BC students gain business savvy running a Race To Fight Hunger

Tyler McGinty

You’re eating lunch in a crowded restaurant. You overhear two high-powered executives talking about a meeting with the “London people.” This wouldn’t seem out of place in Wall Street, or even in Los Angeles. It also wouldn’t seem out of place in the Bakersfield College cafeteria, as long as members of Students in Free Enterprise were around.

“One of our focuses is small business. We help them to develop a business plan, and we can help them with marketing,” said SIFE co-president Brittney Clemons. “So we’re helping them, and helping ourselves by learning the various aspects.”

Every year, the students take what they’ve learned and make a presentation about their projects. They compete with other schools on a different theme.

This year, the theme is the triple bottom line: people, planet and profit.

They have a 25-minute presentation and five-minute question period in front of the judges. Then, they present a report detailing whom they helped, how it effected the planet, and how it made a profit.

“It’s like the presentation is our good looks, our project is our personality, and our details are our mind. So we’re like one perfect person,” said Dierdre Dakdduk about their presentation.

On March 14, BC’s SIFE chapter took their project and presentation to the regional competition where they won second place.

“There were a lot of high-profile schools like OSU, Pepperdine, USC, both CalPolys,” said Clemons.

BC’s second place finish in the regional competition, which earned them a spot in the national competition on May 10 in Minneapolis.

The project SIFE just worked on was the Race to Fight Hunger, which was held April 10 at the Kern River Parkway. It consisted of a 5k run and a health resource fair.

The students of SIFE teamed up with Community Action Partnership of Kern Food Bank to raise 5,000 pounds of canned food and raise awareness about Kern County’s hunger issue.

“They say a not-for-profit is harder, because you’re not really offering a product or a service, you’re just asking for money,” said Clemons.

The Race to Fight Hunger is actually part of a competition between schools all over North America, where schools pledge to raise the 5,000 pounds of canned food, and then are judged on how they accomplished it.

But like many actual businesses, SIFE has more than one project running at the same time. Clemons and Dakdduk are also members of a British-run project, although they are on competing teams.

This project, called the Prime Minister Initiative, has three teams: one is entirely British schools, one is entirely Californian schools and one is a mix. Each team has six schools, each with its own specialty such as agriculture or business.

These teams have to take an agricultural product from their area, create a unique dish using it, and then market this dish. The teams will travel to London in June to compete and make their presentations against a notoriously difficult panel of judges in competition against other schools in the PMI.

To inquire about joining SIFE, seek out Gayle Richardson, an accounting and personal finance professor. Maybe you can be the one overheard talking about “London people.”