SIFE team wins regional competition for 20th time

Release Date: 3/27/2012

Clarksville, Ark. --- The SIFE juggernaut continues at University of the Ozarks.

University of the Ozarks SIFE delegation at the regional conference.

For the 20th time in the past 24 years, the university's Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team has won the regional competition to advance to the national competition.  The Ozarks team was one of two finalists in its league in the regional competition, which was held in Rogers, Ark., on Monday, March 26. The top two teams in each league advance to the national competition, May 22-24 in Kansas City.

The U of O SIFE team, which has 48 active members, completed 28 community service projects that comprised more than 2,800 community hours in the past year. Their projects impacted more than 44,000 people in 11 countries.

"The thousands of hours that SIFE members have put in to make a positive difference in their communities and in the world is truly amazing," said SIFE Advisor Dr. Rickey Casey, who is also executive director of the International Studies Office. "The current members of SIFE have continued the outstanding tradition of this organization on this campus, and that's a tradition of helping change the world for the better."

Among the projects completed by SIFE in recent months was Tailor Express, which helped jump-start a small sewing business in Clarksville; and Scoring Goals with Kicks, a program that facilitated the construction of Belize's first solar irrigated soccer field. Another project, The Jam Cookie Factory, helped teach more than 1,000 elementary students in Central America the basics of market economics. SIFE also sponsored the Distinguished Speakers Series, which has brought speakers from throughout the region to the campus.

"We take pride in doing projects that can positively impact the lives of people," said SIFE President Paul Morgan, a senior chemistry major from Belize. "There's no greater feeling than knowing you've done something that has improved the lives of others, whether that's educationally, economically or spiritually."

The presentation team that competed for Ozarks in the regional competition included Kelsi Ward of Bentonville, Ark.; Naima Lopez of Nicaragua; Eddwing Madrigal of Nicaragua; Fernando Valenzuela of Panama; Andrea Murillo of Nicaragua; Adriana Beltran of El Salvador; and Hidenobu Kameya of Costa Rica. Eric Leon, assistant director of international studies, also serves as an advisor to the organization.

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. Participating students form teams on their university campuses and apply business concepts to develop outreach projects that improve the quality of life and standard of living for people in need. An annual series of regional and national competitions provides a forum for teams to present the results of their projects, and to be evaluated by business leaders serving as judges. National champion teams advance to the prestigious SIFE World Cup. In addition to the community aspect of the program, SIFE's leadership and career initiatives create meaningful opportunities for learning and exchange among the participants as well as the placement of students and alumni with companies in search of emerging talent.