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SIFE Team Impresses Competition

Members of Berea College’s Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) team celebrated their recent success during their monthly meeting March 26. The campus chapter was only chartered last October, and in just five months it has put together and implemented 12 service projects and brought home two trophies from the regional competition March 20.

The SIFE team brought home two trophies from the regional

The trophies were for Best Rookie Team and Second Runner-Up Team in their league. According to team president, Kelvin Dillard, a junior business administration student from Hopkinsville, Ky., leagues were made up of experienced and inexperienced teams from schools of all sizes.

Two sponsors, Mark Roselli and Rachel Mullinax, along with seven students, Ilyas Assanov, Dillard, Merim Matkulova, Elena Melnik, Kateryna and Nika Polozkova and Givenson Piard, attended the Cincinnati regional. The BC team competed with 16 colleges and universities. Included were tough competitors Western Kentucky University, Anderson University and Moorhead State University.

In front of a panel of judges, representing various corporations, the BC SIFE team presented a PowerPoint presentation detailing the background of Berea College and the brief, but productive history of the school’s SIFE team. Included was information about 11 projects that meet the following criteria: market economics, success skills, entrepreneurship, financial literacy and business ethics.

In the past five months, the BC SIFE team has reached out to teach the above criteria to children as young as 4 at BC’s Child Development Laboratory, area elementary, middle and high school students as well as their peers on campus.

An annual report, which is a physical representation of the work the group has accomplished, was also submitted to the judges. It included all the information in the PowerPoint presentation and was put together by SIFE’s public relations committee: Jamie Lytton, Ozella Morris and Brock Brewer.

At the competition, students were able to meet with representatives from about 30 corporations who were present to judge or support the SIFE event. Kateryna Polozkova, a junior accounting/finance major from the Ukraine, was glad she brought along her resume to show the corporate reps and has already had some e-mail responses.

Piard, a junior accounting and finance major from Haiti, said the business professionals answered questions from students on how to get the attention of people in charge of hiring. “It was a formal setting, but they were really laid back talking to us.”

Sponsor Alane Poff, who was honored with a plaque by students at the meeting, had plenty of praise for the group. “I think what you all have done in regional competition and the work you’ve done is incredible. You’ve come a long way in a short time to get this organization on its feet (and) managed to do so much for the community.”

Roselli said at least four other advisers from other schools spoke to him at the regional. “They were just in awe that you were able to be there on such short notice. Everyone there was very impressed with what you’ve done. They’re all looking forward to you being there next year, but they’re a little scared (of the competition), I believe.”

Dillard was pumped about the team’s performance as well. “Since we first became a SIFE team, competition has been stressed. Because we were a first year team, we honestly didn’t know what to expect.” The group learned more about the nature of the competition by watching the winning team give its presentation. “It serves as a motivation,” said the president. “We could look at them and say ‘That’s where we want to be next year.’”

While the group has concentrated on helping children and young people in their projects in the past, they plan to branch out in the future to work with business owners and entrepreneurs in Berea and the surrounding Appalachian counties in the role of a consulting group to help set up budgets, business plans and networking. They hope to raise funds to be able to accomplish those goals and more.

More information on Berea's SIFE chapter is available on the group's Web site listed below.

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