Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

Pay it Forward: StFX student Ben Boudreau offering X-Ring bursary to assist another student 

September 28th, 2021
StFX student Ben Boudreau (centre) is pictured with Ginger Fitt, Manager, StFX Store, (left) and Taylor MacIntyre, Sales and Merchandising Coordinator (X-Ring) at the StFX Store

A fourth year StFX student is paying it forward—using proceeds from his small business to purchase an iconic X-Ring for a classmate who may not have the means to do so. 

Ben Boudreau of Antigonish, NS, who is completing a degree in human kinetics with a minor in sports management, started a small business called StFX Boxes over two years ago. He makes wooden boxes to safeguard, protect and store the X-Ring. 

The Pay it Forward X-Ring Bursary came to fruition this past summer when he realized he had reached his own goal of covering the cost of his X-Ring. He had sold the boxes through the StFX Store and after he had paid for his own ring, he reached out to partner with the X-Ring Store (in the StFX Store) to assist another student and pay it forward.

“So given that this is my senior year, I thought it seemed very appropriate that I would continue to provide the wooden StFX boxes for my classmates, and in turn, I would use the profit to contribute to the purchase of an X-Ring for a deserving classmate from the Class of ‘22 who otherwise may not be able to purchase one on their own,” he says. 

“The X-Ring is iconic as we all know, but it costs a lot, and I thought by creating a Pay it Forward bursary, I could help someone else feel that sense of Xaverian Spirit. The Pay it Forward X-Ring bursary will be done through StFX Financial Aid, and when the recipient is selected, I hope they will wear the X-Ring proudly and perhaps someday in the future if life and circumstances permit, maybe they will be able to pay it forward as well.”

Mr. Boudreau says the idea for the business originated after his first year at StFX when he started thinking about the X-Ring, something all his family members have. 

“My father graduated in ’92 and inherited his X-Ring from his late father ’66, so both years are engraved in it. My mother ’91 and ’97 never bought an X-Ring at the time, but instead she received her iconic ring as a gift from very special French immersion students many years later. My sister ’20 won hers at a grad event. So, in the living room at home, I brainstormed many ideas with my family about how to create my own ‘X-Ring story’ and it landed on creating wooden ring boxes that would benefit others, but also pay for my X-Ring in four years.”

A few weeks after this initial conversation, Mr. Boudreau says he and his dad drew up and made several prototypes. 

After much trial and error in summer 2019, they approached the StFX Store at the start of his second year to see about selling the boxes there. 

“Once we had enough wooden boxes made, I remember walking into the StFX Store all nervously like it was yesterday and asking for the manager. I pitched my idea, we worked out an arrangement, and they accepted my request to sell these wooden StFX boxes at the store! I check with the staff regularly to see if they’re running low on product and I’ve recently added an interior base in blue velvet or Nova Scotia tartan, which people seem to like.”

Carla Gillis, Manager, Ancillary Services, says the X-Ring Store is “proud to partner with Ben on his generous and thoughtful initiative to “Pay it Forward.” When Ben approached us to work with him to pay for a classmate’s X-Ring, we did not hesitate to jump on board with his idea.”

Mr. Boudreau says it was important to him to give back through this venture. 

“I have grown up in this town, and StFX University has been in full view since my childhood through sports and X-Chemistry camps, MayFest and so on. I have always felt connected to the StFX community. Now that I am a student, I feel like my life has been enriched by the people I’ve met here, by the amazing professors, by the opportunities StFX provides, even during a pandemic, so I wanted to do this to essentially ‘pass it on,’ which means I’m playing a part in building a sense of Xaverian community which involves considering others’ needs, and that’s what is important to me.

“I want others to see the good in our community the same way that I do.”  

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