Since its launch just a little more than a year ago, Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE), founded and funded by the Eugenio Pino and Family Global Entrepreneurship Center in the College of Business Administration, has made its mark. Very quickly, a team from the group took second-runner up place in its first SIFE regional competition against teams working on projects for years.
Team member Arlette Prats, a senior marketing major and a program assistant in the Pino Center, served as SIFE’s president from its inception until fall, 2007.
“Part of SIFE’s mission is to be a resource for groups that want to increase their civic engagement and to help make their projects sustainable,” she said.
“I view SIFE as an integral part of my efforts to get students more engaged in their studies and in the community around us,” said Deanne Butchey (PhD ’05), faculty director, Student Learning and Teaching Quality, Office of Academic Advancement; instructor, Department of Finance and Real Estate; and faculty advisor to SIFE.
She’s testing the synergy between that goal and what SIFE can offer in a larger way. The ninety students in her online offering of Financial Markets and Institutions are teaching financial literacy-related topics to the community by focusing on new immigrants and newcomers to South Florida.
Students find thrill in service and support from SIFE.
Senior finance major Michelle Maceo is part of a group going to the Kendall Library on Saturdays to educate people about how to be better home buyers “from beginning to closing.”
“After I finished, I had an adrenalin rush,” she said. “I felt I had helped people with their futures and changed their lives.”
Two other senior finance majors in the course are members of SIFE. Sharlita Millington’s group helps students increase their financial savvy during sessions in the Student Learning Lab (CBC 106B) while Monica Kakanis’s group works at Acción in Little Havana, informing low-income people about loans.
Farrel Liger, incoming SIFE chapter president and a pre-med student, believes that, “All of us, regardless of our major, are motivated to take what we learn in the classroom and apply it in the real world. SIFE looks good on a résumé and it makes you feel good about reaching out and helping your community.”
Kakanis values SIFE for its commitment to keeping projects like hers ongoing.
“SIFE will help sustain our projects by providing resources like funding for flyers and posters and leadership,” Kakanis said. “It also can help set up relationships with community centers where presentations will be welcomed.”