By Alana Hu
Every week this semester, the 20 members of Enactus have been educating sixth-grade students about business as part of the nonprofit’s World at Play project.
Enactus is the former Students in Free Enterprise organization affiliated with Union’s School of Business.
Kate Lawrence, junior marketing major, coordinated the project this year with help from Dalton DeLuca, sophomore business administration major, and Alexa Shortridge, sophomore accounting major.
“World at Play exists to teach sixth graders about market economics and about the free enterprise system,” Lawrence said. “It is Enactus’ longest-running project.”
Through World at Play, students learn about logistics, marketing, finance and other business principles.
Twice a week for three weeks, two students from Union teach interactive lessons to the grade schoolers in their classrooms.
Each class is assigned a country, and students research the country and build an environmentally friendly toy. This year, students must create a toy that has a recycled product component.
“From this program, the students’ minds are being opened up to a whole new career world that they may not have considered until years later in life,” Shortridge said. “World at Play also gives students an opportunity to expand their imaginations and devise their very own product.”
This year, the World at Play team is teaching at St. Mary’s Catholic School, Trinity Christian Academy, Crockett County Middle School, Tigrett Middle School, FAITH Home School Tutorial and The Montessori School in Bemis.
Both groups benefit from the experience.
“I have enjoyed working with these students as well as sharing some of the knowledge that I have been able to attain from my classes here at Union,” said Matthew Street, junior business administration major. “I chose to work with World at Play because I felt that there was a need for these students to gain an understanding of basic business skills and principles.”
SIFE formed in 1995, and a student created World at Play a year later, then dubbed “SIFE Jr.”
The program got its current name in 2010.
“This project connects current Union students to potential students,” said Emery, Enactus adviser and marketing professor. “We have had students that participated in the program as sixth graders come to Union and teach the program as Enactus members.”
Class participants from the various local middle schools will visit Union’s campus March 7 for the World at Play Expo, where the sixth grade students will give their presentations to a panel of judges. The toys created will be judged, and a winner will be announced and awarded with a trophy.
The organization is overseen by Judy Leforgee, administrative assistant of McAfee School of Business, and Brooke Emery, assistant professor of marketing.