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Sources: Nick Gay,;
and Donita Whitney-Bammerlin, 785-770-0217,

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


MANHATTAN -- The Kansas State University Students in Free Enterprise team has advanced to the 2009 national championship by winning the Students in Free Enterprise USA Regional Competition April 3 in Dallas, Texas.

The Dallas event is one of 16 regional competitions conducted across the nation by Students in Free Enterprise, also known as SIFE. The team now will seek a national championship at the 2009 SIFE USA National Exposition, May 10-12, in Philadelphia, Pa. National champion teams from each country then compete at the SIFE World Cup, Oct. 4-6, in Berlin, Germany.

Participants in the organization use business concepts to develop community outreach projects that improve the quality of life and standard of living for people in need. At Students in Free Enterprise competitions, teams present the results of their projects and are evaluated by business leaders serving as judges.

"Regional competition is always very exciting as we are among thousands of SIFE members and business leaders demonstrating how we have affected our local communities through hands-on projects by teaching market economics, success skills, entrepreneurship, financial literacy, environmental sustainability and ethical business practices," said Nick Gay, senior in electrical engineering, Lenexa, and president of K-State's chapter of Students in Free Enterprise.

During the school year, the K-State Students in Free Enterprise team organized 12 projects in the Manhattan community. The projects include the Global Xchange Game, where members taught market economics to sixth-graders at Bluemont Elementary.

"This is the third year we have offered the game," Gay said. "It is exciting to work with the students as they learn about imports, exports and international trade while having fun. The students were able to manufacture nationally-themed postcards to be sold as a form of their own business to other schools."

The K-State team also offered "McCain Munchies" during performances at K-State's McCain Auditorium, and conducted financial literacy seminars in local high school business classes.

"Led by Kyle Ellrich, senior in accounting from Olathe, 'McCain Munchies' was a fun project where we offered concessions at McCain Auditorium, demonstrating true entrepreneurship by effective budgeting and inventory management," Gay said. "We hope the project also will be a constant funding source for our organization.

"In addition, our financial literacy project, led by Andrew McGraw, senior in management from Salina, has had huge support from teachers at the participating high schools as well as the judges at the regional competition."

Along with Gay, Ellrich and McGraw, other K-State Students in Free Enterprise  members presenting at the Dallas competition included: Nathan Whitcomb, senior in civil engineering, Elmdale; Mallory Ayers, senior in management, Mulvane; Elizabeth "Libby" Lira, junior in business administration, Paxico; and Thomas Rimmer, senior in marketing and management, Salina.

Faculty adviser to Students in Free Enterprise at K-State is Donita Whitney-Bammerlin, instructor of management and a Sam Walton Fellow for Students in Free Enterprise.

Gay said he had some extra incentive to do well at this year's competitions. He is the recipient of the 2008-2009 Jules and Gwen Knapp Students in Free Enterprise National Ambassador Scholarship, which is worth $10,000.

"Winning the scholarship for this academic year has inspired me throughout this past year to spread the word of SIFE throughout K-State and the community," he said. "Upon graduating this year, I feel, along with all of this year's current members, we have set a solid groundwork for next year and many years to come."

Founded in 1975, Students in Free Enterprise has active programs on more than 1,300 college and university campuses in more than 40 countries.