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SIFE preparing for World Cup


Memorial's Students in Free Enterprise award-winning team.

By Jennifer Kelly

SIFE Memorial team members are getting ready for one of the most exciting and challenging experiences of their lives. In two weeks, the national champions will be flying to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to meet student teams from more than 40 countries to compete for the ultimate title of world cup champion.

The mandate of SIFE is to work with leaders in business and higher education to make a difference in their communities, while also developing the skills to become socially responsible business leaders. The team has been busy fulfilling this mandate all year long and to winning results: at the recent national competition, the team beat out 50 other teams to win the national competition title. Two months prior, they won the regional championship, placing first in all three topic competitions.

Despite these triumphant wins, the team makes it clear there's more to their work than just winning.

"At the world cup, we will not only be competing for SIFE Memorial, the province and Canada – we will also be competing for the over 5,000 people who have been impacted by our projects," declared Danielle Seward, vice-president, SIFE. "The world cup is an opportunity to tell their story to the entire world and this is just as important to us competing."

In fact, this is so important to the team that their entire presentation will be comprised of individual stories about the people they have worked with and whose lives have been positively impacted by a SIFE project.

The three days of competition, running Oct. 3-5, will be intense and jam packed. The first day will be opening ceremonies, featuring a cultural fair where each participating country will showcase their unique culture at a display booth. The team's Canadian booth will be complete with hockey jerseys and a Newfoundland element – a stuffed puffin for guests to kiss as part of a mock Screeching-in ceremony.

The rigorous competition begins early the next day, with the winning team from that day's competition advancing to the semi-finals. The last competition day will have the semi-finals starting early; five teams will be chosen to compete in the final round, also held the same day. The winning team will then be announced by the end of the day.

Ms. Seward has attended regional and national competitions before, but never a world competition. "The chance to represent your country is a huge responsibility and opportunity, both for the team and for me personally," said Ms. Seward. "I have a lot of mixed emotions, but I am so excited to go."

No matter what the outcome, the sense that the team is already a winner is very prominent in the Faculty of Business Administration, home to the team's faculty adviser, assistant professor communications, Lynn Morrissey. "I am so proud of the work the team continues to do and of the impact they continue to make," said Prof. Morrissey. "To represent our country on an international stage is truly an honour and we are excited and ready to showcase our successes to the world."

Like Ms. Seward, Prof. Morrissey also feels the difference the team is making in the community is the most important accomplishment. "We are going up against the best teams in the world and winning would be nice, but knowing we are making a difference in our world is the true crowning achievement for us."

Win or no win, right now the team is focused on preparing. The team has been meeting five to six nights per week to develop the presentation script and design. Following this, the team will have to memorize the lines of the presentation. Even after this initial prep work is completed, the team will continue to revise the presentation right up until they walk onto the stage in Malaysia. "We will continue revising it until it is the absolute best," said Ms. Seward.

How does the team stay motivated during these long, hard-working days? "We stay motivated by staying true to our goal," shared Ms. Seward. "That goal is to create a better Newfoundland, a stronger Canada, and most of all, a world of opportunity."

SIFE Memorial will be showcasing their World Cup presentation at a special event on Sept. 24, at 4 p.m. at the Bruneau Centre, room 2001. All members from the public and media are welcome to attend and can RSVP to Kaitlin Smith at ksmith@sifememorial.ca.

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