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Anderson University’s Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team was selected as the national winner in the Sam’s Club Environmental Sustainability Challenge on Earth Day, April 22, at the Sam’s Club home office in Bentonville, Arkansas. AU competed against eight other finalists, chosen from hundreds of SIFE teams from colleges and universities from around the country.

This year’s national competition was the third annual; for each of the three years, the AU SIFE team has taken home the top award.

The goal of the challenge, sponsored by Sam’s Club, was to inspire environmentally sustainable practices in the lives of Sam’s Club small business customers and their businesses as well as within their customers and communities. The AU SIFE team worked with two existing Sam’s Club small business clients- Shear Transitions Beauty Salon and Simpson Place- to incorporate environmentally friendly changes, and in turn improve their financial efficiency.

The students worked with Glenn Plumbing to recommend ways each company could improve hot water supply and reduce temperature loss. Additionally they added insulation, replaced light bulbs with energy-efficient bulbs, installed weather stripping, recommended a schedule for opening and closing foundation vents, and installed solar flood security lighting. The team also purchased a variety of eco-friendly hair care products to be used in place of traditional commercial salon products at Shear Transitions Beauty Salon. As a result of these changes, both businesses experienced a significant reduction in their power bills and expect long-term savings as well.

Of the win, AU SIFE team president Danielle Atkinson stated, “It was an honor for the Anderson University SIFE Team to be named the Sam's Club Environmental Sustainability Challenge National Champions for the 3rd consecutive year. It could not have been done without the support of the AU College of Business and the Business Students who dedicated countless hours toward making businesses in our area environmentally sustainable."

SIFE is an international non-profit organization that works with leaders in business and higher education to mobilize university students to make a difference in their communities while developing the skills to become socially responsible business leaders. Participating students form teams on their university campuses and apply business concepts to develop outreach projects that improve the quality of life and standard of living.

As winners of the national competition, the AU SIFE team is the recipient of a $5,000 grant, which will be used to fund SIFE projects for the coming academic year.

 Anderson University is a comprehensive university affiliated with the South Carolina Baptist Convention offering bachelors and masters degrees. Anderson is ranked in the Top Tier (top 21) of colleges and universities in the South, and one of 68 “Up and Coming” schools to watch in America, by U. S. News & World Report. It is the #1 “Up and Coming” school in The South according to that publication.  Anderson has also been named one of “Americas 100 Best College Buys,” Located in The Upstate region of South Carolina near the foothills of the Appalachians, Anderson University features a rigorous education in a supportive Christian environment.



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