May 31, 2012 12:00AM
The PSU SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise) team walked away from the organization’s National Exposition as the 16th best team in the U.S. and already they’re planning ways to improve the local programs that helped earn them that high finish. The National Exposition was held May 22-24 in Kansas City.
“We have a lot of good ideas for next year,” said SIFE president Katie Bristley, a senior marketing major from Fort Scott. “We want to keep the successful projects we have and build on those.”
SIFE adviser Suzanne Hurt said she was proud of how well the PSU team competed against teams from much larger universities and from private schools with seemingly unlimited budgets. PSU’s formula for leveling the playing field, she said, comes down to hard work.
“In comparison, we have a much smaller team and budget,” Hurt said. “But our students give so much more of their time.”
In the annual SIFE competitions, the teams give presentations on projects they have done over the past year. In PSU’s case, that was called “Building Pittsburg.”
Hurt said that concept came out of conversations with the PSU SIFE Advisory Board. Building Pittsburg focused on helping unemployed persons in Pittsburg land a job and consisted of workshops on computer literacy, interviewing and resume writing, and dress for interviews and the workplace.
Hurt said she believed the judges, all company CEOs, were impressed with not only how well the PSU students presented their project, but also with the quality of the project and the hands-on work the students completed, even down to multiple fundraising efforts.
“I told the students,” Hurt said, “I have been in education for 26 years and I have advised a lot of clubs and organizations, but SIFE has more meaning than any other group I have been associated with. It really opens doors for students.”