UF SIFE team receives recognition at national competition

Gainesville, Fla. – The University of Florida SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise) team finished second runner-up, making UF one of the top 48 teams in the country, in the SIFE National Exposition held April 10-12, 2009 in Philadelphia. The team was also named national winner of the HSBC Financial Literacy Special Topic Competition for their Financial Literacy Challenge project.

“It was great to see so many students passionate about the same shared goal of creating economic opportunities for their communities. It was especially rewarding to be recognized as second runner-up for our personal projects, since I have seen first-hand all the work and thought that goes into them, “ says Nicole Azzi, a third- year economics major on the team.

During the 2008-2009 academic year, the UF team dedicated more than 3,000 hours to 26 projects, including the UF SIFE Financial Literacy Challenge. The Financial Literacy Challenge is a multiple choice, multiple round, online (HSBC’s YourMoneyCounts.com) quiz competition about basic financial literacy topics. Students take weekly quizzes on content developed by the Common Knowledge Scholarship Foundation. The top three scorers after four rounds win a scholarship for college expenses. This project reached over 4,000 high school seniors in 49 states, and two overseas military bases, this year.

One of the high school seniors who participated in the Financial Literacy Challenge stated, “The information I’ve learned from the competition would help ease the transition from a sheltered high school life to the real outside world. Especially with the current economic conditions today, this valuable information would better prepare me when making crucial financial decisions.”

Brittney Davidson, a fourth-year marketing major on the presentation team, says that the team’s placement was a great accomplishment, but “our real pride came from being able to look back at the year and see the value we created for our community with our projects.”

Jebi Mathew, the senior accounting major who created the SIFE Financial Literacy Challenge project, concurred. “The Financial Literacy Challenge allows students to learn [core financial literacy] principles that will serve them throughout their lifetime…our team found an innovative way to teach these skills by leveraging the power of technology to create an educational program that can reach a mass audience. We are excited to create more partnerships and expand the program next year.”

SIFE is an international non-profit organization active on more than 1,400 university campuses in 48 countries. SIFE teams create economic opportunities in their communities by organizing outreach projects that focus on: market economics, entrepreneurship, personal financial success skills, environmental sustainability, and business ethics.