Nine Southeastern University students who represent a service organization’s local chapter — fresh from victory in a regional competition where they showcased their chapter’s successes in the greater Lakeland area — will advance to a national competition next month in Minnesota.
The organization is Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE), a non-profit international entity with about 1,500 university chapters that use business concepts to help their local community. The concepts are: evaluate the situation, determine the need, design and carry out a project to fit the need, measure the project’s scope, and evaluate the results.
Southeastern’s SIFE team advances to the 2011 USA National Exposition to face off against victorious university teams from 11 other regionals that were held throughout the U.S. in recent weeks. The Exposition is set for May 10-12 in Minneapolis; the winner there will go on to international competition in Malaysia in October. At each level, business leaders serve as judges.
About four dozen Southeastern students actively participate in SIFE. Faculty co-advisor Timothy Welch, an associate professor in the College of Business & Legal Studies, describes them as “a group of students who work together on service projects to improve the lives of others. It’s all about empowering people to improve their situation.”
The regional competition that Southeastern’s SIFE team aced was held in Atlanta on April 4th. Aided by a multi-media presentation, they gave a 24-minute oral overview of what Southeastern SIFE students have done this school year to help the community through nine service projects that encompassed a total of 5,000+ hours. Judging was based on the quality of the students’ presentation, and the quality/results of the service projects.
Among those nine projects, Southeastern students said they:
- Befriended and mentored more than two dozen boys and girls who live in a nearby residential program that serves abused, abandoned and troubled children.
- Donated 5,000 pounds of food to a local food pantry.
- Helped a homeless-shelter resident seek a job by helping her create a resume, coaching her on interview skills, and driving her to interviews.
- Worked with economically-struggling small businesses along a major thoroughfare that had been closed, thereby forcing potential customers to a bypass; Southeastern SIFE students helped the businesses set up online marketing such as Facebook, Twitter, and web sites to market their products and services on the information highway.
Professor Welch said Southeastern’s SIFE team raises money to support their activities and travel by participating in sponsored events such as a 5K run, and seeks donations from businesses and individuals. Donations may be sent to Southeastern University, Development Office, 1000 Longfellow Blvd., Lakeland, Fla. 33801; checks should be payable to the university and have “SIFE” specified in the memo field.
Southeastern University has more than 2,800 students. It is a private, liberal arts school accredited to offer 44 programs leading to bachelor’s degrees and nine programs leading to master’s degrees. For more information, call (863) 667-5000, email SEUcentral@seu.edu, or go online to www.seu.edu.