May 09, 2013 12:00AM
The Pittsburg State University Enactus team now has one more reason to be excited about this month’s national competition.
The team, formerly known as Students in Free Enterprise, found out Wednesday that they were selected as one of eight finalists nationwide in the Sam’s Club “Step Up For Small Business” competition. The grand-prize winner will be announced at the Enactus National Exposition in Kansas City May 21-23.
The PSU Enactus team was selected for their work with the Grace House Event Center in Galena. The small business, owned by Richard and Kay Deardorff, was struggling financially and reached out to Enactus for assistance with business, financial and marketing plans.
Since working with Enactus, the Grace House Event Center has enjoyed greater success.
“Before we worked with them, they were averaging about two events per month,” said Suzanne Hurt, Enactus adviser. “Now, they’re at about nine events per month.”
Hurt said she and the students were excited to be named finalists for the Sam’s Club award.
“I was so excited, I screamed and yelled,” Hurt said. “I’m pretty sure I scared the people outside of my office. I was just so thrilled for our students.”
Hurt said the best part of the experience was writing the proposal for the Sam’s Club award. It was then, she said, that the students realized just how important their education was to real life problems.
“For the proposal, we had to highlight the success we had with the project,” she said. “In doing that and talking it out, you could tell it finally clicked with the students that what they learned in class here truly applied to the real world. It was so great to see that light come on for all of them.”
As one of eight finalists for the Sam’s Club award, Enactus and the Grace House Event Center each received $1,000.
Founded in 1975, Enactus has grown to become one of the largest university-based organizations in the world. Teams are active in more than 40 countries on 1,500 campuses with more than 42,000 participating students around the world.