The entrepreneurial spirit at The University of Texas-Pan American was recently recognized and awarded at the national level.
UTPA's Collegiate Entrepreneurs' Organization (CEO) chapter won the E-Diffusion first place award at the CEO 2011 National Conference held in Fort Worth, Texas on Oct. 27-29.
"This is the first year in which we participated in this conference, and we won," said Daniela A. Gonzalez, CEO secretary and UTPA business management major. "We are all truly happy and excited with our award and our efforts."
The E-Diffusion Award is given annually to the collegiate chapter that best demonstrates broadening its impact outside of University business colleges and involving non-business school students.
UTPA CEO's award-winning idea was a unique public relations campaign to expose and promote the organization to all students at the University, said Francisco Godinez, CEO president and finance major.
"The main idea was to attract any student of a non-business college to our organization," he said.
UTPA's chapter competed against other CEO chapters from universities such as Brigham Young University, Texas A&M University, University of Miami and host school Texas Christian University. More than 1,000 students from 104 schools attended the conference.
"I was a bit intimidated because at the moment I felt that UTPA is not that big of a school in size or population," Gonzalez said. "We definitely did a good job going up against the bigger schools."
CEO is the premier student entrepreneurship network with chapters on university campuses across North America and beyond.
The organization serves as a platform for more than 400 colleges and universities, helping students achieve their entrepreneurial goals and supporting the dreams of student entrepreneurs with opportunities, events, chapter activities and conference - all to help start businesses and other enterprises.
The UTPA CEO chapter was established in 2009 and most of its current members have been with the organization less than a year.
Willie Lopez, CEO member and UTPA management major, joined the organization this fall semester.
"I was once a student who was just happy with being a student," Lopez said. "The CEO organization has changed the way I think. Plus, I like the fact that I get to network with other people as a member of this organization."
CEO prides itself in having a variety of students from different majors in its organization.
"It's great to have members from different disciplines and not just disciplines that are business-related," said Luis Trevino, CEO member and UTPA graphic design major. "We believe that with our different backgrounds, we can grow as a stronger organization when we combine our talents and strengths together."
For the past year, UTPA's CEO chapter members have participated as volunteers and planners with organizations such as Bizfest, ENCORE Foundation and The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to help develop business plans for their students' competitions.
The organization is currently assisting on a project to provide funds and toys to Rio Bravo Ministries, a nonprofit organization that provides aid to an orphanage across the border in Reynosa, Tamaulipas.
The CEO organization is enthusiastic about its participation in the community, their recent award and look forward to next year's conference.
"This award and recognition encourages us to improve every day as members of our organization and as students," said CEO member Jorge Vivanco. "We want to be ready for next year's conference and hopefully win another award, or awards, for UTPA."
For more information, call (956) 665-7137 or visit www.c-e-o.org.