The William Jewell College SIFE (Students In Free Enterprise) team traveled to Minneapolis May 10-12 for the SIFE USA National Exposition, one of the largest collegiate competitions in the country, to demonstrate how they applied the positive power of business throughout the year. The William Jewell SIFE team emerged as the League 16 Champion in opening round competition and advanced to the semi-finals in League 1. Judges awarded Jewell SIFE a third-runner-up trophy, placing them among the top 16 SIFE teams in the United States in 2011.
Representing the WJC-SIFE team as presentation team members were Chris Bradbury, Kansas City, Mo.; Paul Cohoon, Excelsior Springs, Mo.; Megan McConnell, Oklahoma City, Okla.; Maddy Onumbu, Omaha, Neb.; Brad Robertson, Leavenworth, Kan.; Regan Sirbaugh, Stillwater, Okla.; Heather Walton, Siloam Springs, Ark.; and Rachel Tuszynski, Germantown, Wis. Their creative review of projects on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, North Star Job Club, Money Farm, Merit Badge College and Green Light were connected by a Dr. Seuss-inspired theme and quote from The Lorax: Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot – nothing is going to get better – It’s not!
“The three-day event featured the same drama, tension and excitement as any college sports final,” said Debbie Scarfino, associate professor of business administration at William Jewell. “But in this competition, teams focused on convincing panels of business leaders that they are the top in the nation at using business tools to improve the quality of life and standard of living for others.” SIFE teams presented 24-minute multi-media summaries of their educational outreach projects to panels of judges drawn from hundreds of the nation’s top business and community leaders. They were judged on SIFE’s Core Criterion: “Considering the relevant economic, social and environmental factors, which SIFE team most effectively empowered people in need by applying business and economic concepts and an entrepreneurial approach to improve their quality of life and standard of living?”
“SIFE allows students to learn real-life business skills, and allows them to work in a team and learn skills that will help them succeed in everything they do in life,” said Jewell’s team president Rachel Tuszynski. “Not only did I learn valuable tools and lessons in business, but I was able to grow as a confident, independent woman. I gained relationships that I will have for the rest of my life and have been able to network with numerous people in different professional areas.”
This year the Jewell team used proceeds from their entrepreneurial venture, a merit badge college for Boy Scouts, to install a wind turbine on the South Dakota reservation in the community of Bridger. They also support a job club open to the community that meets twice monthly on campus to assist those in career transition, and worked with Rebuilding Together Clay County to inspire more green living practices in Clay County homes.
University teams representing thousands of students from around the country participated in the EXPO event. Earlier in the school year, each team competed and won at one of twelve regional competitions (www.sife.org/usacompetitions). The William Jewell College SIFE team was named Regional Champion at the Philadelphia, Penn., SIFE Regional Competition held on March 25.
Students also had the opportunity to interview for jobs and internships with representatives from more than four dozen SIFE partner companies during a Career and Internship Fair, in addition to interacting with executives from top companies throughout the event.
William Jewell faculty members Blane Baker, Linda Bell, Elise Fisher and Scarfino served as advisors for the SIFE Team and have each been named a Sam M. Walton Free Enterprise Fellow in recognition of their leadership and support of the SIFE program at William Jewell. Professor Scarfino has also served on the National Faculty Advisory Board for SIFE USA for the past three years.
This was the sixth trip to Nationals for the William Jewell SIFE team. They have 44 members from all campus majors, and an active Business Advisory Board of community members who share their expertise. For more information, go to www.wjc-sife.org. SIFE is an international nonprofit organization that brings together the leaders of today and tomorrow to create a better, more sustainable world through the positive power of business. Founded in 1975, SIFE has active programs on more than 1,500 college and university campuses in over 39 countries. Through projects that improve the lives of people worldwide, the university students, academic professionals and industry leaders who participate in SIFE are demonstrating that individuals with a knowledge and passion for business can be a powerful force for change.