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SIFE at HPU wins regional championship

by Karen N. Mirikitani, staff writer, SIFE alumna


“Think globally, act locally” was exactly how Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) at Hawai‘i Pacific University performed at the state regional competition April 14 at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort. For the third year in a row, the HPU team placed first in the region and will go to the national competition in Kansas City to represent Hawai‘i’s four-year universities.

Heather Manning, SIFE president, described the team’s enthusiasm as resonating throughout the room as members presented the current year’s projects to the 16 judges. “We wanted to do the best we can this year,” Manning said.

“It’s a gigantic accomplishment for them this year,” added Carol Jaros, adjunct communication instructor, commenting on the win.

SIFE competed against the University of Hawai‘i— West O‘ahu, Chaminade University, Brigham Young University—Hawai‘i, and the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. The winning SIFE team included: Gina Bryant (USA), Mary Disprow (USA), Benedikt Goetz (Italy), Claes Insulander (Sweden), Andreas Jacob (Sweden), Simone Knobel (Switzerland), Heather Manning (USA), and Michelle Reyes (USA).

This year’s SIFE projects mixed social responsibility and globalization. One project developed a Web administration system; another, a financial investment seminar. One team put together a Jeopardy game based on the book Adventures of Jonathan Gullible. Team members also worked on the third annual Hawaiian International Education Week, an Ethics Forum on Corruption, and Biz World, which took business ideas and techniques into local school classrooms.

“Our vision this year is helping Hawai‘i turn around its economic situation through free enterprise education,” said Goetz. To do it, the SIFE team put together a 24-minute presentation package and spent over hundreds of hours rehearsing and refining the details for the competition. “It’s a great feeling to win!” said Knobel. “This is my first year with SIFE at HPU, and I really enjoyed presenting the part on social ethics.”

The excitement of winning radiated from each of the team members. "I'm so happy for the SIFE at HPU team this year because we’ve gone so far,” Disprow said.

Other team members commented on their participation. “SIFE at HPU really means business and helping our society [adjust to] the changes occurring all over,” said Reyes. “We can start by becoming financially independent and learn how to invest properly.”

“At one of the local elementary schools we had a tremendous impact on the lives of the children in the sixth grade class,” said Manning. “One student I worked with on the Biz World project had his self-esteem soar and discovered what he had was worth something.”

“We clearly have a very multitalented team, and what they have contributed to Hawai‘i and the world is remarkable,” added Francine Lowell, communication instructor and SIFE co-advisor with Ken Schooland, associate professor of economics.



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