June 10, 2013
By Mike Killeen
What have you done for me lately? That saying has almost become a mantra to business leaders, politicians, even athletes these days.
But on May 21, a group of students from the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University had the courage to get up in front of a group of judges and tell them what exactly they had done for the previous year - all in 16 minutes or less.
The group, the CSB and SJU Enactus team, placed second in its division at the annual Enactus National Competition May 21-24 in Kansas City, Mo. Formerly known as Students in Free Enterprise, Enactus is a community of student, academic and business leaders committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to transform lives and shape a better and more sustainable world.
"It's essentially an annual report competition - what did your team do throughout the year," said Steve Schwarz, adjunct professor of global business leadership at CSB and SJU and a co-adviser to the group with Paul Marsnik, professor of global business leadership at CSB and SJU. "The focus is on entrepreneurship, using entrepreneurship and business skills to empower people in need."
A total of 17 CSB and SJU students traveled to Kansas City. Of that group, five made the presentation - CSB students Kirsten Bates (sophomore, biology major, Albany, Minn.), Kelsey LeClaire (junior, management and communication double-major, St. Cloud, Minn.) and Gretchen Hughes (junior, management major, Owatonna, Minn.); SJU 2013 graduate Aaron Zimmer (senior, management degree, Kerkhoven, Minn.); and SJU student Teddy Kline (sophomore, global business leadership major, Vadnais Heights, Minn.). The presentation's media coordinator was Andrew Warzecha (senior, communication major, Clearwater, Minn.).
The group presented information on several projects the team worked on, including building a piggery in Uganda; and its work with the Dream Center, a halfway house for ex-convicts in St. Cloud, Minn.; Anna Marie's Alliance, a St. Cloud-based shelter which provides a safe place for victims of domestic abuse; Casa Guadalupe, based in Cold Spring, Minn., which aims to improve the lives of Latinos in Central Minnesota; and Launch Pad, a student consulting group seeking to help students launch different business ventures on campus.
A panel of approximately 10 judges then evaluated each presentation, which was limited to 16 minutes.
"They rate you on the impact of the project," Schwarz said. "Did you empower people? What are your measurables? What are your analytics? How can you prove what you did?"
The CSB and SJU team placed second in its division to Belmont University (Tenn.), which was the defending World Cup champion. Belmont eventually lost out to national champion Flagler College (Fla.).
"It puts us somewhere in the top 20 to 40 programs in the country, out of 500 active teams in the U.S.," Schwarz said. "A lot of these schools have big budgets, a lot of them have donations and a lot of them have a class you take in school. So, for us to have this from a volunteer perspective is pretty good."
Schwarz credited CSB and SJU Enactus President Anthonique Hanna for doubling membership from 40 students last year to 83 this year.
"You think about her job, and managing 83 volunteers is a real-world experience," Schwarz said.
This was the third club team advised by members of the Global Business Leadership department that received national recognition this year. The Society for the Advancement of Management (SAM) Case Research team placed third at the SAM National Conference March 21-24, and the Marketing Club received three awards at the American Marketing Association's conference March 21-24 at New Orleans.
"I see it as one of the strengths of our schools," Schwarz said. "Because we're a residential school, we have students on campus here and we have a lot of great support for all these clubs."