Community projects net FPU students ticket to SIFE nationals

Projects that helped children, college students and senior citizens paid off in prizes for Fresno Pacific University students.

The FPU team was named regional champion and won the special Teach A Child About Business Award at the April 8 Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) competition in Los Angeles. The six-person squad will go to the national event May 12-14 in Kansas City, Missouri. 

Team members are Julie Bellanger, a sophomore from Bakersfield; Alexej Biedermann, a junior from Fresno; Brandon Dorman, a freshman from Visalia; Christopher LaSance, a sophomore from Bakersfield; Heather McCaig, a junior from Porterville; and Annalise Nickleberry, a junior from Vancouver, Wash. Advisers are Dean Gray, accounting faculty, and Mary Willis, director of the university Career Resource Center.

FPU has placed in each regional it has entered. The group was first runner-up two years ago and second-runner up last year. “The team performed well. We are excited they will go to the next level of competition,” Gray said.

“It’s a joy to work with such wonderful students,” Willis said. “What they are able to accomplish in their community is truly valuable. I am very proud to have them represent our university.”

Students gave presentations on activities they designed and implemented on campus or in the surrounding community. Teams were judged on the effectiveness of their projects as defined by results, creativity and innovation, use of resources and documentation of activities. FPU competed against teams from California State University, Hayward; the University of California, San Diego; La Sierra University and Western New Mexico University. A total of 22 two- and four-year school participated in various categories.

Activities FPU students reported on were:

  • Kids In World Enterprise (KIWE) taught Ewing Elementary School students about global business experience. Fifth-graders formed companies, applied for loans and created, manufactured and marketed a product to sell to third graders, who were taught to determine value and bargain. Students used “kid bucks” rather than real money.
  • Seniors Crossing the Digital Divide established a computer lab at Senior Citizens Village next to the university campus. Arrival Communications donated installation of a DSL line and computers were purchased from Fresno County at a special non-profit rate. FPU students give their time to teach residents computer skills.
  • Wiseopoly used a 25 by 25-foot game board to help FPU students learn wise use of credit. The on-campus event attracted about 25 participants.
  • Poise, Polish and Style instructed university students on business etiquette. About 45 students attended the dinner and presentation.

Founded in 1975 and active on more than 1,000 campuses in 28 countries, SIFE is a non-profit organization that works with business to help college students make a difference and develop skills in leadership, teamwork and communication through the principles of free enterprise. The regional competition was sponsored by Country Home Bakeries, Inc.