Bryan College’s Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team won its division April 4 and will represent the organization’s Atlanta region in national competition in May.
SIFE team members include, from left, front, Laura Maye, Kara Leigh Mullennix, and Lauren Estes. Back are Brian Mullennix, James Folsom, Leo Gikonyo, Will Tholken, and advisor Dr. Jeff Boyce.
SIFE is a student-led organization that promotes “a better, more sustainable world through the positive power of business,” according to the SIFE website. Membership is open to students in any field of study.
To win at the regional competition, “We had to make a 20-minute presentation to about 15 judges,” SIFE Vice President of Communications Laura Maye said. “They were looking at how effectively we impacted the quality of life for people in need.”
Members of the regional championship team include Lauren Estes, a sophomore from Durham, N.C.; James Folsom, a junior from Canton, Ga.; Leo Gikonyo, a sophomore from High Point, N.C.; Laura Maye, a sophomore from Knoxville; Brian Mullennix,a senior from McDonough, Ga.; Kara Leigh Mullennix, a junior from McDonough, Ga.; and alternates Ryan Hill, a sophomore from Battle Creek, Mich.; and Whitney Boggs, a senior from Riceville. Will Tholken, a sophomore from Bucyrus, Ohio, provides audio-visual support.
Bryan’s SIFE team chose “Reality Check” and “The Kenya Project” as their focus for the year, and reported on these at the competition. In “Reality Check,” team members taught 321 ninth grade students at Rhea County High School about family budgeting and the importance of a college education for future income. The Kenya Project helped raise more than $10,000 to start a Christian high school in Kenya for orphaned children.
In keeping with the national organization’s goal, “we tried to choose projects this year that would impact and empower people through business,” Laura said.
Faculty Advisor Dr. Jeff Boyce said the victory was made even more significant because last year’s national winning team from Belmont University was in Bryan’s bracket, along with teams from larger schools in Florida, Georgia and Alabama.
This year’s projects were developed from team members’ suggestions and approved by the leadership team.
SIFE President Brian Mullennix said the projects made students practice skills in marketing, publicity and forming business partnerships they had learned in class.