Thursday, April 16, 2009


Prairie View, Texas: -- While other students at Prairie View A&M University were enjoying spring break or the Texas Relays, sixteen members of the Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) Team were competing at the 2009 SIFE Regional Competition and Career Expo in Dallas, Texas on April 2-3. The team tested its educational outreach projects against the projects of 46 other teams paired in 7 leagues from around the country. PVAMU team competed with 5 other schools and received Second Runner up honors to Southern Arkansas University and Ouachita Baptist University, regional champions. Other teams in the league were, Texas Woman’s University, Wayland Baptist University and Northwestern State University

Members of the team included Breona King (President), Anita Jones (Vice President), Ridge Fields-Cooper (Vice President for Programs/Ethics Director), Elex Stokes (Membership Director), Nathan Dyles (Communication Director), Malcolm Copeland (Business Advisory Board Chair), Lynn Smith (Entrepreneurship Chair/CEO Director), Kyle Maronie (Environmental Sustainability Director). Other team members included Courtney Cunningham (Secretary), Cene Little Ferguson, LaDonna Green, Celestial Hall (Fashion Week Director), Joe Ivory, LeWebster Lacy (Presentation Producer), Duane Qualls (Sgt.atArms) and Bracia Sims, Mrs. Shadia Washington, Scheduling Coordinator and Student Relations in the Career Services and Frederick V. Roberts, Assistant Director, Career Services and the Sam Walton Fellow (Team Advisor) traveled with the team.

The teams were judged on how well their projects taught others the principles of free enterprise, business ethics, free market economics, entrepreneurship, personal finances, success skills and environmental sustainability. Southern Arkansas University and Ouachita Baptist University, along with Regional champions from the 25 competitions held around the country will compete at 2009 SIFE USA National Exposition in Philadelphia., PA on May 10-12. The national champion in the four-year division will travel to Berlin, Germany in September for the SIFE World Cup 2008.

The students also participated in the SIFE donor companies Career Fair that do not usually recruit on college campuses. They also networked with some of the CEO’s and personnel, judges for the competition. SIFE members credit participation in the projects for their professional growth and development. Some of them have secured internships and full time positions with the companies.

SIFE encourages students to take what they are learning in the classroom and apply it to real-life situations, using their knowledge to make life better in their communities by teaching the principles of free enterprise and entrepreneurship. The PVAMU team touched the lives of many students and persons in the surrounding community this year with more than 40 seminars and projects. Noted projects include: Ethics in the Global Market Economy, Financial Literacy - Money Management 101, How to Start & Manage a Business, Social & Professional Networking, Talent Showcase/Competition, Copyrights, Patents and Trademarks, Club Pees & Vees and Credit Counseling. The team hosted its 4th Annual Student Entrepreneur Expo featuring 8 up and coming businesses which helped make the event a huge success. The team’s newest project, Fashion Week Prairie View was a hit that showcased student designers and models.

Its Financial Literacy and Credit Counseling Programs continue to educate the students on personal finances and investment. For its efforts, the team was among 20 schools out of 450 teams to receive the renewable HSBC Financial Literacy Grant for a third year. The team’s AIG Grant for the Credit Counseling for freshmen and senior students was also renewed. Justin Samuel, a junior Chemical Engineering student, chairs the program. The team will extend its programs for students in Elementary through high school with services to schools in the Hempstead and Waller ISD’s.

Founded in 1975 and active on more than 1800 college and university campuses in 50 countries, SIFE is an international non-profit organization that works in partnership with business and higher education to mobilize university students to create economic opportunity for others while realizing their own potential. The students also develop leadership, teamwork and communication skills through learning, practicing and teaching the principles of free enterprise and entrepreneurship.

The PVAMU SIFE team was created at the university in 1985 and is cosponsored by the Career Center and the College of Business. Members of its Business Advisory Board and supporters are Beth Allday, HR Manager with Enterprise, Yvette Barker General Manager, American Campus, Denise Carreathers Armstrong, Manager, Amistad Bookplace, Rebecca Faison, Director, Small Business Development Center, George Higgs, President, Chamber of Commerce, Frank D. Jackson, Mayor, City of Prairie View, Glenda Jones, Director of Career Services at PVAMU, Morrell Price, Shell Retail Training Manger, Munir Quddus, Dean, College of Business, and Don Sowell, President of Wilmic Ventures.

The team and its supporters continue to be a major contributor to the student personal and professional development programs at the university. The team will close out its year with its environmental sustainability project, Panther Pete Goes Green on Earth Day, April 22 to raise awareness at the university. The project is collaboration with Student Government Association and the Environmental Safety Department.

For more information, contact Breona King, President or Frederick V. Roberts, Sam Walton Fellow at 936-261-3579.

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