The Keuka College Enactus team has returned triumphant from a strong showing at the 2014 National Expo in Cinncinati, Ohio, held March 31- April 3.
According to co-adviser Enid Arbelo Bryant, assistant professor of communication, the group advanced through the first round to the quarter finals, earning a trophy along the way.
“I’m so proud of the group and their hard work this year,” Bryant said, noting that the team was up against some admirable competitors who moved ahead into the semi-finals. Some of the contenders included schools as large as the University of Southern Maine, University of North Caroline at Charlotte and Kennesaw State University.
Enactus is an international, non-profit organization that works with leaders in business and higher education to mobilize students to make a difference in their communities while developing the skills to become socially responsible business leaders. The international organization formerly known as Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) changed its name to Enactus in the fall of 2012.
Each year, Enactus teams from college campuses across the nation send exposition teams to participate in regional competitions. Through rehearsed and choreographed multimedia presentations, team members give a formal retelling of the club’s accomplishments during that academic year. The judges panel is comprised of private-sector business executives and can be tough to impress. Regional winners automatically receive an invitation to the national competition, which the Keuka College team has done 10 of the past 12 years.
The College was represented in Cinncinati by Enactus members Michael Kelly ’14, president; Darrcy Matthews ’14, COO; Brittany Gleason ’15, Amanda Markessinis ’16, Kathryn Zawisa ’16, Joshua Crummenauer ’15, Trevor Irby ’16, Ashley Smith ’16, Joseph Rosario ’16, Marilynn Schoen ’15 and Margaret Tower ’16. Another five students round out the full club on campus.
According to Kelly, the team has overcome a number of challenges in the last three years, and this year’s finish capped it off.
“Considering this is the farthest we’ve gone in three years, this year has been extremely successful,” said Kelly. “I’m grateful to all the team members who worked tirelessly to make sure all the projects were going well throughout the year. Even though I will graduate and be sad to leave the team, I’ll be excited to watch how they’re doing from the sidelines.”
Three projects were part of this year’s work: the Seeds of Change initiative, which enables teenage girls at a Costa Rican shelter for the underprivileged to make and sell handmade bracelets in their local community and ship them back to the Enactus team for sale here; the Campus Sustainability Initiative (CSI) which the team has coordinated since 2009 to raise awareness about a number of environmental and societal issues; and a new initiative to begin selling paid ads for the Keukonian student newspaper.
In addition to Bryant, Dr. Yang Zhao, assistant professor of international management, also serves as adviser to the team.