A group photo of the Black Hills State University Enactus team during the national competition in Kansas City, Mo. Back row, left to right, Dr. David Crawford, associate professor of accounting and Enactus co-advisor; Curtis Coomes, recent graduate; Markus Heinrich, recent graduate; Justin Bachelor, biology major from White River; Michael Aga, business administration major from Sturgis; Jerred Nagel, business administration management major from Rapid City; and Dr. Barbara Looney, assistant professor of management and co-advisor. Front row, left to right, Abbey Vansteenwyk, business administration accounting major from Sturgis; Becca Ellis, professional accounting major from Rock Rapids, Iowa; Katrina Schrader, business administration human resources major from Johnsburg, Ill.; Sara Coomes, business administration accounting major from Rapid City; and Ann Wilken, education major from Meadow.
The Black Hills State University Enactus team recently competed with more than 150 college and universities during the Enactus National Exposition in Kansas City, Mo. The BHSU team earned its first trip to the national competition after winning regionals in Minneapolis earlier this year.

“Since this was the first time BHSU has competed in a National Exposition, we felt proud of our efforts and pleased for how we professionally showcased the projects we advanced this past year,” said Dr. Bobbi Looney, assistant professor of management and co-advisor for the Enactus team. “The trip gave us an opportunity to gauge how we can best strengthen our presentation portfolio to remain competitive at the national level.”

Enactus is an international non-profit organization that brings together the top leaders of today and tomorrow to create a better, more sustainable world through the positive power of business.

“Nationals was amazing,” said Katrina Schrader, business administration - human resources major from Johnsburg, Ill. “Seeing the other teams was impressive. We got to interact and compete with teams of hundreds of students from every state in the US.”

Schrader said it was great experience for the BHSU 10-member team. “The truly amazing thing about this is we get to see that Enactus is truly a great group to be a part of,” she said. “It opens so many doors for us as students. Also, seeing everyone else and their projects shows exactly how much impact and effect we can have on our world even as just college students.”

During the last academic year, the BHSU Enactus team organized seven community outreach projects throughout Spearfish including a “Facebook for Retirees” workshop which was designed to assist senior citizens throughout the community with social media skills. The workshop, a partnership with the South Dakota Center for Enterprise Opportunity, was a project created from judges’ comments at a previous competition, according to Looney.

Although the team has not received feedback from the national competition yet, members are already planning projects for the upcoming year. “We came home enriched with ideas we might implement and adjustments we might make to enhance both our program and our future presentations,” Looney said.  

The team plans to further adapt the Facebook for Retirees project and is working on new endeavors as well.  “Whatever we select, we’ll want to apply standard entrepreneurial practices and do some type of needs assessment first to be certain what we plan actually serves the audience we envision,” Looney said.

Aside from their project presentations, students had an opportunity to network and meet with corporate recruiters from 151 major companies across the United States.  The team is already preparing for next year’s nationals in St. Louis.