Enactus Blends Business with Social Responsibility

Entrepreneurial student action meets the power of community collaboration

Enactus is known as an international nonprofit organization that inspires students through engagement in entrepreneurial action but at Marist, it has risen to be a club known for involving a variety of students. The name “Enactus” is a combination of Entrepreneurial, because of how it motivates business innovation, action, because an impact cannot be made without work, and us, because of the power of collaboration.

According to the organization’s website, Enactus is defined as “a community of student, academic and business leaders committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to transform lives and shape a better more sustainable world.”

Marist’s clubs and organizations page describes the club as one that “aspires to compete in an annual series of regional and national competitions that provide a forum for teams to showcase the impact of community outreach efforts.” The teams are given the opportunity to create community development projects. These competitions and other events provide Marist students the opportunity to network with executives representing Enactus national sponsors and Marist's Enactus Advisory Board members.

While Enactus is not categorized as a service club on campus, the club does consider service to be part of their social responsibility. Dr. Melinda Weisberg, the club’s advisor and management professor at Marist, cited an example of how Enactus recently initiated a Teen Closet Drive alongside Beta Gamma Sigma for Poughkeepsie High School, as young adults in Poughkeepsie are a target audience for their initiatives. Currently, the club is involved in the planning and implementation of a multi-faceted project that supports the improvement of Poughkeepsie by empowering young adults through education and awareness of business practices.

These projects are often what draw students in to become involved. Sam Greene ‘17, a double major in Accounting and Business Administration and Co-Director of Finance and Budgeting for Enactus, became involved with the club after a friend who was a club officer suggested he come to a meeting. “I went, and immediately was overcome by a desire to be involved and help make a difference,” he said. “The club’s emphasis on social responsibility was something that strongly appealed to me. In my opinion, it married the business clubs and campus ministry service projects beautifully.”

He continued, “My favorite part of working with Enactus is seeing a project go from start to finish. We are involved in all of the phases of a project, starting with brainstorming and planning then following it through to seeing the finished product.”

Weisberg believes that Enactus’ mission fits in well at Marist. “Our mission and activities are congruent with the Marist mission of dedication to helping students develop the intellect, character, and skills required for enlightened, ethical, and productive lives in the global community of the 21st century,” she said.

As club advisor, Weisberg considers her role to be that of a connector of great ideas and facilitator of activities so the work runs smoothly. However, Enactus means even more to her than just another item on the agenda. “I take great pride and receive inspiration from working alongside these students,” she said.

Although Enactus is technically embedded in the School of Management and therefore attracts mainly business-related majors, students of all disciplines are welcome to join, as there are a variety of skills they can gain from the club.

“Working with Enactus I have had to learn to better manage my time,” Greene said. “I had a lot on my plate prior, and now I have even more responsibilities. Enactus has also sharpened my communication skills, especially with writing business emails because we are in constant contact with different members of the professional community.”

This professional community that Greene refers to is the large network of Enactus alumni across the nation. According to Weisberg, two alumni who are currently in managerial positions with Johnson & Johnson and Unilever serve on the Marist advisory board. Enactus also offers live and virtual job fairs and scholarship opportunities for their members, as six Marist members were just accepted as Bank of New York Mellon Enactus scholars.

After attending a regional meeting in Washington, D.C. in March, club officers Greene, Amy Majcrzak ’17, and Michael Arnold ’17 will next be working with Weisberg for a day-long planning retreat in April to discuss the club’s future and lay out goals for the upcoming year. 

 

Written by Adriana Belmonte '17

 

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