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UC Team Named SIFE Regional Champion

Release Date:  Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Charlotte, NC — The University of Charleston Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team (photo below) was named a Regional Champion at the SIFE USA Regional Competition held in Charlotte, NC, on Monday, March 29. 

The UC students presented a 24-minute multi-media summary of the educational outreach projects they developed and implemented throughout the 2009–10 academic year. Along with approximately 40 other teams, they were judged by a panel of area business and community leaders on how well they created economic opportunity by helping others. Next, the team will travel to Minneapolis, MN, to compete against other SIFE USA Regional Champions from around the country at the SIFE USA National Exposition, May 11–13. 

This will be the first national appearance for the University of Charleston SIFE team, which was founded in 2005. The team consists of 17 members from 6 states and 4 countries, and has contributed nearly 750 hours of service and leadership to the campus and community this academic year.

The UC SIFE students visited the Brookside Family Center homeless shelter each week throughout the year, teaching the residents financial literacy and success skills.  This included budgeting and resume preparation. According to their advisor, Professor Briana Cicero-Johns, "When I sat at the back of the room at the homeless shelter, watching them teach, I thought my heart would burst I was so proud of them."

"Many residents said they felt more empowered and in control because of the information, and one of the women at the shelter told the students that she had cut her grocery bill in half after listening to them."

Another major project was working with students at Chesapeake Elementary on environmental sustainability. Activities there included information about reducing, reusing and recycling, plus a board game that taught students that they could accomplish more by working together.

Cicero-Johns, a professor of business and management at UC, was named a Sam M. Walton Free Enterprise Fellow in recognition of her leadership and support of the SIFE program at the University of Charleston. "I am so proud of our University of Charleston SIFE students," said Cicero-Johns. "They were committed to developing meaningful outcome-based projects and programs this year, and presented their work beautifully at regional competition."

For more information about Students in Free enterprise, visit

The University of Charleston Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team 

Photo: Front Row: Amanda Lloyd, of Flatwoods, WV; Sarah McMullen, of Sistersville, WV, and Ally Lowdermilk, of Carrolton, Ohio. Back Row: Elyse Surbaugh, of Virginia Beach, VA, Heather Cochran, of Belle, WV, Chhongba Sherpa, of Nepal, Erik Hall, of Madison, WV, Yundi "Raymond" Zhang, of China, and Yulin "Jerry" Chen, also of China.

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