This past week I had the privilege of spending time with the Roberts Wesleyan College Enactus Team (formerly known as SIFE). What is Enactus? It is a wonderful community of student, academic and business leadership to use the power of entrepreneurial action to transform lives and shape a better more sustainable world.
I first met our Enactus team last year during one of my visits to campus as president-elect, when the team presented their Silver Medal performance for the Board of Trustees. I was impressed! This year, as the team returned to the national competition in St. Louis, I was excited to have an opportunity to join them there for their final day of competition.
Our team was amazing and made it to the quarter-final round. Their presentation this year focused on the innovative programs they have developed in the City of Rochester. What an accomplishment!!
The real story however is what I witnessed the last day. The true character of the Roberts Enactus team came after their elimination. The team was disappointed they didn’t make it farther, but despite the disappointment they began a diligent campaign to encourage others still competing. They were tweeting, talking, hugging, and serving the teams that were still in the competition. They stayed to cheer on the final four teams when many had left, prayed with one of our fellow Council of Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU) institutions who made the finals, and helped hand out their business plans to the judges. It was clear to me that they weren’t doing this for recognition, and I was reminded it is how we respond to disappointment that really defines our character, and how our plans are not always the Lord’s.
Then, an amazing thing began to happen: leadership from the Enactus organization sought out our team to encourage and thank them! They weren’t the only ones; other teams thanked them for their work and impact during the week. It was impressive to see how the Lord encouraged them as they encouraged others. The highlight of the competition came when the students received the Spirit of Enactus Award! (Pictured below). I had to smile at how the Lord works – encouraging our students with an award that I believe speaks to their character.
Each year, as part of the trip, Professor Carrie Starr, director of the program at Roberts, takes time to create a moment for our students, to thank them for their work and acknowledge the graduating seniors. To just be in the room during this special moment was a gift. I heard about the impact of each senior and some of their journey in the program. It was a sacred moment. There is no way for me to recreate it in this blog, but let me say I was so moved by the effect that this program has had on the academic, personal, and spiritual lives of these students, I left with a desire for every Roberts student to have an opportunity for that kind of experience, in whatever program or activity they participate.
This is what an education at Roberts is about! We are in the business of educating, mentoring and disciplining our students so they can have a transformational experience that leaves them and those they touch with a deeper sense of the character of God.
If you want to see the video that won the Roberts Enactus team the Spirit of Enactus Award, you can watch below!