Justin Akers: Empowering Students to Make Positive Change
As you walk through the Memorial Student Center, you won’t miss the multitude of Enactus trophies on display outside the Sandage Center for the Study of Free Enterprise. With Enactus’ recent success, the case is loaded—Graceland’s team has won Regionals and qualified for the National competition 12 times in the last 13 years.
But if you step inside the Sandage Center, a projection screen is often pulled down over the display case—the Enactus team is always working, with no time to sit around and admire their handy work. At the helm of this ever-busy group is Justin Akers, Director of the Sandage Center for the Study of Free Enterprise and Entrepreneurship. Although Justin continually emphasizes it’s the students who make Graceland Enactus a successful program, it’s obvious that he’s a key player in empowering the students to do what they do.
"Our Enactus students are proud of who they are, and they understand that success doesn’t come automatically—you have to work for it," said Justin. "I want to make sure our students have the best possible chance to showcase their work, and I’ll do whatever it takes to help them do that—except do it for them."
This—empowering students to accomplish what's personally important to them—is Justin’s passion. A family man with three children ages five and under, Justin also teaches classes in Graceland’s Agricultural Business program and runs a family farming operation with his wife, Kristen. Justin is a busy man—but he wouldn’t have it any other way.