Good behavior pays off — in BRUIN Bucks

Jerice Banola, Staff Writer

Nobody can resist a good deal — especially when it’s free. Putting this principle to the test, the “BRUIN Bucks” system has been implemented on campus to encourage positive behavior by rewarding students with a “BRUIN Buck (BB),” which can be cashed at the student store.

Typically seen in elementary schools, incentive programs give students a motive to pick up the trash, help others and perform many other positive acts around campus. According to YMCA director Autumn Wright, the reward of “Talon Tickets” at Podesta Ranch Elementary School has improved student behavior in the hallways and has helped to reinforce the four core virtues of the school.

“[BRUIN Bucks are] helping to create an environment where students want to do good,” junior Spencer Fulgham said. “[Students] were pretty excited to do good things in order to earn the bucks.”

Some teachers have already incorporated the system into their daily classes by offering BRUIN Bucks during class discussions to encourage participation.

“My English teacher offered us a BRUIN Buck for participation once,” junior Thuy Bo said. “It’s pretty effective from what I saw.”

While BRUIN Bucks may appear to work at lower grade levels, some students argue that incorporating this same incentive program at the high school level can be demeaning as it treats students like kids rather than adults.

“The same practice is used in elementary schools to teach young children what is morally right and wrong,” senior Jason Mai said. “High schoolers don’t need to be taught what they should and shouldn’t do. It is a question of whether or not they choose to [do what’s right] in their everyday life.”

Other students are concerned with peers taking advantage of BRUIN Bucks by creating duplicates of the note rather than earning the currency.
“A danger with BRUIN Bucks is students making copies of them and spending them at the student store, which defeats their purpose,” junior Kelly Huynh said.

Despite those concerns, the BRUIN Buck system is viewed positively by most students, with some noting suggestions for improvement.

“If we could use the BRUIN Buck for things like a homework pass or an extra credit opportunity that would be great,” junior Lisa Akai said. “But just adding more redeemable items would be cool, too.”

For now, BRUIN Bucks can be redeemed for a pen (1 BB), tumbler (2 BB), lanyard (3 BB) or shirt (3 BB).