The Reinhardt College SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise) team won two awards at the regional competition in Atlanta, Georgia on April 6, 2010: Rookie of the Year and 1st Runner Up for their league. The students who presented were (from left) Nicki Varsel, a senior from Atlanta, Ga.; Anna Edenfield, a senior from Powder Springs, Ga.; Alexa Huston, a junior from Talking Rock, Ga.; Jessica Reagin, a junior from Dallas, Ga.; and Heather Hundelt, a junior from Woodstock, Ga. This is a note-worthy success as this is the first year that the SIFE team has presented at a regional competition.
Teamwork Was the Key to Success
"I think the main factor that played into our success was teamwork," said Reagin. "We didn't know what to expect coming into the competition, and we were all very nervous. The only thing we could do was lean on each other for support and just do our absolute best!
"I think the performance says a lot about the quality of our team. This is Reinhardt's first year and to do so well gives me really high hopes for a more experienced team next year!"
Dr. Donald Wilson, interim dean of the McCamish School of Business, added to Reagin's sentiments, "The SIFE team's recent performance at the Regional Competitions was a direct result of the individual team member's commitment to excellence and a willingness to involve themselves in worthwhile projects with a passion for service to others. Plus, the student's ability to transfer learning from the classroom to real-world projects and lots of practice in communicating the results of the organization's efforts, contributed to the team's successful performance in placing at their first competition."
The Regional SIFE competition consisted of 56 different schools broken down into nine leagues of competition. Reinhardt College competed against the University of West Georgia, Alcorn State University, Alabama State University, Tennessee State University and Gainesville State University. Each team presented about the outreach programs that they did throughout the year. The Reinhardt team presented on three of the largest projects they completed. The first was a financial literacy program at Porter Academy, which is a school for children with special needs, in Roswell, Ga. They taught the children about the use of gift cards and coupons, how checks work and how to save money, and they set up a mock school store for the children to practice what they learned. Next, they talked about a canned food drive they held that collected 249 cans and $36 for CARES food bank in Pickens County. And the largest project the team coordinated this year was the annual iLead Leadership Conference at Reinhardt - a day-long event that hosted more than 100 college and high school students to participate in activities on various leadership topics/skills.
The competition was judged by 15 business professionals from companies such as Home Depot, Coca Cola, AFLAC; therefore, it gave students a chance to practice their oral presentation skills in a real-life setting. Two of Reinhardt's team members, who are graduating seniors this year, also spent time at the competition talking with potential employers about positions as a result of their involvement with SIFE this past year.
"I believe being in SIFE gives graduating seniors more opportunities to get a job because the companies at the career fair already know that you have potential," said Edenfield. "I met with many companies at the career fair part of the competition, and I received multiple call backs. Right now I am going on my third interview with a company I met there!"
Looking to the Future
The team and advisors are already looking forward to what next year's competition will bring. "Placing first in the competition will hopefully further inspire our team to work even harder next year on their competition presentation and hopefully take Reinhardt to the Nationals," said Tina Boosel, instructor of business and team advisor. "We are very proud of their hard work and accomplishments!"