For the first time in four years, the Binghamton University Enactus team is heading to Nationals.
Enactus, formerly known as Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE), is a global competition in which college students around the world spend at least a year working on specific community service projects and present their work at the end of the school year. It is an annual competition held in 38 countries which began in 1975 as a regional leadership program and developed into a community service competition.
The BU Enactus team was formed in 2003, according to Angelo Mastrangelo, Enactus faculty adviser.
“We work on projects that are worthwhile,” said Mastrangelo, a professor in entrepreneurship. “We’ve worked on supporting tribes in Africa, cleaning up our city, fighting childhood obesity and going to schools to help people speak publicly over the past few years.”
Students present their work, which is then judged by representatives of Enactus’ major corporate sponsors, including Walmart, Unilever, Dell, Pepsico, Coca Cola Company, Campbell’s, HSBC, Johnson & Johnson and Home Depot.
“We ask teams to identify a need in their community that might affect an economic, social or environmental need in that community and try to work on different community outreach projects that might address those needs,” said Michelle Nevels, a program coordinator for the Enactus organization.
The BU Enactus team was named a regional champion on April 3, and has worked on five different projects this year.
Jessica Cheuvront, a sophomore majoring in political science, said she is working on the Clean Local Environmental Awareness Now (CLEAN) campaign.
“We conducted a survey with students and residents and they said that the biggest hindrance to Downtown Binghamton was the appearance of Downtown,” she explained. “So we started a five minute sticker campaign where we have 19 businesses who have pledged to spend five minutes a day cleaning their storefront in the hope that by doing this it will cut down on all the litter that’s Downtown.”
According to Antonio Frontera, an Enactus faculty adviser and a business strategy professor, involvement with Enactus provides students with professional connections. Kara Wendling, a junior majoring in management, said she even received an internship through her involvement with Enactus.
“After the Binghamton team gave our presentation, a manager from Unilever liked us so much that she said ‘make sure you stop by our booth at the career fair and say you’re from Binghamton because we’re really interested in you guys,’” she said. “I got an internship with Unilever this summer because they love Enactus students.”
The BU Enactus team will be one of about 100 remaining American teams out of nearly 400 moving on to nationals, which take place from May 21 to 23 in Kansas City, Mo.