University of Dubuque SIFE Team Wins Regional Championship

Apr 18, 2012 | University of Dubuque Theological Seminary

The University of Dubuque Student in Free Enterprise (SIFE) Team matched its educational outreach projects against the programs of other SIFE Teams at the 2012 SIFE Regional Competition and Career Opportunity Fair held Sunday and Monday, April 15-16, in Chicago, IL. The group received top accolades - being named Regional Champions, among the seventy schools that attended the Chicago Regional competition.

As Regional Champions, the University of Dubuque SIFE team now moves on to its next challenge, the US National Championships to be held in Kansas City on May 22 - 24, 2012.  There they will face off against fellow Regional Champions from 10 other regional competitions.

"It was a great experience for our students.  There were some great teams in Chicago.  Some schools brought in huge teams to present, other schools had annual budget's for SIFE as high as $50,000.  UD's team discovered, like all small business owners, sometimes "having the right stuff is more important than having a lot of stuff," commented Craig Marty, associate professor of business.

Founded in 1975, Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) was originally focused only in the United States.  Today, SIFE USA operates as a subsidiary of SIFE Worldwide and is one of 39 countries around the world that comprises SIFE's premier business and higher education network.  SIFE USA works with leaders in business and higher education to mobilize university students to make a difference in their communities while developing their skills to become socially responsible business leaders. 

Participating students form teams on their campus and apply business concepts to develop outreach projects that improve the quality of life and standard of living for people in need. Through the SIFE USA Regional Competitions and USA National Competition, teams are provided a forum to present the results of their projects, and to be evaluated by business leaders serving as judges. The SIFE USA National Champion team advances to the prestigious SIFE World Cup.  The projects presented by the University of Dubuque SIFE Team showcased their efforts in working with a number of local and non-local non-profits including Elegantees of New York City, Opening Doors/Maria House of Dubuque, the Iowa Chapter of Make-A-Wish, and the Living Lands and Waters of East Moline, IL.

In addition to the community focus 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 SIFE partner companies in search of emerging talent.

Guided by faculty advisor Craig Marty, named a Sam M. Walton Free Enterprise Fellow in honor of Wal-Mart's founder, the SIFE Team teaches concepts such as free market economics, entrepreneurship, personal and financial success, and business ethics. SIFE challenges students to take what they are learning in the classroom and apply their knowledge in real working situations to better themselves, their communities and their countries.  Members of the UD SIFE Team that presented in Chicago and are now moving on to Kansas City include Nick Moler (Dubuque, IA), Tyrone Russell (Chicago, IL), Marsha Saunders (Dubuque, IA), Malorie Steffen (Dubuque, IA), and Audrey Woodward (East Dubuque, IL). 

When asked what is next for the team, Craig Marty responded, "While the UD SIFE team is really looking forward to the fall semester and continuing our old projects and starting new ones, our short term focus is on raising enough money to get our team to Kansas City.  Like all small businesses, an unexpected event or opportunity can challenge your cash flow."