The College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team was named the second runner-up in its league at the national SIFE competition May 11-13 at the Minneapolis Convention Center.
The CSB and SJU SIFE team is now among the top 50 SIFE teams in the U.S. Four hundred SIFE teams competed in Minneapolis. The only other school in Minnesota that placed was from Southwest Minnesota State University. Prior to the national competition, the CSB and SJU team won one of the 2010 SIFE USA Regional Competitions, which took place March 22 in Minneapolis.
SIFE is an international non-profit organization that works with leaders in business and higher education to mobilize university students to make a difference in their communities while developing the skills to become socially responsible business leaders.
The team gave a 24-minute presentation on a variety of projects in the categories of financial literacy, success skills, entrepreneurship, sustainability, market economics and business ethics. Recent projects include a documentary about child-headed households in Uganda and an on-going project about importing fair trade coffee from Guatemala to help rural farmers. The team also connected with local businesses by creating technology seminars about using Facebook.
The presentation team consisted of CSB students Shazreh Ahmed, Aimee Harren, Emily Reznecheck and Sarah Schwalbach, and SJU student Ross Neubauer. The presentation coordinator was CSB student Emily Masters. A total of 15 CSB and SJU SIFE students traveled to the national competition.
"It was truly an amazing year because we started the year with a very small number of students returning from last year," said Paul Marsnik, associate professor of management at CSB and SJU and co-adviser of SIFE. "I attribute a great deal of the success to the outstanding leadership of current president Emily Reznecheck and incoming president Emily Masters . Also, Steve Schwarz played an extremely important role as the co-adviser and was a huge asset to the team this year."
"This is a tremendous accomplishment," said Schwarz, adjunct assistant professor of management at CSB and SJU. "These students were passionate and very motivated. They focused on making a positive impact in the world first and this competition second."