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Berea's 'free enterprising' students are regional champions – again

March 24: Berea College students excelled at the Students in Free Enterprise competition in Cleveland, OH, becoming regional champions for the second consecutive year.

The 2010 regional champions and faculty advisor Dr. Mark Roselli.

SIFE is an international nonprofit organization that works to mobilize university students to make a difference in their communities while developing the skills to become socially responsible business leaders. Each year SIFE U.S.A. conducts regional competitions to choose the best teams to compete at the national championships.

Berea is among the top 32 teams to qualify for nationals. Projects by Berea students this year included work in both the local community as well as communities around the world.

Like the projects it carried out, the Berea team itself is cosmopolitan, made of students from around the world.

Berea's presentation was led by a team comprised of senior Lorena Luna from Mexico, junior Charles Badger from Tennessee, sophomore Sasha Solomotova from Kyrgyzstan and junior Ahmad Shuja from Afghanistan. They collaborated with the "tech team" -- comprised of seniors Tengis Bat-Erdene from Mongolia and Stephen Dweh-Chenneh from Liberia -- that created the Powerpoint and handled the technological aspect of the presentation.

The annual report, outlining SIFE Berea's projects and achievements, was created by a group that included Javlonbek Turdiev from Uzbekistan, Charli Hanna from Lebaon, Christian Gonzales-Colindres from Honduras, Rebecca Mansell from Ohio and Ana Megrelishvili from the Republic of Georgia.

"I think our success in the regional competition wouldn't have been possible without the hard work of our diverse team, including all project members, project leaders, officers, and our faculty advisor Dr. Mark Roselli," said senior Linh Nguyen, president of SIFE Berea.

About 15 project leaders, seven officers and dozens of members are part of SIFE Berea this year.

"We also received a lot of help from other faculty members and advisory board members," Nguyen said, referring, among others, to former Berea professor Dr. Debbie Brock who coached the team through Skype.

In addition to taking a full academic course load, each Berea student has to work at least 10 hours a week. Despite this, Berea students are able to make a difference in their communities through hard work and strategic planning.

Their achievements resulting form this work have been recognized nationally. In 2009, SIFE Berea became regional champions and advanced to nationals where they won first runner-up in the first round. This was a significant advance from the team’s first appearance where they won second runner-up and rookie of the year in the 2008 regionals.

Competing against established teams from some of the best schools in the nation, the fledgling Berea team does particularly well in completing high-impact projects on small budgets.

Berea students are now preparing for the SIFE National Expo to be held in May in Minneapolis, MN. That means Dr. Roselli and sophomore Joseph Kersey -- both from the logistics team -- will have a busy month planning the trip.

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