Salve’s Enactus chapter earns accolades at USA National Expo 2020
Salve Regina’s chapter of Enactus, the world’s largest experiential learning organization focused on building relationships with businesses, schools and other community partners in need, garnered two major honors during recent competition at the Enactus USA National Exposition 2020.
The Salve Regina students placed second overall to Oklahoma State University in the Expo’s first-ever Early Stage Competition, which was conducted online due to the coronavirus pandemic, and financial management major Miranda Benoit ’22 was named a Top 3 Enactus Chapter President in the United States.
College teams competing in the Early Stage track submitted pre-recorded video presentations of their projects and participated in live Q&A sessions with the Enactus judges. Overall, the teams were scored on their efforts to define a need, pursue entrepreneurial leadership, work toward positive impact, focus on long-term sustainability and effectively communicate their project. Joining Oklahoma State in Salve Regina’s division were Johns Hopkins University, Shippensburg University and Penn State University Park.
In addition to Benoit, members of Salve Enactus who participated in the Q&A included Amanda Corp ’20, vice president of competition; Saarah Papineau ’23, project manager; Jett Hughes ’23 and Jasmine Jobe ’23. Other competing team members included Caroline Chapell ’23, Andrew Kleczkowski ’22, Peter Sullivan ’21, Chase Freiman ’21, Annie Southard ’23, Garret Aube, Jasper Khambaylarsirikul ’21, Grace Lamanga ’23 and Ansen Cassady ’22.
“The great thing about Enactus is you need a very diverse group of people to make a successful project,” Benoit said. “Our Enactus team has so much talent, from writers to photographers to graphic designers to public speakers to leaders. There were many first year Enactus members on our team this year that stepped up and took on huge roles.”
Salve Regina’s project for the National Exposition featured its partnership with Universal Promise (UP), the Newport nonprofit focused on serving the academic needs of underserved populations. Strategizing with Martha Cummings, UP’s executive director, the Salve Regina Enactus team began building after school programs for students in South Africa to help combat problems associated with idle time. The Salve Regina students developed programs in yoga, chess, debate, various sports and other areas. The students also partnered with La Sierra University’s Enactus team in California to leverage its eLibrary project for implementation in Universal Promise schools.
The national Enactus competition stretched from April 17-May 14, and the concluding week-long Expo attracted 16,000 participants online. Judges included a select panel of executive leaders from companies like BIC, The Boston Consulting Group, Ford Motor Company, Google, Walgreens and more.
“When we found out our Nationals trip to Kansas City was cancelled, we were bummed because it was so much fun last year, and we grew a lot closer as a team in the weeks leading up to it,” Benoit said. “However, I am so proud of how our team adapted quickly to the change in competition format. There is a really great team dynamic and that certainly helped us overcome these obstacles.”
Benoit praised all the support the team received from Salve Regina’s business department faculty and staff, including Bonnie Kennedy, Melissa Varao, Stacey Carter and their Enactus advisor, Gregg Johnson.
“The students on the Salve Regina Enactus team are the very best students I have ever worked with in all of my years in higher education and in my 24 years advising Enactus teams around the country,” said Johnson, lecturer in Salve’s Business and Economics Program and program coordinator in the MBA and management program. “They say ‘yes’ to every challenge, and they succeed at everything they do.”
Salve Regina’s Enactus is only in its second year, having won Rookie of the Year honors at its first national competition. “It only happened because of the effort put forth by the men and women on the team,” Johnson said. “I literally did nothing other than giving them the freedom to pursue their passion. The students ran the projects, they wrote the reports and speeches, and they created the videos. I just watched and smiled.”
To win an award, any award, with Enactus is incredibly challenging, Johnson said, because of the number of teams represented. Founded in 1975, Enactus encompasses 37 countries from around the world. The U.S. operates the largest division of Enactus, with 378 universities and 7,821 student participants.