Thursday, April 5, 2012
Westminster College Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) participated in the SIFE Southeastern Regional Competition March 27 in Charlotte, N.C., earning a second-place finish.
For the second consecutive year, the Westminster group fell one place short of qualifying for national competition.
"Teams are randomly assigned to divisions just days before competition," said David Smith, Westminster associate professor of accounting and the group's adviser. "This year, we wound up in the same division as Winthrop University, who was riding a six-year win streak at the regional level. Now they're going for a seventh straight year."
Westminster's team was first to present in its division, giving team members an opportunity to then watch others in the division to see the kinds of projects completed, the results achieved, and how the accomplishments were presented.
"The judges have a very difficult job," Smith said. "Most teams seemed to have good projects that made important impacts, as did our team. How the judges decide on who wins and who does not ends up being very subjective when each team completes very different activities. We created impact in our community and presented our accomplishments well to the judges. They just did not see us as well as we did."
Westminster SIFE President Cody Donaldson directed the presentation given to a panel of about a dozen judges. Others making presentations were Vice President Andy Giallonardo, Public Relations Chair Caitlin Oertly, and members Morgan Gerlach, Joshua Masters, Jenna Meighen, Jeff Miller, and Rebecca Tomson. Samuel Becherer ran the audio visual presentation.
Westminster SIFE members who attended in support of the presentation were: Evan Del Bene, Harry Bittle, Ryan Brucker (treasurer), Alexandra Cochran, Declan Cole, Stephen Crowe, James DeBone, Jessica Dugan, Sarah Ebbert, Kyle Gregorich, Keri Hamilton, Daniel Matt (historian), Jeff McKim, Melinda Miller, Rebecca Mobley, Alyssa Natale, Corey Pelkofer, Adam Robb, and Kaitlin Roth. Also in attendance was recent alumnus Stephen Mildner.
Several other members contributed to the year's activities but were unable to attend, as the team has grown to 42 students from several majors.
"SIFE teams take what students have learned in the classroom and in other areas of life, and use this knowledge to create and implement educational outreach projects in their community," Smith said. "The goal of the projects is to promote financial, economic, and ethical well-being in the community. Projects capitalize on our members' knowledge and experiences to address issues involving market economics, entrepreneurship, business ethics, environmental sustainability, and the financial skills needed to survive in today's financially demanding world."
The competition format involved team presentations highlighting each team's annual accomplishments. The Westminster group's community service activities included:
• The Fresh Start credit card presentation to incoming first-year students
• Cash Cart, as part of Student Government Association Day
• Running a three-month online stock market simulation for high school students
• Training technical school students in job interview techniques
• Operating a business consulting firm that worked with the Lawrence County Builders association to re-energize the group's Home and Lifestyle Show and with the Tavern on the Square to increase business volume
• The Campus Shock competition among campus residence halls to reduce energy consumption, which will continue through the end of the semester
In addition to the competition, a career fair provided students with an opportunity to talk with recruiters from a variety of businesses and industries. According to Smith, several team members in the past have had correspondence or interviews with companies represented at the fair. Two students recently acquired jobs through these contacts, and this year two others had to decline interviews because they already have jobs lined up after graduation.
The remainder of the current year's activities will involve completion of projects, transitioning responsibility to the new officers who will be elected later this month, and planning for next year's projects.
Contact Smith at (724) 946-7161 or email for additional information.