UA SIFE Team Named First Runner-Up in National Competition
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama Students In Free Enterprise team was named the first runner-up in competition at the SIFE USA National Exposition in Minneapolis, one of the largest collegiate competitions in the country.
The three-day event featured the same drama, tension and excitement as any college sports final, but in this competition teams focused on convincing panels of business leaders that they are the best in the nation at using business tools to improve the quality of life and standard of living for others.
SIFE teams presented 24-minute, multi-media summaries of their educational outreach projects to panels of judges drawn from hundreds of the nation’s top business and community leaders.
They were judged on SIFE’s Core Criterion, “Considering the relevant economic, social and environmental factors, which SIFE team most effectively empowered people in need by applying business and economic concepts and an entrepreneurial approach to improve their quality of life and standard of living?”
UA-SIFE won first runner-up and $1,000 before losing to Drury University who eventually finished second overall nationally of 576 schools.
The UA team’s annual report “Going Glocal: Thinking Globally, Acting Locally” focused on four key projects: The Microfinance Project, which also won the Council for Community Based Partnerships Student Led Service award for 2011; The Green Team, ABC and 6Sides.
UA-SIFE was also the first recipient of the newly endowed “Can’t Never Could” Award. This award, funded by the late Robert W. Plaster, is awarded to the team who did the most to overcome adversity in reaching the national finals
UA-SIFE was chosen over 22 other nominees. The headquarters of SIFE, in Springfield, Mo., is named for Plaster in recognition of his early support for the organization that promotes entrepreneurship among college students.
The event included 163 university teams representing more than 20,000 students from around the country. Earlier in the school year, each team competed and won at one of 12 regional competitions. The Alabama SIFE team was named Regional Champion at the Atlanta SIFE Regional Competition April 4.
In addition to competition, students had the opportunity to interview for jobs and internships during a two-day career and internship fair with representatives from more than four dozen SIFE partner companies and experience an opportunity to interact with executives from top companies throughout the event.
David Ford, clinical lecturer in management and marketing at the Culverhouse College of Commerce, is the adviser for the SIFE Team and was named a Sam M. Walton Free Enterprise Fellow in recognition of his leadership and support of the SIFE program at The University of Alabama.
UA-SIFE has 31 active members. The 2010-2011 president was Rachel Hester.
Representing UA-SIFE as the ‘presentation and support team’ at the National Competition was Maggie Zblewski, a senior accounting major; Cory Ferraez, a senior in entrepreneurship; Taylor Hamilton, a junior majoring in economics; Cole Moten, a junior marketing major; Stefanie Back, SIFE vice president and a senior finance major; Gabriela Medina, a senior majoring in marketing; Ericka Ezell, a senior management major; Tosh Kirchikov, a junior marketing major; and Sameer Ratani, a senior majoring in finance.
SIFE (Students In Free Enterprise) is an international non-profit organization founded in 1975. SIFE has active programs on more than 1,500 college and university campuses in over 39 countries.
The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.