Kokomo, Ind. - “For today’s college student, achieving success isn’t just about personal fulfillment, but becoming someone your peers can look up to.” This is the heartfelt motto for Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE), a student-run organization at Indiana University Kokomo.
But what does SIFE really mean? It means community outreach and support through charity, education, and personal development in an economical fashion. SIFE ventures into the community and assesses the need.
With a new president this semester, Kristianna Upchurch, and membership rising from 15 to more than 40, SIFE members are as enthusiastic as ever and are ready to help the community.
“I like to help, and I like to make things more efficient,” said Upchurch, who began her position ready to start working.
Plans are in the works for beneficial workshops and exciting events to positively impact the community.
For example, SIFE volunteers at the Howard County Domestic Violence shelter each semester. During the spring of 2011, SIFE organized a business workshop to teach women how to apply for jobs and create résumés.
Because of their outstanding leadership throughout the community, SIFE received grant money that was used to purchase computers, notebooks, and GED practice books for the women at the shelter. This semester they are planning to help the women prepare for the GED test.
Upchurch also sits on the Board of Directors for the Gilead House, which is a resource center for those with chemical and substance abuse. SIFE will help the men and women of the Gilead House find jobs by creating employment folders and reaching out to employers in the community.
In addition, the group plans to collect household goods for members of the Gilead House that will supply them with items like toilet paper, laundry detergent, and personal care products.
Another community-focused project is “Let’s Can Hunger,” where SIFE conducts a food drive for the local food pantry. Last year, the group collected 5,044 cans to donate to the community. With their many new and willing members, the group expects to increase that number this year.
Upchurch’s role in SIFE is very important to her because she likes to help people, and hopes to one day become a hospital administrator. She currently works at Wishard Hospital in Indianapolis as a pharmacy technician.
“I want to be a good communicator. Sometimes the communication is lax and even nonexistent. I want to put the people first while being as efficient as possible,” she said.
With a helpful and dedicated president like Upchurch and a group of committed members, SIFE will greatly impact the community in a positive way.
Mary Olk is a junior majoring in Communications and is an intern in the Office of Media and Marketing at Indiana University Kokomo.