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Baylor's "Students in Free Enterprise" Organization Places in Competition

April 30, 2007

by Jessica Bird

On April 4, the Baylor University's Students in Free Enterprise team competed in the annual SIFE USA Regional Competition in Dallas. The Baylor SIFE organization was recognized with a top-20 finalist's award in a national competition in the specialty area of ethics. In the overall competition their work was assessed in promoting economic opportunity for others in the areas of market economics, success skills, financial literacy, entrepreneurship and ethics. In the ethics portion they were 2nd runner-up in their league.

"Working in partnership with business and higher education, SIFE mobilizes university students around the world to utilize knowledge learned in the classroom to address real world business and economic issues in their communities," according to the organization's website. "SIFE students form teams on their university campuses and develop outreach projects that teach market economics, entrepreneurship, financial literacy, personal success skills, and business ethics. Through these projects, SIFE is empowering university students to make a difference today while realizing the full potential they will have to create a better world as the entrepreneurs and business leaders of tomorrow."

"Our presentation team delivered an outstanding presentation that highlighted the impact of our projects throughout the year," said Dr. Mitchell Neubert. Neubert, Chavanne Chair of Christian Ethics in Business, H.R. Gibson Chair in Management Development, and Associate Professor, serves as advisor to the Baylor SIFE team. "I am also very proud of our recognition for promoting ethics; it is quite an honor to be among the top 20 schools nationally who won this award."

Students on the presentation team included: Lauren Epperson, senior, marketing and management major; Eric Fuller, senior, human resources major; Violet Fuller, junior, finance and economics major; Melinda Henderson, senior, public relations and social work major; Laurel McConn, senior, marketing and human resources major; Annica McDermott, junior, human resources and international business major; Spencer Ryan, senior, professional selling and management major; Jeff Jimenez; senior, human resources major; Kelly Risinger, senior, human resources major.

"The competition was a success in a number of ways, including the opportunities for students to interact with 15-20 executives that served as judges and the recruiters who were present for the SIFE job fair," said Neubert.

According to President of Baylor SIFE, Lauren Epperson, students that participated gained valuable life lesson skills that can be used for many years to come in all aspects of their careers. "This past year many students benefited from wrestling with real ethical problems in the workplace and finding out how to formulate solutions that would be above reproach," said Epperson. "Our ethics competition had a wonderful kick-off this year, and we are very excited to be expanding this event to more students and possibly to other universities in the future."

According to Laurel McConn, the main aspect she took away from her SIFE experience was seeing students from colleges and universities from all over coming to share their experience and explain the projects they did in their own communities. "It made our Baylor efforts all the more meaningful, knowing that we were taking part in a world-wide effort."

Baylor presented several projects at the competition in Dallas. The ethics segment that was nationally recognized at the conference was the SIFE teams

co-sponsorship of the Case Competition in Ethical Leadership--Five Years Later: Leadership Lessons from Enron and Andersen. The Baylor SIFE organization served as judges and room coordinators at the event, as well as sponsoring the awards for best Question/Answer participants.

The market economics project presented at the competition was directed toward Waco inner-city middle school students at the University Middle School. To improve their earning potential and financial management skills. They did so by implementing their knowledge of the market economy, professionalism, business ethics, financial responsibility and management. They interacted with the middle school students by using worksheets, overheads, activities and quizzes. Results were rewarding, according to the team, when a student from the class said, "I can't wait to share what I have learned with my mom about savings accounts."

Mission Waco, financial literacy segment, was another project that was launched through the idea of interaction with the chronically unemployed. It was lead through small group discussions and one-on-one coaching. In the fall, the group taught personal financial management and workplace ethics. During the spring, they taught goal setting, financial management, resumes and interviewing skills, and workplace ethics. Working with Mission Waco was an eye-opening experience for the team, "we learned that anyone can be poor and in need of assistance."

Other projects included: success skills projects, promoting benefits of education beyond high school to juniors and seniors at A.J. Moore Magnet School and eighth graders at Rapaport Academy; entrepreneurship projects, consulting with Water for the World and World Hunger Relief Farm to assist in improving economic development.

SIFE began at Baylor began in 2003 as a part of Dr. Neubert's leadership class, and it became an official campus organization in 2004. The Baylor SIFE mission: "To use our knowledge and skills as students to help the economically disadvantaged succeed in a market economy." SIFE welcomes the involvement of students across campus. For more information contact Dr. Neubert at (

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