Susquehanna University SIFE Team Advances to National Exposition
Published on April 7, 2011
SELINSGROVE—The Susquehanna University Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team was named league champion for the eighth consecutive year at the Philadelphia SIFE USA Regional Competition on March 25. The event was one of 12 SIFE USA regional competitions held across the country in March and April.
SIFE members use business concepts to develop community outreach projects that improve the quality of life and standard of living for people in need. Regional competitions identify which teams had the greatest impact on their communities. Participating teams distribute an annual report and make a live presentation to a group of executives serving as judges.
“We’ve had a great year,” said Susquehanna University SIFE President Fran Brzyski, a senior from Jamison majoring in business administration with emphases in marketing and finance. “The quality of our projects and presentation makes me so proud to be the leader of our 65-member team.”
Susquehanna’s SIFE is one of nearly 600 programs in the United States. During the 2010–11 academic year, the Susquehanna University SIFE team has spent more than 1,700 hours designing and implementing 21 projects that have directly affected more than 17,000 people in the community. Projects included working with elementary- and secondary-school students on educational ventures, assisting the local community and its businesses, and supporting the Susquehanna campus with “go green” initiatives and corporate partnerships.
In one such endeavor, SIFE members helped inmates at the State Correctional Institute at Coal Township plan for their release from prison, teaching resume writing, interviewing skills, business plan development and business loan acquisition. For another, members boosted the viability of Ashburn's Animals on a Mission (AAM), a nonprofit venture that connects people with disabilities with a menagerie of farm animals to help them develop self-confidence, take on responsibility and improve communication skills. SIFE helped AAM develop a business and marketing plan, secure a grant from Sam’s Club, improve its website, and generate local support from businesses and Susquehanna University organizations. As a bonus, the students also volunteer there.
Bob Ryan, a senior from Doylestown majoring in business administration with an emphasis in entrepreneurship and vice president of SU SIFE, also is proud of this year’s accomplishments. “Many of our projects are really unique and provide our team members with opportunities to help a variety of audiences, such as children in local schools, inmates at a correctional institution and entrepreneurs, to name a few. Partnering with Animals on a Mission has been a special experience for us this year.”
Team members attribute their success at the regional competition to their dedication to SIFE’s mission, including its alignment with Susquehanna’s service focus. “All of the time and work was completed for the sake of helping others, and in the spirit of this year’s theme, ‘Continuing the Susquehanna Way,’” said staff adviser George Cravitz.
SIFE students cite Cravitz, a Sam Walton Fellow, as another “secret weapon,” saying that he helps the group’s executive boards and active members formulate and execute their ideas year after year. “Mr. Cravitz helps challenge us weekly,” said Brzyski. “He keeps us on track as we try to reach our goals and better ourselves not only as members, but also as individuals.”
The Susquehanna University team will now advance to the 2011 SIFE USA National Exposition in Minneapolis, Minn., May 10–12.
Karen M. Jones