Graceland Enactus is inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit to make a difference; and they do just that in both local and global communities. After winning the regional competition in Chicago last month, this week, the team’s project work has brought them to Kansas City, Missouri, for the annual Enactus U.S. National Exposition, where they will compete against student teams from universities across the country.
On 1,600 university campuses worldwide, Enactus provides students the opportunity to channel their unique talents, passions and ideas to create projects that empower others. This year, though they have many to choose from, Graceland Enactus will showcase three key projects: Kids Bank, Right 2 Fresh and Brain Breaks.
Kids Bank was started in 2007 with a focus on teaching financial literacy for elementary-school students in the Lamoni Community School system. In the team’s competition presentation, they are able to highlight the fact that they have now quadrupled the program’s impact by expanding to elementary-school students in Truro, Iowa.
Right 2 Fresh is a new project that began with this year’s team. The inspiration began, however, from another project, the Graceland University Supply Closet, that was started in partnership with the Lamoni Food Bank to provide access to food and necessities for Graceland students. The challenge became access to fresh foods.
Brain Breaks is an application developed by team member Samuel Hinkhouse to provide classroom teachers easy access to the quick and energizing activities that help young students stay focused throughout the school day. The app is the first of its kind and is already being downloaded on the Amazon store by teachers from across the country.
The culmination of years’ worth of Graceland Enactus project work, the national exposition means the presentation team – made up of students Alyssa Dockins, Melissa Sherer, Regan Jackson, Robbie Turk, Sydney Dorrance and Zack Ferrara – along with support from other members – including Jeremy Deemer, Jordan Mogg, Megan Kneib and Robby Donarski – have spent the days leading up to Monday’s opening round practicing in the Ridgewood Community of Christ and in their hotel conference room.
This weekend has also provided an opportunity for the team to receive support from Graceland alumni at a reception hosted by the Development Office in downtown Kansas City as well as valued feedback from Graceland Enactus alumni at one of the team’s rehearsals on Saturday.
With a successful team history and a confidence in their work, the Graceland community is once again rallying around a team on yet another national stage.
“I am so incredibly proud of this entire team,” said Jared Doty, Director of the Graceland University Sandage Center for the Study of Free Enterprise and Entrepreneurship. “The amount of time and work they have put into these projects, and that the presentation team has put into sharing the team’s work with the judges at competition would definitely impress you. But the best part is, no matter what happens at the national expo tomorrow, the impact their work has made and will continue to make on the communities they have invested their time into will continue for a long time to come.”
Graceland Enactus will compete in their first round of competition Monday, May 21, at 1:45 p.m. in the Kansas City Convention Center against Southern Adventist University, Cornerstone University, Southwestern College–Kansas and Penn State University Park. If selected as the winner of their league in round one, Graceland will move into the top 16 teams and enter the next round of competition set for Tuesday.