20 July 2012
Ventures which helped clothe homeless children in the Philippines and plant more trees locally were among the initiatives presented by University of the Sunshine Coast students at a Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) National Conference in Melbourne.
USC SIFE was among 24 Australian universities to present the outcomes of their projects to a panel of judges – drawn from the Australian business community – over the three-day event from 11-13 July.
A team of 19 USC students who attended the event included project presenters Corrine Smallman, Amy Jones, Valentino Escalona and Marina De Jager.
USC SIFE President Marina De Jager said while official feedback from the judges was still to come, the judges were impressed by USC SIFE’s three projects; 100 Trees, HYPE 4 SIFE and The Kuya Collaborative.
“This year we were able to present our first international project The Kuya Collaborative – a project aimed at clothing street children in the Philippines – so we had a local, national and an international project to show judges,” she said.
“The storyline to our projects is that we are building communities and changing lives within those three target markets. The judges were also impressed with the size of our team given we are a smaller regional university.”
USC SIFE presented 100 Trees as its local project which involved nurturing seedlings in biodegradable coffee cups which were later replanted on campus. The inaugural HYPE 4 SIFE Conference for SIFE teams from across Queensland and the Northern Territory was the USC team’s national project.
“There was so much hype about the success of that conference that Melbourne University have contacted us and asked us if our template of the conference can be used for future HYPE 4 SIFE conferences, regardless of where they are held,” Marina said.
She said SIFE members had returned to the Sunshine Coast eager to start on new projects and secure a sponsorship deal.
“There is something really rewarding about being part of an organisation like SIFE,” Marina said. “It also gives you a great feeling to know that you’ve impacted on people’s lives, and it creates a great culture and community within the university.”
— Michelle Widdicombe