrollment of business students. The meetings are usually on Tuesday or Wednesday, alternatively.

Also, in talking about what else we do as a club, we have a very close relationship with the Career Development Center. Last semester we had the Professional Development [Workshop] Series, including resume workshop, cover letter workshop, as well as LinkedIn [workshop]. And it’s been great because students not only come to events and learn more about economics, but they actually get to take advantage of the fact that [they] have the opportunity to talk to someone from the career center directly. Which is awesome, because especially freshmen and sophomores, they don’t realize how resourceful the school can be in terms of your academic career or professional career.

UP: You’re a graduate student. What would you say the ratio is from grad students to undergrad?

JP: I would say almost 4:6 — graduate students being four, undergraduates six. Grad students tend to be more consistent and enthusiastic about attending and being involved only because they have been more exposed to their study of economics and also among the grad students, half of them are trying to pursue a career in academia economics or (sic) data forecasting, which is a really popular occupation from being proficient at econometrics.

UP: What is something about your club that the average student wouldn’t guess?

JP: You just make wiser decisions in your life. Because like I said, when you study economics, you’re challenged to study how to make better decisions in life with such limited amounts of resources, especially time and money. I know it sounds so lame, but it’s such a powerful tool to have, being able to think rationally as well as focusing on what is your happiness.

UP: Are there any economics competitions that your club participates in?

JP: Currently I would say no, but that’s on my future agenda for the club. I would say data forecasting competitions and building better models … To answer your question, yes, there are data forecasting competitions, but for people that are interested in academia economics there are a lot of conferences in South Florida.

UP: What would you want a prospective student to know about Economics Club?

JP: It’s like, I love my cat, but I can’t tell people how I love my cat, you know what I mean? I would say, if I can give one sentence to those who want to join Economics Club or who don’t know [anything] about Economics Club, it’s this: If you live your life full of regrets with your decisions in the past, join the Economics Club and learn about how to make wiser choices with more knowledge to maximize the resources you have.

Brittany Ferrendi is the features editor of the University Press. If you would like to contact her regarding this or other stories, she can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter.