Sept. 23, 2016
Enactus Memorial is heading to its ninth international championship, and this time they’re doing so at home.
The second-most successful team in the world with nine national titles and one world cup win to its credit (only University of Gdansky from Poland has more national titles with 12), the team of undergraduate students from Memorial University will take on the best teams in the world at the Enactus World Cup, Sept. 28-30 in Toronto, Ont. Thirty-five teams from around the globe are expected to take part.
“Going to the world cup in Canada is a dream come true,” said Emily Bland, president of Enactus Memorial and a commerce student at the Faculty of Business Administration. “For many of us, this will be our only opportunity to represent our country at home on a world stage. There is such as sense of pride being a home country at a world competition.
“But with that excitement also comes a lot of pressure. There are over 500 Canadian students who will attend, all of whom we have competed against to win the national cup. We want to make every single one proud that we are representing them at the global competition.”
Enactus Memorial has been preparing for the world cup since winning nationals for the ninth time in May (making them the most successful team in Canada) by working on expanding its signature project, Project Sucseed.
Project Sucseed uses hydroponic technology to grow affordable produce as a means of addressing food insecurity in isolated regions of the province. Through Choices for Youth in St. John’s, it also provides employment to at-risk youth to manufacture the hydroponic units.
Originally launched in Rigolet, Labrador, in December, Project Sucseed is now operating in eight communities in Newfoundland and Labrador — St. John’s, Postville, L’Anse au Loup, Grand Falls-Windsor, Rigolet, Lewisporte, Eastport and Northwest River — as well as Florenceville, N.B., and Arviat, Nunavut.
The team is also working with 72 secondary schools to teach students about biodiversity and to grow produce for lunch programs, and they’ve implemented Project Sucseed in five retirement homes, two soup kitchens and one correctional facility.
Aside from focusing on the growth of its programs, Enactus Memorial has had to figure out a way to tell the story of the project’s impact in a meaningful way that will capture the attention of the judges at the world cup, many of whom may have already seen the team’s presentation at nationals.
“We have 17 minutes to explain the impact we’ve had over 365 days,” said Prof. Lynn Morrissey, faculty advisor for Enactus Memorial and an assistant professor of communications at the business faculty. “Telling our story is not easy, and we go through many, many versions of our script before being satisfied.
“Every student on our world cup team was chosen because of a proven commitment to what we do,” Prof. Morrissey added. “The critical preparation for the world cup is a continued focus on our projects. We are working hard to ensure the reach and impact are strong, and to show how this has grown since the national competition. We mapped out a detailed strategy, and continue to push ourselves to do more.”
Enactus Memorial’s presentation team recently embarked on a cross-Canada tour where they practised their presentation in front of partners, alumni and other stakeholders and received feedback that they’ll now try to incorporate into the presentation.
Following the world cup event, Enactus Memorial has been invited to give their presentation at the One Young World Summit in Ottawa on Oct. 1. This conference gathers young leaders from around the globe to debate, develop and share innovation solutions for many of the world’s most important challenges.
Ultimately, Ms. Bland says the team wants to perform well at the world cup but also be good ambassadors for Memorial and Canada.
“Our goal for the competition is to welcome teams from around the world to Canada. We want to share our project with people around the world and gain partnerships that can help us expand the project.”
The Enactus World Cup hasn’t been held in Canada since 2005. Enactus Memorial won the world cup in 2008, was the runner-up in 2007 and placed third in 2009.
Enactus is a student-run volunteer group, part of an international non-profit organization that mobilizes university and college students to develop outreach projects that improve the quality of life and standard of living of people in need through the application of business processes and models.
The Memorial team currently involves nearly 70 undergraduate students from the faculties of business, humanities and social sciences, engineering and science. Together, they run 13 community projects.
“The world cup is different from other competitions, and while it’s easy to get caught up in the competition itself, I remind the students to also take the time to enjoy the experience,” said Prof. Morrissey. “We will compete against 34 other national champions. These are the best teams in the world and all have had a real impact. To know that you are part of something that has such global impact is truly special.”