Students in Free Enterprise is an organization on the University of La Verne campus that has decided to take it upon themselves to help those who are less fortunate and make a difference in the world.
“We do community outreach projects,” Issam Ghazzawi, associate professor of management and SIFE adviser.
This is the group’s third year at La Verne, and it currently consists of more than 30 students from many different majors.
“I got involved because of the community involvement [SIFE] entails,” Alan Weinreb, senior psychology major and SIFE member, said.
This semester, SIFE has joined forces with the Pomona Rotary Club to raise money to build water pumps in a small village in Kenya.
“Every year, we tend to have an international project; this year, the international project was in Kenya,” SIFE president Walter Mansilla said.
Currently, the village has no nearby water source, and children spend their days walking long distances to collect unsanitary, disease-filled water.
After they bring the water back to the village, they must boil it and hope to remove the diseases, but there is no guarantee.
The Pomona Rotary Club contacted the La Verne SIFE organization after hearing about the work they do and suggested the idea of raising money to build water pumps for the village.
The Pomona Rotary Club then announced that it would match the money raised by 350 percent.
“We decided to get on top of it and help out,” Mansilla said.
SIFE has received several donations from faculty, staff and the ULV business school.
It has also raised money by working with Rubios Fresh Mexican Grill and Claim Jumper.
The restaurants have agreed to accept flyers from SIFE and every time one is presented, they donate a percentage of the cost to the cause.
“Everything SIFE does has my full support,” Weinreb said. “Everything SIFE does is beneficial.”
SIFE and the Pomona Rotary Club have far exceeded their original goal of $2,500 and have currently raised more than $16,000.
The SIFE organization exists on more than 800 college campuses, and each chapter fundraises for different projects.
All of the SIFE groups in California also compete against each other in regional competitions where they present their projects.
A few designated members from each group speak about their projects for 24 minutes, present annual reports and show pictures of their work.
During this time, the groups implement five different topics into their presentation: entrepreneurship, business ethics, success skills, financial literacy and market economics.
The winner of this competition proceeds to the national competition to compete against the winners of every state.
From there, the winner competes in the international competition in hopes of winning the SIFE World Cup.
During these competitions, the groups are also eligible to win separate awards based on the individual topics.
SIFE also provides its members with the opportunity to attend job fairs and to be contacted by possible employers.
“[SIFE] provides lots of values for everyone, and I encourage everyone to be a part,” Ghazzawi said.
Madison Steff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.