In order to connect with business leaders while helping out in the community, the Cabrini business department started Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE), an international non-profit organization that encourages students to have “a head for business, and a heart for the world.”
SIFE is in its first year at Cabrini and already has big plans for those involved in the organization. SIFE started when business professors Ann Servey and Erin McLaughlin discussed the idea of starting a SIFE organization on campus.
SIFE poses obvious benefits for Cabrini business students because the mission of both SIFE and Cabrini coincide.
“There is a link between Cabrini’s mission and the mission of SIFE and when you look at the mission statement, it says a head for business, a heart for the world,” McLaughlin said.
That mission is closely linked to Cabrini’s “education of the heart.”
“When you think of Cabrini’s tagline, education of the heart, it is a no-brainer,” McLaughlin said. “It makes perfect sense to see the connection and to offer a program like this to Cabrini students.”
The hope is that through SIFE, students will be able to apply business concepts learned in class and use it in a positive way to empower those in need. So far, there are seven project teams, which compose of approximately four students each. These teams will work with organizations such as Philadelphia Cares and Crabby Creek to do various service projects that will benefit people regionally, nationally and globally.
By partnering with these outside organizations, students will be working on projects that have to do with topics such as environmental sustainability and microlending.
One group, led by McLaughlin, will be working with orphans in Swaziland, helping them sell arts and crafts while planning for their futures. The Cabrini SIFE group will be in charge of making a business plan and then implementing it and creating a website to sell the crafts so the orphans will be better able to plan for their future, such as saving for college or starting their own businesses.
“Many children in Swaziland live in extreme poverty and are orphans, having lost one of both parents to AIDS. The goal is to establish an economically viable small enterprise for the children, to make bracelets and journals to sell and set up a small savings account for their future,” Jamie Trommelen, sophomore accounting major and president of SIFE, said.
Trommelen is looking forward to making a difference in someone else’s life, as well as seeing the service projects put into action. Aside from making a difference, being involved in SIFE is an excellent networking opportunity for students.
“Being involved in SIFE brings us into contact with colleges and universities and many leading companies who support the SIFE organization,” Trommelen said. “Being involved in SIFE can open up many career opportunities we didn’t have before.”
McLaughlin feels that students will reap many benefits from being involved in this organization.
“You have the obvious benefits that they are learning to get involved in helping others in need, working with communities, the positive feelings of helping others. Another aspect is competing with others students regionally, nationally and potentially globally at some point on their projects,” McLaughlin said.
At the moment, SIFE is composed of mostly accounting and business students but Trommelen hopes to expand it to a campus-wide organization available to students in all majors.