Berg Enactus – the campus chapter of the global Enactus organization that facilitates students to become social entrepreneurs – has been reinvigorated, thanks to the efforts of a new group of ’Berg business students. The faculty advisors say it’s going stronger than ever with the students who have stepped up to lead the process.
This year, about 14 students decided to join Berg Enactus. The advisors are Marketing Professor Dr. Salil Khetani and Accounting Professor Scott Miller.
After some serious brainstorming, the students decided to create and execute three community-minded projects, each at different stages of progress and each led by students who stepped up to lead their teams.
One group, led by freshman sport management and exercise science major Conor Sukel, is focusing on healthy lifestyles for all ages through their Gym Class Heroes Program. The second group, led by sophomore business administration major Kaidan Mathias, aims to uplift less fortunate children by remembering them on “off” holidays through their Enact-Gift program. The third group, led by Lillian Robeson, a junior business administration major, is in the early stages of building a campus recycling program.
Gym Class Heroes
A lot of research and planning went into the creation of Gym Class Heroes, according to Conor, the project manager. He was interested in a project “that works for people of all ages to improve overall health.”
Conor reached out to the Tiffin Community YMCA about partnering with Berg Enactus; it seemed like a natural fit since the Y already has facilities and may seem less intimidating than an actual gym.
The group launched Gym Class Heroes on January 17 as a trial run. The free class is being offered twice weekly through April 20 from 5:30-6:15 p.m. in the Y’s fieldhouse. Currently, the participants range in age from 8 to 12. In addition to serving as instructors along with other student volunteers, the Berg Enactus students are responsible for planning fun and interesting fitness activities that expose the youngsters to a variety of forms of exercise. They begin with warmups, then charge on to games like tag and hula hoop, and throw in some light exercises and cool-down too. They are even incorporating some yoga.
“We want the kids and adults to see that you don’t have to play a traditional sport like basketball, football, volleyball or soccer to be active,” Conor said. “Not everyone is an athlete but most everyone can be active to improve their health.”
One of the goals for the class is to reinforce the message that exercise is enjoyable. “We want the kids to have fun and learn about exercise without even realizing they are learning about a positive habit that they can take with them throughout their lives,” he said, adding that he hopes parents will see the value of exercise too.
Conor said his group hopes the Y will want the class to return after this semester; ultimately, they’d like to also expand it to schools, other YMCAs and health clubs.
“The goal is to get everyone to be active. Right now, we’re just working with kids, but eventually we hope to be working with adults as well to make physical activity a part of people’s daily routine.”
The Enact-Gift team recognized the efforts to support less fortunate children at Christmastime but wondered how they could step in to make sure these children feel special on the other holidays throughout the year too.
Project manager Kaidan explained that the group wanted to create a program that would be sustainable throughout the year, so they gathered up a list of holidays and then surveyed teachers in Seneca County for their interest in participating.
“We really want to help as many kids as we possibly can, make them feel loved by the community and not alone,” she said.
The Enact-Gift group has targeted Valentine’s Day for their first effort. So far, they have heard from 14 teachers who are interested in participating. The group will be providing supplies to the teachers, who will then plan special events around the specific holiday for their students.
“We have a lot of balloons so far,” Kaidan said. “But we also have goals, and that’s where community donations come in.” The four-person Enact-Gift team is planning to hit the pavement, visiting businesses to seek donations to support students and teachers during future holidays such as Easter, back-to-school and Thanksgiving, she added.
Currently, they’re drumming up support from prospective sponsors by hanging flyers and reaching out via social media. “Eventually, we will need to start doing our own fundraisers for some of the events,” Kaidan said. “We do want to do this next year and the year after that.”
The group has learned a lot so far about how to start up a project, create a business plan, raise funds and design materials – all fundamental skills they’ll need for a business career.
Another benefit: providing a service to the community. “I’m glad we get to actively help the community instead of just watching other people do it. We get to participate,” Kaidan said.
Campus recycling project
In its early stages of development and as-yet-unnamed, the third Berg Enactus team was looking for a project that is out of the box. The four-person team settled on creating a campus recycling program.
Project manager Lillian explained that the group wants to set up recycling bins for water bottles, which would then be recycled to turn the plastic into fabric for reusable bags. The group envisions the bags being sold at venues such as grocery stores and farmer’s markets to produce revenue.
“Our main goal is just to reduce the use of plastic,” Lillian explained. “The challenge we have is to find a place that will work with us to turn the recycled bottles into fabric.”
Currently, the group is working on its business plan and has met to discuss their ideas with campus administrators.
“We’re still working out a lot of the details,” said Lillian, who came on board to Berg Enactus after the fall semester started.
Although their project is still in the formative stages, Lillian already recognizes the value of having the support of Enactus.
“If you want to go into the business world and be involved in the creation of a project, having guidance is very important,” she said. “It’s definitely nice to get a jump-start on how to make business plans, organize a group and grow your network and get outside of your comfort zone.”