Sources: Kathy Brockway, 785-826-2695, kjbrock@k-state.edu; and Oscar Rodriguez, 620-290-6562, orodrig@k-state.edu
Hometown connection: Garden City and Salina
News release prepared by: Natalie Blair, 785-826-2642, nblair@k-state.edu

Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011

Hometown Help: Grants to K-State Salina Benefit Local Students, Small Business

SALINA -- A Kansas State University Salina student organization will use two recently awarded grants to help the community.

The Students in Free Enterprise team on the Salina campus has received the 2012 American Free Enterprise Project Partnership grant for $2,000 and the Sam's Club Step Up for Small Business Project Partnership grant for $1,500.

"We are very excited about these two grants and the opportunities they provide for our team to partner with local organizations," said Kathy Brockway, associate professor of business and Students in Free Enterprise team adviser. "The grants will affect a wide variety of people in Salina, from students, to consumers, to business owners."

As part of the American Free Enterprise Project Partnership, the team is partnering with the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce and Salina Area Young Professionals. The grant will be used to create a program that educates local high school and college students about professional opportunities in the area.

Through an application/interview process, eight high school and college students will be selected to participate in the partnership. Participants will attend monthly Salina Area Young Professionals events to network with young professionals and discover local career opportunities.

The program will culminate with an essay contest, judged by representatives of the chamber of commerce. Two winners will receive a $500 scholarship to be used at a local college of their choice.

"Our goal is that this program will help keep homegrown talent at home," said Oscar Rodriguez, junior in engineering technology and technology management, Garden City, and president of the Students in Free Enterprise team.

The $1,500 Sam's Club Step Up for Small Business Project Partnership grant will pair the team with local small business Prairieland Market.

Grant money will be used to purchase reusable shopping bags, which will be provided to Prairieland Market customers. Customers will be encouraged to use the bags each time they shop at any store, not just at the market. In addition, Prairieland Market will run monthly contests on its Facebook page.

"The SIFE team estimates that the bags will keep nearly one ton of waste out of the local landfill," Rodriguez said.

This is the second year that the Students in Free Enterprise team on the Salina campus was selected as a recipient of the Sam's Club Step Up for Small Business Project Partnership grant. Students in Free Enterprise is a student organization dedicated to providing the campus and the community with services that foster financial literacy and create economic opportunity by working and partnering with local and national business leaders.