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UTPA Students in Free Enterprise team cited on Kellogg's box
Posted: 09/16/2003
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When you pick up your next box of cereal at the store, take a look at the back of the current Kellogg's Frosted Flakes or Corn Pops box. There you will find The University of Texas-Pan American's Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team mentioned as the third runner-up in a national SIFE competition. In Tony the Tiger's terms, they were Grreat!

SIFE is a global non-profit education organization founded in 1975, which is active on more than 1,400 campuses in 33 countries. On the UTPA campus since 1988, SIFE, partnering with businesses and higher education, organizes and motivates teams of university students to develop projects to improve the quality of life and living standard in their community and around the world by employing principles and values of market economics.

The University of Texas-Pan American's 2002-2003 Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team recently placed as third runner-up in the National SIFE competition. Recognized nationally with their team name on Kellogg's Frosted Flakes and Corn Pops boxes, the team members included from left to right in the front row: Carla Gomez, Belinda Magdaleno, Rafael Sierra, Roxanne Rodriguez and Janet Hernandez. In the middle row are Isaac Sagredo, Jesus Dazael Gonzalez, Emilio Santos, Juan Casas, and Javier Martinez. In the back row are Sam Diaz, SIFE adviser and UTPA assistant director of New Student and Visitor Services, Eder Davila, David Gonzalez, Jorge Reyes and Roel Cantu.
Eder Davila, a senior majoring in finance and SIFE president, said SIFE helped make his idea of refurbishing old computers to give to colonia families, a project the UTPA team called Cybertex, come true.

"SIFE is about changing the world - that is the SIFE logo," said Davila, who also gained self confidence from being involved. "SIFE removed my fear to go in and talk to a CEO or a manager."

Each year a national SIFE competition is held among university teams from across the United States judged by national business leaders. SIFE teams present oral, audio-visual and written summaries of their educational outreach projects and are judged on which team did the best job teaching and equipping others with the tools necessary for success including business ethics, entrepreneurship, personal and financial success and free market economics.

Stating the competition win was "more than a name on a cereal box," Sam Diaz, SIFE advisor and assistant director of UTPA's New Student and Visitor Services, said SIFE involvement has taught the students about the global business economy and to always, "think globally but act locally."

"SIFE also teaches the students that they have no boundaries and to always strive for excellence. They also develop the confidence to communicate with top U.S. executives and to be innovative in their actions," Diaz said.

Starting later than most other teams competing and with a smaller budget, the UTPA team placed third behind winner Drury University, Missouri, first runner-up University of Arizona and second runner-up John Brown University, Arkansas. Winners receive monetary prizes and national recognition through the cereal box features from Kellogg USA, Inc. The first place team goes on to compete in an international competition. In reaching their third runner-up position, the UTPA team defeated last year's world champion La Sierra University in California.

Besides Cybertex, some of the other projects developed and executed by the UTPA team included Corporate Challenge, in which 40 fifth graders in the Valley were personally taught about business and corporate America by SIFE members employing the Internet and the Wall Street Journal; Evergreen Technologies, a project in partnership with several elementary schools, the Boys and Girls Club and a local bank that provided affordable computers to poor children in four schools as well as teaching the students business, marketing and selling skills; and SIFE Out to Africa, which provided assistance to a local entrepreneur to develop a market need, feasibility study, web page and an international business plan to export used clothing to Africa.

Isaac Sagredo, a senior majoring in management and SIFE Chairman of the Board, said one of SIFE's newest projects is called the Rio Grande Valley Consulting Project, which is open to any business in the Valley that might have a marketing or other type of problem in their business. The SIFE team will work with and assist the business with a new business, feasibility or marketing plan. "We already have three businesses that we are working with," Sagredo said.

In an awards and recognition ceremony held Sept. 11, Segredo thanked the SIFE members, the business community, the University and family members for their support, both monetary and emotional. SIFE awarded five plaques, including one to Dr. Gilbert Cardenas, UTPA professor of economics and finance and last year's SIFE advisor, and another to Glenn Roney, Texas State Bank President and CEO, who donated the bank's old, warehoused computers for SIFE's use in some of its projects.

In accepting the SIFE trophy for the University, UTPA Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Rodolfo Arévalo said he has seen SIFE become very successful in its activities this past year. "UTPA is very proud of SIFE and its accomplishments," he said.

For more information on SIFE log on at their web site at www.sife.org or contact Sam Diaz via e-mail at diazsam@panam.edu or Isaac Sagredo at isagredo@aol.com

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