An eight hour car ride, minimal amounts of sleep and one more trophy for the display case.
Graceland Enactus won Regional Champion at the Enactus United States Regional Competition in Chicago on April 12. The group returned to Lamoni exhausted, but exhilarated: for the 12 time in 13 years, they will advance to the Enactus USA National Exposition, May 21-23 in Kansas City.
“I am very proud of the students; they have done incredible work this year. Their project work is truly changing lives, here in Lamoni and in communities around the world,” said Justin Akers, Director of the Sandage Center for the Study of Free Enterprise and Entrepreneurship. “They deserved to win Regional Champion this year, and I am very hopeful about their prospects for Nationals.”
The Graceland Enactus team emerged as the top team in their league, picking up the Club 44 Award, in recognition of the size of the team, as well as the 4.0 Award, which recognizes overall excellence for Enactus teams. The Chicago Competition is one of ten regional events held around the country.
At Regionals, Graceland was evaluated by a panel of top executives. Ultimately, the panel selects the team that most effectively uses their business and entrepreneurial skills to help others in need.
People, Profit, Planet: Graceland Enactus 2012-13
Though Graceland Enactus students organize dozens of projects every year, presenters only have time to highlight the most successful and wide-reaching ventures. This year, the team carefully selected four local projects and three international projects to highlight.
The team’s local projects include generating revenue at the Linden Street Coffee House, helping Lamoni Food Pantry recipients conserve money and energy, working with young adults at the “Alley” afterschool program and starting a campus compost facility at Graceland.
The team’s international projects include partnering with HealthEd in Zambia to generate sustainable revenue, working with Outreach International in the Philippines to initiate a revenue generating project and teaching entrepreneurs about business in Nicaragua.
“We are a small team, but we accomplish more than schools triple our size,” said Lynley Closson ’15, a member of the Enactus presentation team. “I think our presentation is strong all around. Our international projects have impacted a couple thousand lives! Our work with the Alley and the Coffee House is already impacting lives in our own community too.”
A Team Effort: Preparing for Nationals
This year’s presentation team consists of Closson, Brandon Bennett ’14, Max Hampton ’15 and Tyler Horringa ’13. For the question/answer session, Hilary Martin ’13 and Ethan Pitt ’14, representatives from Enactus’ international trips, join the presenters on stage. Martin was an integral part of the team’s video presentation and Sofia Jaramillo ’14 designed the team’s annual report. While only a select few can be in the spotlight at competition, Graceland Enactus boasts more than 50 participants this semester.
“This truly is a team effort. The teams work all year on projects, and each project team spends time putting together their own presentation, much like the presentation for competition,” said Akers. “The diversity of the skills that we have been blessed with on our team is unparalleled. I am so fortunate to be able to work with this amazing group of students each day.”
As the team prepares for the Enactus USA National Exposition, now less than a month away, work on their projects continues.
“The students are still hard at work with their projects. As their projects evolve, the script must change. They will work on the presentation virtually every day between now and the time we present at Nationals,” said Akers.
Nationals will be at the Kansas City Conventions Center May 21-23. During the Rally of Champions on May 21, the students will be in the running for the Jack Shewmaker Enactus Spirit Award. The team created a video for the competition and their video will be screened along with the other top two contenders for this prestigious award. Opening rounds of competition begin May 22.