A group of Waikato University students have won the SIFE (Students In Free Enterprise) National Awards for the second year running. The group will go on to represent New Zealand at the SIFE World Cup in Washington DC this September.
SIFE is a global umbrella for tertiary students to work as a club to use their learning to enhance their local community through economic, social, and environmental initiatives.
The group of eight students, representing the SIFE Waikato team, presented the group’s key projects for 2012 at the New Zealand National SIFE Awards in Auckland last weekend. SIFE Waikato won the national award, beating other finalists AUT and Massey University.
The students presented three of their seven projects at the awards.
Easy Rider is an economic initiative in which students assisted a local company which provides transport for the disabled and elderly to run more economically, ensuring the survival of the business.
The Phoenix Project is a social initiative which saw students assisting Hamilton’s Richmond Centre and Kauri Centre to gain better access to grants and sponsorship to allow at-risk youth to continue education.
The Ripple Effect is an environmental initiative in which Waikato farmers are being encouraged to plant native trees around waterways to reduce nitrogen leaching into the water, together with the research into the eradication of the pest koi carp.
SIFE Student Adviser Dr Heather Connolly says the projects have already been a huge success in the Waikato. “This award is a fantastic recognition of the group’s hard work and achievements this year. They are an incredibly passionate and determined group of students and have put so much of themselves into these projects.”
The students will now go on to represent New Zealand at the SIFE World Cup in Washington DC in the USA, where the top teams from around the globe will compete for the world title. “We have traditionally done very well in the world rankings, coming in runner-up in our league last year in Kuala Lumpur,” says Heather.
“The next challenge is to find the funding to take a team of 10 to the States,” says Dr Connolly. “We are looking for sponsorship from willing businesses to allow our students to take on the world.”
SIFE Waikato has 44 members who are currently studying at the Management School, Faculty of Law, Science and Engineering School and School of Education.