The Reinhardt University SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise) team won first place in their league at the regional competition in Atlanta, Ga. on April 4, 2011 and are headed to the national competition in Minneapolis, Minn., May 10 - 12. This is the first time Reinhardt’s SIFE team has made it to nationals; the team placed 1st runner-up last year.
The students who represented Reinhardt at the competition were (from bottom left): Alexa Huston, a senior from Jasper, Ga.; Jessica Reagin, a senior from Dallas, Ga.; Nicole Stark, a senior from Girard, Ohio; and Melissa Blumer, a junior from Ellijay, Ga.; (from top left): Alexander Levy, a freshman from Carteret, NJ; Adam Pool, a junior from Jasper, Ga.; Francisco Ortega-Grippa, a senior from Canton, Ga.; and Nathan Baer, a junior from Hoffman Estates, Ill.
“It feels great to receive an award that we worked for so hard,” said Blumer. “The whole team has spent many hours working for this, and it is an honor to be chosen as a team for nationals.”
Huston added to Blumer’s sentiments. “I am very pleased and proud of our SIFE team for accomplishing such a great honor. It has been a wonderful experience preparing for competition, and the honor makes me feel like it was all worth the hard work.”
The Regional SIFE competition consisted of 73 different schools broken down into 10 leagues of competition. Reinhardt competed against the Quincy University, Lipscomb University, Valdosta State University, Alabama State University and Jefferson State Community College. Each team presented about the outreach programs that they did throughout the year.
The Reinhardt team presented all of the projects they completed this year including: collecting more than 1400 canned foods for CARES in Jasper, Ga.; collecting more than 1200 pairs of shoes for Soles 4 Souls; instituting an on-campus recycling program in the dorms and the Gordy Dining Center; assisting with the Financial Literacy Project with the Nelson Treatment Center in Marietta, Ga.; attending the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) competition in Henry County to speak with high school students about the college experience and what it means to be involved with SIFE; and working with three local businesses on effectively using social networking to promote their businesses.
“We presented the projects and their impact well, so the judges received a thorough idea of what we accomplished throughout the year,” said Huston. “I think all the judges were impressed of the large impact we made with such a small university.”
The competition was judged by 18 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. Four 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.
“SIFE is an amazing organization,” Reagin said. “There is so much work involved with planning and conducting service projects and then developing the presentation and annual report for competition. Not to mention being part of such a small school, a lot of fundraising is involved. I feel like SIFE helps me be more prepared for the real world.
“We had the best SIFE team and competition team I could have asked for this year,” she continued. “Hopefully it shows that just because we are a small school, it doesn't mean we can't achieve big things!”
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