Coker College’s Enactus team was named one of the top 12 in the nation at the Enactus United States National Exposition held May 21-23, 2017, in Kansas City, Missouri. There are more than 450 Enactus teams that compete in regional competitions across the country; the top 105 go on to compete at the National Exposition.
Enactus is an international organization that connects student, academic and business leaders through entrepreneurial-based projects that empower people to transform opportunities into real, sustainable progress for themselves and their communities. Guided by academic advisors and business experts, the student leaders of Enactus create and implement community empowerment projects around the globe.
The national competition gives teams the chance to represent the collective impact of their community outreach efforts. Projects are evaluated on how successful they are at using entrepreneurial concepts to improve the quality of life and standard of living for those in need.
“Being top 12 in the nation has me buzzing with a sense of pride and accomplishment,” says recent Coker graduate and Enactus team member Jesse Sternberg. “Coker has never placed that high so being on the team that raised the bar for further Enactus teams is an amazing feeling.”
During the 2016-2017 academic year, Coker College’s Enactus program was involved with a variety of projects:
- Rent-a-Fridge allows Coker students to rent a mini-fridge during the academic year, providing a more affordable and convenient option for students as well as recurring revenues to support ongoing Enactus projects.
- Aquaponics, a sustainable ecosystem where fish and plants are grown together in one environment, has benefited local nonprofit organizations and expanded all the way to Malawi this past year.
- Kids Can partners with Carolina’s Kids, a local nonprofit, to enhance funding needs and nutritional values of the organization’s weekend food bag initiative for local children.
- Summer Business Academy, sponsored by Wells Fargo, jump-starts high schoolers’ college education by earning three credit hours at Coker College, completely free of charge for all participants.
- Ubuntu-Blox, which is still in the experimental stages, is a wooden press that turns recyclables into sturdy bricks that can then be used for construction purposes, including building houses.
Coker College theater professor Phyllis Fields will be the faculty advisor for Enactus during the 2017-2018 academic year. Regarding the team’s recent achievement, she says, “Attending the National Expo in Kansas City provided an unbelievable opportunity to experience a microcosm of what our students have been doing during the academic year beginning with the amazing projects they created, researched and saw to fruition, to the exceptional presentations they made at the national conferences that garnered them first in their league and then being named a top 12 team. The 30 students exemplified ‘team.’"
The Coker Enactus team had 37 student members (some are 2017 graduates): Alvaro Urena, Anthony Malik, Austin Anderson, Bethany Prochnow, Bradly Lucas, Brandon Mullins, Bryson Conner, Colin Caristi, Destany Gause, Ed Leitgeb, Eion Riley, Emmy Hood, Ethan Cairns, Evan Bachman, Gabriel Castro, Gary Baker, Henrik Hellbe, Jamez Taylor, Jesse Sternberg, João Victor Santos, JT Peagler, Katie Jordan, Kendra Lambert, Kyle Ocker, Lexi Baughman, Luke Elliott, Matt Kron, Meaghan Stevens, Nicholas Perrot, Olivia Avery, Paxton Caristi, RJ Williams, Suzanna Mickey, Sydney Shull, Taylor Gaskins, Walker Barfield and Zane Vanhook.
“Enactus has impacted my personality because before I joined the team, I never knew I could be a leader,” says Sternberg. “Over my two years on this team I learned how to look at things from a different angle, work harder and longer than I ever have, and how to take rejection and disappointment and turn it into something wonderful.”