The Business of Cans, Coops, Camps, and Quilts

By Kristin Moore, President, William Jewell SIFE – The William Jewell College Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) Team has been busy working on nine different projects this year.  The team, coming off of its 2010-11 win in the Top 16 at the national competition, has gained momentum throughout the fall by recruiting over 25 new team members, 2 Business Advisory Board Members, and 6 new part time faculty advisors.

The WJC SIFE Team kicked off the new year by pledging to raise over 25,000 cans or pounds of food for the Let’s Can Hunger Project, sponsored by Campbell’s.  Teams nationwide were challenged to “measure and demonstrate a comprehensive approach to addressing hunger including raising awareness, and providing urgent hunger relief and empowering those in need to defeat the cycle of hunger”.  The WJC SIFE Team accepted that challenge and is partnering with Lambda Chi Alpha and the Nonprofit Leadership Association to achieve that goal.  The coalition started this year by creating two different Halloween events, Trick or Treat on the Quad and Trick or Treat for Cans, to raise awareness and collect cans of food throughout the Liberty area.

The SIFE Team continued its success by traveling to the Cheyenne River Reservation in Ziebach County, South Dakota.  Working with the Lakota people from the poorest county in the United States offers big challenge, great hope and tremendous satisfaction for team members.  During the 4-day trip to the community, team members monitored the wind turbine they installed last year and worked on three new initiatives for this year.

The team worked to weatherize the community’s chicken coop, including installing heat lamps and insulation.  This chicken coop project is not only serving as an important food source, but it is also teaching the community sound business principles.  Before WJC SIFE, in partnership with Second Baptist Church, brought over 60 chickens to the community, the price of eggs on the reservation was $4.50 per dozen.  However, since the chicken coop has been installed the price of eggs has decreased to $1.79.

In addition to the chicken coop project, the WJC SIFE Team met with a community member who operates a children’s camp during the summer to teach the children about the Lakota culture and traditions.  The team consulted the camp leader about the camp’s agenda, registration process, marketing strategy and financial status.  The WJC SIFE Team is currently constructing a plan for this year’s camp in addition to other materials.

Finally, the WJC SIFE Team searched for a suitable location for a new quilting machine the team plans to install on the reservation in December.  The Lakota Tribe produces intricate star quilts for both personal use and celebration.  The quilting machine to be donated by the SIFE Team will help create another economic opportunity for the women of the tribe.  The WJC SIFE Team plans to travel to the community again this December to deliver the quilting machine along with quilting and business training.

SIFE is an international nonprofit organization that brings together the leaders of today and tomorrow to create a better, more sustainable world through the positive power of business.  Founded in 1975, SIFE has active programs on more than 1,500 college and university campuses in over 39 countries.  Through projects that improve the lives of people worldwide, the university students, academic professionals and industry leaders who participate in SIFE are demonstrating that individuals with a knowledge and passion for business can be a powerful force for change.

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