By Rebecca Brandel
Often times, students who serve on the Executive-Board of clubs on campus will find themselves budgeting large sums of money, dealing with professionals, and planning campus-wide events. With all impressive skills and abilities to grow aside, few clubs find themselves dealing with the “outside world,” consisting of the realm outside of the campus community. Countering this trend, Enactus spreads their work much further than just our campus.
Enactus is an international organization of student teams, guided by academic and business leaders, who create and implement entrepreneurial projects that empower people to transform opportunities into real, sustainable progress and help students develop the kind of talent and perspective that are essential to leadership in an ever-more complicated and challenging world.
This year, the 2016-2017 team presented three of its projects and was represented by Jerry Daigler 17, Sarah DiMayo ’17, Matthew Tanchick ’17, Marissa Watroba ’17, Patrick Murray ’18, and Teddy Benz ’20.
The team showcased the impact of their community outreach efforts at regional competitions with a presentation that includes a 17-minute video, an annual report, and a five-minute Q&A period. Business leaders then rank teams on how successful they were at using business concepts to improve the quality of life and standard of living for those in need.
“Competition is such an initial part of the Enactus experience,” said Patrick Murray, SewREDI Project Manager. “In short, my experience was life-changing. Initially, I was hesitant to join the presentation team as I was terrified of public speaking, yet my peers encouraged me to try out for presentation team and supported me every single step of the way.”
“The late nights spent writing the speech and practicing my lines challenged me in a way that I had never had been previously. Team members became close friends and I believe that the bonds we formed will stand the test of time,” Murray concluded.
Enactus was named regional league champion at the Enactus Regional League Competition held on March 31 in Washington, D.C. They will now advance to compete at the Enactus USA 2017 National Exposition which will be held May 21-23 in Kansas City, Mo. The winner of that competition will represent the USA in September at the Enactus World Cup in London.
The Canisius Enactus community outreach program works with youths on Buffalo’s East Side and refugee clients on Buffalo’s West Side through two diverse projects, with an overarching goal of economic empowerment for all.
In order to make a difference and empower disadvantaged youth, Enactus established the Y.E.S. program, which stands for Youth Entrepreneurial Showcase. Y.E.S. is a year long program that teaches fundamental business and entrepreneurial skills to middle and high school students on Buffalo’s East Side. This program is about intervention, and can make the difference in influencing students on decisions as important as whether or not to stay in school.
Each week, students in Buffalo’s lowest-performing school districts are taught entrepreneurial skills and are even given the chance to design their own t-shirts for sale.
The second project is called SewREDI: the Refugee Economic Development Initiative. The program has a three-part mission of sewing skills education, social inclusion, and economic empowerment.
The SewREDI project teaches refugees who have arrived in Buffalo how to sew by hand, on a sewing machine, and how to design and execute a variety of sewing projects from clothing to home goods. Regular attendees earn their own sewing machine by demonstrating basic sewing skills. SewREDI provides fabric, materials, and training, and the refugee members learn to make beautiful bags and home goods to earn income.
100-percent of the profits from purchases go directly to the refugee who made it. SewREDI Buffalo serves people from Bhutan, Nepal, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, Burma, and many more. Many of the members of SewREDI have come to the United States from Bhutan after living in refugee camps in Nepal for up to 20 years.
With Murray as the project manager this past year, there has been an unprecedented growth of the organization, which has earned over $18,000 in revenue for its refugee clients. SewREDI is perfect for students who have experience with sewing, are passionate about refugee resettlement or outreach, or who are interested in photography, fashion, digital media arts, or marketing.
“Enactus at Canisius changed the direction of my life. The mindset of ‘what can we give to our community,’ and the abundance Canisius Enactus creates for you, completely changed the direction of my life overnight,” said Matthew Tanchick, President of Enactus. “Although I didn’t know it at the time, three years later I’ve been following that path and it has led me to a completely new and happy destination. I am excited for the next year and next 10, 20 years from now because of the mindset I live in daily, created by Enactus.”
The majority of the clubs participating members this year are seniors and will be leaving the school in May. As a result, Canisius Enactus definitely needs new members next year. No matter what your interests are or what you study, Enactus can provide each Canisius student professional opportunities that will help them gain a perspective on life they may not have been able to find elsewhere.