Wednesday, January 16th, 2019

Local chapter of Enactus hosts “Grand Expo,” to showcase community accomplishments

Enactus members pose after a day of cleaning up Back Bay as part of the USM day of service.
Courtesy of Sarah Snowman
Enactus members pose after a day of cleaning up Back Bay as part of the USM day of service.

Posted on April 07, 2015 in News
By Francis Flisiuk

This Wednesday, the USM chapter of the Global Enactus organization will be holding their first annual “Grand Expo,” an event that hopes to spread awareness of the groups presence and highlight some of the work they’ve done to bring the community together and empower people.

“I want to show people the good work we’ve done within our community,” said Sarah Snowman, a senior sustainability business management major, and president of Enactus. “There’s been a kind of abstract vagueness when it comes to telling people what we do.”

Snowman decided to host an event that will ideally help close the gap between Enactus and the rest of the USM community, as well as attract new student members.

“We want to share our story and show the campus what we’ve been up to this past year,” said Snowman. “We’re also trying to increase the diversity of our members.”

So what does Enactus do exactly?

Well according to the official website, it’s part of a larger international organization that connects student, academic and business leaders through entrepreneurial based projects that empower people to transform opportunities into real sustainable progress for themselves and their communities. Apart from USM, the group has chapters in over 1,700 universities and claims to have impacted over 1,925,000 people through their projects.

“One of the things that I love about Enactus is that it lets its members actually make a difference in people’s lives,” said Snowman. “Students that join Enactus want to do something more than just being in classroom; they want to see the bigger picture.”

For Snowman, the bigger picture has been to focus on working with local groups and companies like The Open Bench Project, The Roots Cellar, Jobs for Maine’s Graduates and several local high schools like Bonnie Eagle and Deering High. Along with other small businesses, Snowman and her Enactus members have worked on 25 projects this past year, ranging from marketing campaigns, to increasing environmental sustainability in a workspace, to helping “at risk” high school students learn in the classroom. Enactus has also organized an annual fundraiser run called the “Husky Dash,” which donates 20 percent of its proceeds, to leukemia research at Maine Medical Center.

Snowman encourages everyone to attend the Grand Expo as she other members celebrate some of the groups impact on the local community.

“One of the projects we worked on was teaching students from low-income households the components of a healthy meal,” said Snowman. “So we created our own cookbook, filled with recipes that are both cheap and healthy.”

According to the director of communications for Enactus and senior international and sustainable business management major, Frazier Johnson, Enactus began implementing the metropolitan model through its projects long before USM started calling itself, “Maine’s metropolitan university.”

“I just hope that we’re able to show faculty and students how well we fit into this new metropolitan model,” said Johnson. “Collaboration with local groups is extremely beneficial to the student body. USM’s students can really make change happen in our community.”

Johnson said that his choice to join Enactus lead to an incredibly rewarding experience for him because it required taking the education and skills he’s learned at USM and applying them to real world situations. Apart from that, Johnson also thinks that experience at Enactus will really help his resume shine when searching for jobs post graduation.

“Enactus has also taught me a lot about public speaking and interacting with people from different cultures,” said Johnson.

Snowman agreed and said that Enactus is definitely written on her resume.

“When I go for job interviews it’s one of the things they [employers] like the most,” said Snowman.

Jake Ryan, the founder of The Open Bench Project, a startup that provides a shared learn and work facility for builders and designers, works with Enactus and called their partnership a “win win” for both parties. Ryan plans to speak at the Grand Expo, alongside USM and Enactus alumni Matt Dechaine and Aimee Bermudez.

“It’s important for students to get access to real world situations to test their theories and ideas,” said Ryan. “Having accountability outside of school is a great segway for them into the working environment. From the business side of things it’s awesome to get a new perspective. Sometime they come with high in the sky thinking and that’s what’s needed sometimes.”

Snowman has invited all the college deans, president David Flanagan and the new president Harvey Kesselman to join the community at the Grand Expo. As of now, Flanagan has respectfully declined and Kesselman hasn’t sent word back.

The Enactus Grand Expo will be held on April 8th at the Talbot auditorium and the admission will be free of charge.



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