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SIFE Shapes Students' Service

When Dr. Mark Roselli, assistant professor or economics and business, started the Berea Chapter of Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) just three years ago, his intention was to provide Berea students the opportunity to “go the extra mile” with their service initiatives by learning how to manage their own service projects and compete in national and international competitions. SIFE is an international organization that works exclusively through college campuses to perform service projects. Dr. Roselli developed the Berea chapter to teach students how to educate others about economic opportunities, to develop professional leadership skills and other skills that people need to become financially independent.

The Students of SIFE Win Regional Competition and Secure Bid to Nationals

SIFE, which replaced another campus organization intended only for business majors, is open to any student who wants to participate. Here, students learn how to develop project leadership skills. The students also take on the responsibility of learning to direct other people's work and the opportunity to gain real-world hands-on experience of managing a project. Each year, SIFE participants form teams of students who volunteer to lead or aid in individual service projects that students create in order to help other residents and local business partners in the community. At Berea, approximately ten percent of students are involved with SIFE or SIFE projects.

According to Dr. Roselli, each year students are allowed to participate in a regional conference. At this year’s conference in Cincinnati on March 24, students gave presentations about the service work they had been doing as well as the results of these projects to a panel of judges made up of executives from other companies and organizations. The schools are judged on multiple projects that must encompass six categories in order to demonstrate their ability to create economic opportunity through the services they provided. By showing knowledge of market economics, teaching success skills such as interviewing and resume writing, implementing ethics and environmental sustainability, Berea’s students were able to showcase the extraordinary talents and skills they learned from each other in order to win a regional spot in this year’s National Exposition in Philadelphia. There, students would compete for SIFE’s national title and compete in the “World Cup.” Participants will also attend career fairs.

Dr. Roselli says that another advantage of these conferences is that “the sponsoring companies recruit at these events because they feel that the students who give the extra effort for these kinds of service projects are the kind of people they want for employees. A lot of students get internships and job offers right there on the spot. That's another positive thing for the students who participate regardless of their major when they have access to a lot of company recruiters.” When asked how he, as the sponsor felt about the wonderful work that Berea’s SIFE participants had been doing in order to get ready for the national competition, Roselli seemed very excited about the service that his students were doing.

"This year has been truly amazing. The team has been extremely motivated, they've been very self directed, they've taken control of their projects and of executing the business of the club in addition to their projects. They've completed a tremendous amount of work, had a huge impact on the campus and in the community. So I’m very pleased that they won.”

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