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Enactus Team from Evangel University excels at nationals

Published on May 13, 2019 by Paul K. Logsdon

The Evangel University Enactus team practice prior to their presentation at the National Exposition in Kansas City. // PHOTO PROVIDED

SPRINGFIELD, MO — Evangel University business students returned from the 2019 Enactus USA National Exposition with two trophies and $4,000 for their efforts. The Expo was held May 5-7 in Kansas City.

Enactus is an international organization that helps college students connect what they are learning in the class room to real life through entrepreneurial projects and community outreaches.

The Evangel team won the Jack Shewmaker Enactus Spirit Award for 2019. The honor came with a trophy and $2,000 award.

“The award is designed to recognize an Enactus team that demonstrates a strong commitment to improving the lives of others and furthering the Enactus mission with the utmost passion and enthusiasm,” said senior Rebecca Varju. “For the first time ever Evangel University submitted a video, and we won!”

On the National Competition side of the Expo, nearly 100 schools traveled to Kansas City this year and were divided into 16 leagues.

“Teams are judged on their 17-minute memorized presentation that must cover needs assessment, people impacted, and sustainability of each project,” said senior Daniel Philpot, executive director of the team.

“Following the presentation, each team fields questions from judges during a five-minute Q&A time.”

The Evangel team won its first round and advanced to the Sweet 16.

In the semi-final round, Evangel finished second, ranking them between 5th-8th in the nation. They lost to BYU-Hawaii, who went on to claim the title of National Champion. (see sidebar)*

The Evangel University Enactus team on stage in Kansas City, following the semi-final round of competition. The EU team is under the BYU logo. // PHOTO PROVIDED

Reward and Motivation

“The Enactus National Exposition is the highlight moment of the year for Enactus members,” said Sandy Cassell, assistant professor of business and Enactus advisor at Evangel.

The University sent 16 students, plus Cassell and Dr. Eveline Lewis, Business Department chair, to this year’s national competition.

“The Expo allows students an opportunity to see the projects other Enactus teams are doing, to network with students and recruiters, and to get inspired for the upcoming year,” added Cassell. “It serves as both a reward for all the volunteer work they did, and a motivator to continue to use their talents to serve others.”

Dr. Lewis concurred. “The students have worked very hard this past year. We are very proud of their achievements,” she said.

Serving the Springfield community

Enactus is an international organization (formerly known as SIFE, or Students in Free Enterprise) that connects students with academic and business leaders through entrepreneurial-based projects. Those projects are designed to empower people with sustainable programs for themselves and their communities.

The Enactus motto is A Head for Business, A Heart for the WorldTM  and there are 404 active teams in the U.S., engaging 10,183 college students in more than 665 community projects.

According to Terran Tipps, senior business management major at Evangel, “We are able to have success because of the amazing values instilled in each and every team member to engage in business that helps people.”

Tipps serves as finance director for the Evangel team. “Our 10 project teams, and 63 members work diligently to engage in meaningful work, ensuring that our entrepreneurial action changes the community and world that we live in.”

This year, Evangel presented at the national Expo on five of their team projects, including:

• Kore Strength is an international project worked with I Pour Life, that seeks to end the cycle of poverty and social isolation in Kore, Ethiopia, by empowering women business entrepreneurs. The students fundraised $30,000 to build a washhouse facility to offer availability to clean hygiene stations in the community. The building will also include business stalls to provide a hub for commerce.

• Locally, the BizKids team seeks to tackle poverty at the youngest generation. Evangel has developed a financial literacy program targeted at 3rd-5th graders that teaches effective budgeting techniques, and financial literacy.

“We are partnering with local schools and rerouting the futures of elementary students, building a base of financial literacy in order to break the cycle of poverty in their families and in their communities,” said senior Allison Newport.

• On campus, the Go Green team launched a composting initiative and pilot study at Evangel, and they took steps to improve recycling awareness on campus.

• The Survival Kits project brought in more than $15,000 in revenue this year, with 66% profit margins. The students developed a new healthy kit for parents to have more options, and they launched a Birthday Kit project.

• The Enactus students also launched a brand new website platform that gives the Evangel Community — including parents, alumni, and students — the ability to read and engage with their projects. It is now the home of the online store where parents can purchase Survival and Birthday Kits.

The Evangel University Enactus team let off some stress after the competition at the National Exposition in Kansas City. // Lillian W Photography


“Leader of the Year” honors

One Evangel student advanced to the final round and two other students were selected as semi-finalists for the “Enactus USA Leaders of the Year” program. A total of 41 students from 404 U.S. Enactus teams were honored to attend the Expo as semi-finalists in five categories available this year.

Terran Tipps, senior management major from Castle Rock, Colorado, advanced to the final round of the “Finance Leader of the Year” category (top three).

Rebecca Varju, a senior marketing major from Oak Creek, Wisconsin, was a semi-finalist in the “Marketing Leader of the Year” category.

Allison Newport, a senior management major from Andover, Kansas, was a semi-finalist in the “Membership Leader of the Year” category.

Last year (2018) was the first year for these leadership awards, and Evangel students were honored to achieve two of the three categories offered — Joshua Clark was named the first-ever “Executive Leader of the Year” and Evan Masters was named the first-ever “Project Leader of the Year.”

International Competition

As National Champions, the students from BYU-Hawaii are qualified to continue and compete at the Enactus World Cup this September 16-18, in San Jose, California.

Founded in 1975 in the U.S., there are active Enactus groups on more than 1,730 college and university campuses in 36 countries.

According to their research, there are more than 72,000 students participating in Enactus programs around the world, impacting nearly two-million people a year.

EU Business Department

The Evangel University Department of Business offers a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with majors in accounting, business education, computer information systems, finance, management, marketing, and nonprofit business & social enterprise.

Evangel’s College of Adult and Graduate Studies also offers online and seated programs for a Bachelor of Science in Management and a Master of Organizational Leadership.

For more information, visit the Evangel University Department of Business or contact Eveline Lewis at (417) 865-2811 ext. 4117.




“How the Competition Works,” by Rebecca Varju

Enactus USA National Exposition brings together Enactus teams from across the nation to present on their projects and compete for the title of Enactus USA National Champion. Nearly 100 schools traveled to Kansas City from May 5th to May 7th this year.

  • The teams were divided into 16 leagues. Each team is given a time slot to present in a room filled with judges and audience members.
  • Each team is given three minutes to set up their Audio/Visual (projector, video and/or PowerPoint slide); 17 minutes to give their presentation, and a limited time for judges Q&A.
  • An annual report is also handed to each judge. This report helps judges better understand and retain the information that is presented in the short time frame, highlights finances, and other beneficial information. Every judge has a judging sheet that is scored during the presentation and then calculated after to place each team in their earned position.
  • After the opening round, there is an awards ceremony to announce the winner of each league. The top three of each league is brought on stage and announced in the order of 3rd, 2nd, and then 1st.
  • Following that announcement each school sends their Sam Walton Fellow (faculty advisor) and one representative back on stage to select their slot and league for the next semi-final round of competition.
  • The next day, each team presents again in front of even more judges and audience members at a chance to place in the top four of the nation.
  • On Tuesday night there was another ceremony to crown the winner of the four remaining leagues. All four teams are brought on stage and announced in the order of 4th, 3rd, 2nd, and 1st place.
  • The school in 1st place for each league advances to the final round, which is presented on stage in front of all the judges and remaining audience members.
  • After the top four presents on the main stage, Enactus USA crowns the National Champion.