Socially responsible student group looking to grow

Dr. Eden Blair, lower right, and student members of Enactus pose with some knitted hats from The Fiber Universe, a local shop the group helped with its marketing plan and online presence.

October 10, 2012

By Frank Radosevich II

In the world of business, many people believe that profits are paramount. But one student group at Bradley is trying to change that focus by working with socially responsible businesses while simultaneously gaining entrepreneurial and leadership skills.

The nonprofit organization, Enactus, formerly called SIFE, or Students in Free Enterprise, encourages students to take the business skills they learn in the classroom and put them into practice on campus, in the community and beyond. Enactus members have been at work for more than a year at Bradley and are looking to grow their ranks.

“You can see a difference in what you’ve done,” said Danielle Rouille, a senior studying international business and co-president of Bradley’s chapter of Enactus.

Rouille and other members recently returned from a conference in Washington D.C. where the group heard experts lecturing on business topics such as branding, career choices and leadership skills. The weekend conference also featured a job fair with recruiters.

“It was a great networking opportunity,” Rouille said. “We got to personally meet with some businesses.”

Bradley Enactus has already helped one local business improve their financial literacy and develop their website and search engine optimization. The group consulted with The Fiber Universe, a local retail shop supplies knitters, crocheters, and spinners with fiber from local sheep, llama and alpaca farms in the area.

The group is already seeking out other ventures to work with, said Dr. Eden Blair, assistant professor of entrepreneurship and the group’s faculty advisor. Their projects aim to hit the three pillars of sustainable businesses: making a profit, helping people and protecting the planet.

“We want to make an impact in all three pillars,” she said. “It teaches students business skills but also teaches them about issues in their own backyard.”

Dr. Blair said while students in Enactus hail mostly from the Foster College their interests fall within careers outside of the traditional business world. The group, in fact, is looking to recruit members from across campus.

“Most of our students want more than money; they want to make a social change,” she added.

Students interested in joining Enactus can email either Rouille at drouille@bradley.edu or Dr. Blair at esblair@bradley.edu or visit the group’s Facebook page.