SIFE : Promoting Market Economics
Annual success in national competitions has become the norm for Alma’s Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) Team. In 2006, Alma finished third out of 1,600 university and college teams in the SIFE USA National Exposition Honors and Awards AFLAC Market Economics Competition in Kansas City, Mo.
“For a small college like Alma, this is an almost unheard of feat, especially considering we compete against many of the largest universities in the country,” says faculty advisor Ron Lemmon. “It is an amazing accomplishment for these students.”
Alma’s fifth consecutive regional win in 2006 qualified the team for the national SIFE competition. The national competition awards the SIFE teams that were most effective in teaching the principals of market economics through outreach projects in their communities. Alma’s team received a $1.000 cash award and a trophy.
“To raise the standard of living in mid-Michigan by teaching the principles of free enterprise through a variety of educational outreach programs developed and implemented by dedicated Alma College students.”
— Alma SIFE mission
During the academic year, SIFE organizes several projects on campus and throughout the Gratiot County community. On one noteworthy project — the Highland Java Cafe —SIFE members worked with the Library Renovation Committee to establish a student-operated cafe in the Alma College Library. SIFE members manage the cafe, employing other campus organization members for daily operations. Profits from the cafe are split between the SIFE team and participating campus organizations who donate proceeds to community organizations like the Women’s Resource Center.
“This project was an idea that came out of a brainstorming session,” says Amanda Zielinski, student project manager and SIFE president in 2006–07. “SIFE’s goal is to teach the principles of free enterprise, and this project has been extremely effective in teaching entrepreneurship.”
SIFE is an international non-profit organization active on more than 1,800 university campuses in more than 40 countries. SIFE teams create economic opportunities in their communities by organizing outreach projects that teach market economics, entrepreneurship, personal financial success skills, and business ethics.