SIFE places first at regional competition

by Kate Wall

Simpson’s Students in Free Enterprise chapter won first place in their league at the overall regional competition in Minneapolis, Minn., April 5.

“I think we were expecting it,” said Tom Schmidt, assistant professor of management and advisor of SIFE. “We presented the Storm Cellar last year as kind of an entrance business and it’s still a good project. As long as we keep growing the Storm Cellar, we should be able to keep winning regionals for the next couple of years, I would think, unless the competition really jumps.”

The SIFE team was named a finalist in two out of four special competition categories, qualifying it to go on to nationals – for the second year in a row. The national competition will be held May 23-24 in Kansas City, Mo.

The Storm Cellar was just one of the six projects SIFE presented in its 24-minute presentation.

“We spent the most time talking about the Storm Cellar since that was our biggest project,” junior Amanda Hoffman said. “It is pretty unique to Simpson because a lot of other schools have opened similar things, but they usually do it on campus or in the student center or something.”

Hoffman, along with junior Abby Janssen and sophomore Jess Haug, worked on the Junior Achievement project – teaching classes at Irving Elementary about business.

“We go and teach them about business – they give us lessons ahead of time and we teach them about business, marketing, advertising and different types of businesses,” Hoffman said.

Janssen presented the project.

“I enjoy watching the children grasp the concepts,” Janssen said.

There were roughly 40 other SIFE chapters at the regional competition. The Univesity of Minnesota at Crookston also won in Simpson’s league.

At nationals last year, Simpson’s chapter of SIFE didn’t place.

“[This year] we are hoping to place; to get some type of recognition,” Schmidt said. “It’s set up in three rounds and we’d love to win a first round. But just to be recognized, to come in first, second or third would be an accomplishment.”

After earning that recognition, SIFE hopes to get more members.

“One thing we’d like to do next year is get more campus involvement in SIFE, particularly more non-business majors,” Schmidt said. “The whole idea of SIFE is an educational outreach program. It doesn’t necessarily have to be business related.”