College of Management and Human Service

Student organization wins regional SIFE contest, prepares for nationals

A student organization at the University of Southern Maine has won its second consecutive regional championship based on a series of exemplary community-building projects. Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE), a 21-member team sponsored by the USM School of Business, competed on April 11 against student SIFE teams from New England and the Mid-Atlantic to win $1,000, as well as the chance to compete at the SIFE National Competition in May.

 Representatives from the USM SIFE team competed against approximately 40 teams in this spring’s regional competition. Each team presented outcomes from community-based projects completed during the academic year to a panel of judges, which included executives from SIFE sponsor companies such as Sam’s Club, Walgreens, and Supervalu. Projects were judged based on their adherence to the SIFE mission to help people in need by applying principles of free enterprise.

 In the 2011-12 academic year, the USM SIFE team completed a variety of projects designed to support increased capacity and sustainable business practices for Maine businesses, and also projects focused on addressing critical social needs. In March, the team organized ‘Stuff the Trucks,’ a food and donation drive sponsored by the Campbell Soup Company, raising over $1400 and 816 lbs of food for Good Shepard Food Bank. This May, the SIFE team presents Scarborough’s Eight Corners Pizza with four new deep freezers, an iPad, and training in new marketing strategies as part of its Step Up for Small Business project. The team recently received the President’s Leadership Award from the Maine Campus Compact in recognition of valuable contributions to campus civic-engagement efforts.

 “I always remind myself of the SIFE motto- a head for business and heart for the world,” said Professor John Voyer, the USM SIFE faculty advisor. “I think it’s noteworthy that students in this generation seem interested in giving back to the community, in really living up to this motto.”

 The USM SIFE organization was founded in 2003 and has won six regional competitions in the past nine years. The team will compete in the SIFE National Competition in Kansas City on May 22-24.