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06-09-2004

Clarkson Students In Free Enterprise Second Runner-Up In National Competition

Clarkson University’s Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) was named second runner-up at the SIFE USA National Exposition in Kansas City, Kansas, held recently.

“This is the second time in the team’s four years of competition that they have earned this recognition,” said Marc Compeau, an instructor in Clarkson’s School of Business and Director of Entrepreneurial Programs for the University, who serves as advisor for the SIFE team. “The award places Clarkson in the top 50 schools of the more than 1,600 that competed in the U.S. competitions this year.”

SIFE, a national organization with 1,600 U.S. college and university chapters, encourages business students to take what they are learning in the classroom and apply it to real-life situations, using their knowledge to better their communities through educational outreach projects.

In SIFE competition, teams are judged on how well their projects taught others the principles of free enterprise. The Clarkson team, which earlier this spring won first place at the Regional Competition and Career Opportunity Fair held in Hartford, Conn., was one of the regional champions from around the country invited to compete at the national collegiate competition.

Clarkson SIFE team members and seniors Sean Smith and Scott Ellsworth; juniors Chris Vacca and Dustin Logan; and sophomores Kyle Webb and Katherine DeMuth presented 10 projects at the national competition. The projects represented over 7,000 hours of work, impacting more than 150 businessmen and businesswomen, primarily in St. Lawrence County.

SIFE members also worked with local businesses such as Colonial Village Fun Park, Model Works, and Videorama on issues involving competition, expansion and new markets.

Two of the projects in particular received significant praise from the panel of corporate executives judging the competition for their global reach and educational value.

The first project was a partnership among eBay, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce, and Clarkson University linking 10 local businesses with the Internet to expand their product exposure. The Clarkson students helped business owners adapt to the exciting potential of e-Commerce. The team’s presentation included a videotaped interview with Senator Clinton praising the Clarkson SIFE team’s involvement in the partnership and its efforts on behalf of the rural upstate economy.

The second project singled out by the judges was “The Adventures of Sally,” a computer simulation that helps young students understand three important dynamics in business: risk, resource and opportunity. The simulation gives budding entrepreneurs challenging decisions to make regarding the future of a lemonade stand, each decision having new implications on the future of the endeavor.

“Overall the feedback from the judges was very positive, very favorable,” said Scott Ellsworth, a senior and SIFE team member for the last two years. “Our team has a number of successful projects that will likely be expanded next year. But SIFE members are already brainstorming ideas for new projects to start up in the fall.”

Thirty students participated in the Clarkson SIFE team this year. The team is part of the Clarkson Entrepreneur Alliance and has collaborated with the University’s Collegiate Entrepreneur Organization on several projects.

Team advisor Marc Compeau was named a Sam M. Walton Free Enterprise Fellow in 2001 in recognition of his leadership and support of the SIFE program at Clarkson.

Founded in 1975 and active on more than 1,500 college and university campuses in 37 countries, SIFE is a nonprofit organization that works in partnership with business and higher education to provide students the opportunity to make a difference and to develop leadership, teamwork and communications skills through learning, practicing and teaching principles of free enterprise.

Clarkson University is a nationally ranked, independent university in Potsdam, New York, offering majors in engineering, business, arts and sciences, and health sciences. Clarkson’s Entrepreneurship Program was ranked as one of the nation’s top programs by Entrepreneur magazine. The University’s Supply Chain Management program, also part of the School of Business, is ranked 16 in the country by U.S. News and World Report. Clarkson students learn in an academically rigorous, collaborative culture that emphasizes hands-on team projects and real-world multidisciplinary challenges. As a result, the University has earned a reputation for developing innovative business and technological leaders.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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