by Christen Palange '17, Business
The convention center was filled with student representatives from 120 schools each there to present their work to the judges. The energy was like nothing I have ever witnessed before. Every person was nervous, excited, and yet, supportive.
You might assume the teams at the Enactus United States National Exposition would be fiercely competitive and the atmosphere would be tense. It’s true; we had all been working toward the same goal of advancing at nationals. However, what the average person might fail to recognize is that advancing in the competition was merely a secondary goal.
The primary objective all 120 schools were working towards was creating a better world through entrepreneurial action (and some bragging rights). Hence the motto of the organization, “When we compete to improve lives, we all win.”
Enactus USA held its annual competition in St. Louis on May 16 to determine the national champions moving on to the world cup. Enactus is an organization dedicated to making the world a better place though entrepreneurial action. As a network of student, academic and business leaders, the organization is committed to using entrepreneurship to create a more sustainable world.
This program truly makes a difference, and has provided the most pride for my school and experience at UNH Manchester.
Rutger Tupper '16, Business, B.A.
Talking to the other teams was not a way to gain competitive advantage, but to meet the amazing people who have and will continue to make a difference in the world.
Sitting in the awards ceremony awaiting the results, we had the opportunity to hear from influential speakers from organizations such as Coca-Cola, Walmart, KPMG and, most inspiring, the United Nations Foundation.
Aaron Sherinian, chief communications and marketing officer of the UN Foundation, spoke of society’s most urgent problems —including energy and climate, global health and women’s economic empowerment. He noted that he knows the future is bright because, in that convention center, he met the people who will be changing the world. To have the encouragement and approval of these impressive people fuels the change and growth.
I was able to watch the presentations of the top four teams, and I understand what he meant. The world is changing for the better each time an Enactus team sets its sights on a goal.
My own team from UNH Manchester focused on empowering women this year, even creating an app that enables entrepreneurs to obtain grants. Our team was able to place third in the first round of competition.
Rutger Tupper, president of the UNH Manchester Enactus team for the 2015-2016 academic year, has participated in the past two national expositions. He said the depth of all the projects and presentations makes it a tough competition, and he's proud of what his team has accomplished.
“This year it felt like we had a full group of students all dedicated to the program and its goals. Proving this was how our year concluded at this Expo, getting further than any previous UNH team in the past and really improving livelihoods," Tupper said. "I look forward to following my team as they progress for years to come and will continually be involved with Enactus to see change on the global scale."
Kelly Kilcrease, associate professor of business and faculty advisor to the Manchester Enactus team, echoed Tupper's pride, noting that this was the team's most successful competition in its seven year history.
"I cannot be more proud of the accomplishments of the 10 students who comprised the UNH Manchester Enactus team as they represent the important role the University plays in the Manchester economic community," Kilcrease said.
The 2016 national champions, La Sierra University, tackled issues such as the instability of impoverished areas of India by sustaining a cow bank system where cows were sold via loans to women who would then pay back the loan, creating a sustainable system. They also began a mobile grocery store, bringing healthy food options to food deserts — areas of the United States without proper access to grocery stores.
These projects are not just good press, they are good practice. Being a part of this community has allowed me to not only grow as a person but to also have made a difference in the world.
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