SIFE Team Places High at Nationals

Mount Mercy’s Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team is quickly establishing itself as a premier SIFE team in the nation after finishing second runner-up in the national competition, placing in the top 60 teams out of more than 800 in the United States.

SIFE, an international non-profit organization active on more than 1,400 university campuses in 47 countries, encourages college students to make a difference in their communities by organizing community service projects that focus on market economics, success skills, entrepreneurship, financial literacy, and business ethics. Student teams are then judged on the creativity, innovation and effectiveness of their community service projects at regional and national competitions.

On March 26 the Mount Mercy SIFE team won its 11th consecutive SIFE Regional Championship in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which qualified the team to compete in the SIFE National Competition. The team bested squads from the University of Minnesota — Crookston, Concordia College, the University of Wisconsin — Eau Clare, and St. Norbert College.

“I am proud of the success this team has had, especially winning Mount Mercy’s eleventh consecutive regional championship,” says team advisor and Dean of the Mount Mercy College Institute Tom Castle. “It is always our goal to make it to nationals and to place well, and we’ve accomplished that goal this year. We have an outstanding group of young men and women who are committed to service with local groups and organizations and to spreading the principles of free enterprise.”

During the 2007–2008 school year the team of 29 Mount Mercy students completed 36 service projects, volunteered more than 1,023 hours and taught more than 1,532 people free enterprise principles and skills necessary to be successful in the global marketplace. The students worked with several elementary, middle and high schools, children of all age groups, seniors, and community organizations in Cedar Rapids and surrounding communities.

Mount Mercy’s SIFE presentation team members included sophomore Ashley Coon of Oxford Junction, Iowa; senior Matthew Draeger of Marion, Iowa; senior Jayne Dvorak of Clutier, Iowa; senior Sarah Jencks of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; senior Mary Kilburg of Bellevue, Iowa; senior Benjamin “BJ” Melsha of Solon, Iowa; and senior Mary Jo Nie of Jesup, Iowa. Team advisors and Sam M. Walton Fellows are Castle, Marketing Lecturer Anne King, and Assistant Director of Admission Elizabeth Tjelle ’03.