SIFE promotes social responsibility
Posted April 25, 2008
Sher Porter
In May the members of the Students of Free Enterprise will receive at least one award at the 2008 SIFE national competition. They have already won three awards at the regionals including Clorox corporation market economics, individual top finalist and the discover corporation success skills finalist award. The members live ULV’s mission through promoting community service.

Developing skills for students to become socially responsible business leaders, Students in Free Enterprise are living the University of La Verne’s mission by mobilizing students to improve the lives of others in the world.

This year SIFE set out to sharpen the business skills and overwhelming effort of the organization that gave ULV’s chapter the honor of winning the SIFE National Rookie of the Year award last year.

The 35 members of ULV’s SIFE have affected more than 1,000 youths domestically and internationally, in teaching the five primary skills SIFE holds to: market economics, financial literacy, business ethics, success skills and entrepreneurship, through various projects and programs this year alone.

“Our biggest project was the summer REACH Business camp” Issam Ghazzawi, assistant professor of management and advisor of SIFE, said.

A commitment of over 3,000 hours to the sustainability of educational advancement in the local community is a testimony of student dedication to SIFE on ULV’s campus to “Change the World, One Life at a Time.”

The program was a collaborative effort with the local school districts of Pomona, Ontario and Covina to invite 50 high school students to attend a three-week business camp where they were taught SIFE skills and more.

Students also made progress in educating first generation students at ULV, the girls and boys of the David and Margaret Home and LeRoy Haynes Center.

They even teamed up with a junior high in Mexico to teach students about the different careers available in their communities.

Based on an annual report that showcased these projects and more, SIFE was invited this year, once again, to participate in the regional competition.

ULV faculty and members cannot stress how much the effort and drive of the team was illustrated in its presentation at the regional competition on April 12 in Hollywood.

“The thing that impressed me the most is that these kids are living the University of La Verne’s mission of community service, ” Ibrahim Helou, professor of finance and associate dean of the College of Business and Public Management, said. “Compared to some performances of some schools who have been in that competition for a while, our kids were phenomenal.”

Six members from the SIFE team presented a 24-minute audio and visual style presentation at the regional competition.

They placed first runner-up in the overall competition and won the market economics and success skills individual topic awards.

Unfortunately, the team will not advance to the national competition.
However, a few of the team’s projects will advance in the competition and be judged.

“Overall, I can’t stress enough how much the sheer performance of presenters really showed the success of the business program,” Patrick Lee, senior accounting student and member of SIFE, said.

In relation to the size of ULV when compared to some of the larger universities, ULV’s SIFE team is gaining sizable recognition due to the team’s impact among the more than 1,500 universities within the SIFE network.

“Last time we went to the regional competition not many people knew about the University of La Verne, but now they do,” Ghazzawi said. “I am so happy to know that a few people came to see our presentation because they start to take us very seriously that this is a college to beat.”

After its second year as an established SIFE chapter, the ULV team has much to show for and looks forward to the 2008-2009 year.

Ghazzawi said he believes that a good adviser is a reflection of a great team of students and is in the process of creating another team.

Stephen Roybal, current SIFE team president and senior business major, shared a few words to capture the inspiration SIFE holds for the world.

“We don’t have members. We have leaders paving the way for the advancement of the disadvantaged,” Roybal said.

Tiffany Vlaanderen can be reached at

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