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SIFE recognized for regional win

La Verne’s Students In Free Enterprise team won its 2012 regional competition April 5, and was honored last Friday in Morgan Auditorium, where the members spoke about the successful presentation that won them the award. Sophomore Oseas Chavaque explains the team’s endeavor to bring a positive educational environment to underprivileged children in school. The SIFE team will compete in the SIFE USA National Exposition in Kansas City, Mo., from May 22 to May 24. / photo by Mitchell Aleman

Danielle Navarro
Staff Writer

Students In Free Enterprise gave their regional award-winning business presentation in front of dozens of faculty, students and supporters May 4 in Morgan Auditorium.

University President Devorah Lieberman kick-started the event by giving an opening message to the team and the audience.

“SIFE is a winning team,” President Lieberman said. “I’m humbled by what you all have done and produced.”

The event was a celebration of the team’s win at the SIFE USA Western Regional Competition on April 5 in Hollywood.

“I’m really proud of the great job that my team did, and it felt great [to win],” said Melissa Gutierrez, senior business administration major and SIFE presenting member.

The presenting members of the SIFE team received a standing ovation from the audience after their presentation.

“The point of SIFE is helping people,” said Nawal Atoura, senior business administration major and SIFE presenting member.

“Winning the regional competition for that…It’s good justification for what we’re doing.”

The collaborative presentation consisted of six team members taking turns speaking, while a video played behind them in sync with their context.

The video illustrated the points that they covered in their speech.

While the event was meant to celebrate their recent success, it was also designed to show the community what the SIFE team has accomplished and highlight their achievements as a group.

In the past year, SIFE was involved in three major projects: “Let’s Can Hunger,” the LeRoy Hanes Center and the REACH summer business camp for high school students.

They collected over 59 tons of food for their “Let’s Can Hunger” project, which benefited people in need of food.

They also served as motivators and inspirational speakers to many teenagers through their LeRoy Hanes and REACH camp programs.

The REACH summer business camp is one of the best programs that motivates kids to go to college.

Teenagers spend three weeks at ULV and learn important skills about business and college life.

“They give up their time to help with the projects,” Gutierrez said. “It just goes to show how selfless and dedicated they are.”

The motto and main goal of SIFE is to spread “awareness, relief and empowerment.”

“Coming from Compton, I’ve witnessed a lot of these things on a daily basis, so it’s something I can relate to,” sophomore business administration major and SIFE member Oseas Chavaque said.

“Being a SIFE member, I just feel like this is where I belong. I can share what has been given to me and make an impact.”

The members of SIFE showed great pride in the work they have done, and collectively, the group has dedicated more than 17,000 community service hours to all their efforts.

“[What we do] reflects all the core values that our university is founded on, and that’s how it should be,” Chavaque said.

After their presentation, the members of SIFE were awarded with certificates for their hard work.

Atoura and Fillip Marcelin were the recipients of the special “Project Leader” award.

“You can make a difference,” Atoura said. “All it takes is one person.”

The SIFE team will compete in the SIFE USA National Exposition in Kansas City, Mo., from May 22 to May 24.

Danielle Navarro can be reached at

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