USD's SIFE team competed against four teams: AIB College of Business from Des Moines, Iowa; Dakota Wesleyan University; University of St. Thomas of St. Paul, Minn.; and Southwest Minnesota State University. Each team was evaluated by a panel of judges with two schools, USD and Southwest Minnesota State University, advancing to the 2009 National Competition, which is in Philadelphia, Pa., May 10-12. It’s the eighth consecutive year that SIFE at USD has qualified for nationals.

SIFE encourages students to complete service-learning projects that teach lessons outside the classroom using real-life situations. Each project, according to Erin Alberts, SIFE vice president and project manager, must meet at least one of six judged criteria, including market economics, ethics, environmental sustainability, financial literacy, entrepreneurship and success skills. USD's SIFE team completed a total of 15 projects this year.

"We're a business-related club," described Alberts, a marketing major from Rapid City, S.D. "However, we're proud to say that we have 19 diverse academic majors within our organization. We are constantly seeking diverse members who have ideas for great projects."

In addition to Alberts, members of the SIFE Executive Team at USD includes Dustin Hoellein, SIFE president, of Athol, S.D., Jenna Lee, vice president of human resources, from Sioux City, Iowa, Allison Wik, vice president of public relations, from Faulkton, S.D., Mandy Fischer, vice president of finance, Yankton, S.D., Chris Olson, vice president of written presentation, Howard, S.D., Monica Gutzman, vice president of speaking team/audio/video, from Vermillion, Tyler Thedorff, vice president of business advisory board, Vermillion, and Adrielle Edwards, project manager, Brookings, S.D.

Founded in 1975 and active on more than 1,500 college and university campuses in more than two dozen countries, SIFE is a non-profit organization that works in partnership with business and higher education to provide students the opportunity to make a difference and to develop leadership, teamwork and communication skills through learning, practicing and teaching the principles of free enterprise.

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