By Jennifer Kelly |
Sept. 27, 2011
SIFE Memorial team members are getting ready for one of the most exciting and challenging experiences of their lives. From Oct. 3-5, the national champions of the Students in Free Enterprise group will fly to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to meet student teams from more than 40 countries to compete for the ultimate title of world cup champion.
The mandate of SIFE is to work with leaders in business and higher education to make a difference in their communities, while also developing the skills to become socially responsible business leaders. The team has been busy fulfilling this mandate all year long and to winning results: at the recent national competition, the team beat out more than 50 other teams to win the national competition title.
Two months prior, they won the regional championship, placing first in all three topic competitions. Despite the wins, the team makes it clear there’s more to their work than just winning.
“At the world cup, we will not only be competing for SIFE Memorial, the province and Canada – we will also be competing for the more than 5,000 people who have been impacted by our projects,” said Danielle Seward, vice-president, SIFE. “The world cup is an opportunity to tell their story to the entire world and this is just as important to us competing.”
In fact, this is so important to the team that their entire presentation will be comprised of individual stories about the people they have worked with and whose lives have been positively impacted by a SIFE project. The three days of competition will be intense and jam packed. The first day will be opening ceremonies, featuring a cultural fair where each participating country showcases its unique culture at a display booth. The Memorial team’s Canadian booth will be complete with hockey jerseys and a Newfoundland element – a stuffed puffin for guests to kiss as part of a mock Screeching-in ceremony.
The rigorous competition begins early the next day, with the winning team from that day's competition advancing to the semi-finals. The last competition day will have the semi-finals starting early; from this, five teams will be chosen to compete in the final round, also held the same day. The winning team will be announced by the end of the day.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper also congratulated the team and wished them well for the competition. To view his letter, please visit www.business.mun.ca.
Ms. Seward has attended regional and national competitions before, but never a world competition.
“The chance to represent your country is a huge responsibility and opportunity, both for the team and for me personally,” she said. “I have a lot of mixed emotions, but I am so excited to go.”
No matter what the outcome, the sense that the team is already a winner is very prominent in the Faculty of Business Administration, home to the team’s faculty adviser, assistant professor, communications, Lynn Morrissey.
“I am so proud of the work the team continues to do and of the impact they continue to make,” said Prof. Morrissey. “To represent our country on an international stage is truly an honour and we are excited and ready to showcase our successes to the world.”
Like Ms. Seward, Prof. Morrissey also feels the difference the team is making in the community is the most important accomplishment.
“We are going up against the best teams in the world and winning would be nice, but knowing we are making a difference in our world is the true crowning achievement for us.”
Win or no win, right now the team is focused on preparing. The team has been meeting 5-6 nights per week to develop the presentation script and design. Following this, the team will have to memorize the lines of the presentation. Even after the initial prep work is completed, the team will continue to revise the presentation right up until they walk onto the stage in Malaysia.
“We will continue revising it until it is the absolute best,” said Ms. Seward.
And how does the team stay motivated during these long, hard-working days?
“We stay motivated by staying true to our goal,” said Ms. Seward. “That goal is to create a better Newfoundland, a stronger Canada, and most of all, a world of opportunity.”