Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Students Meet Big Business, Win Big; Nineteen-Member Flagler College Group Prepares to Take on Teams Worldwide for Free Enterprise Title

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Students Meet Big Business, Win Big; Nineteen-Member Flagler College Group Prepares to Take on Teams Worldwide for Free Enterprise Title

Article excerpt

Byline: GREGORY RICHARDS, The Times-Union

ST. AUGUSTINE -- They've opened two downtown souvenir stores that have rung up $1.2 million in sales. They taught money management skills at the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind, and they launched a radio show -- now broadcast on six stations in two states -- offering financial tips.

In May, the work of Flagler College's chapter of Students In Free Enterprise, a 29-year-old international organization that challenges college students to learn about the business world and teach it to others, earned the Flagler group the association's national championship. This week, one of their prizes hits the freezer sections of Wal-Mart stores nationwide: Boxes of Eggo waffles with their picture on the back.

Next month, that honor extends to boxes of Frosted Flakes and Rice Krispies.

Their success has been a bit overwhelming for the 19-member chapter, based at tiny Flagler College, with a total enrollment of about 2,000. Clinching the national title meant winning over judges from prestigious companies such as General Electric and the Campbell Soup Co. to beat 855 other teams, including those from much bigger schools such as the University of Florida and Texas A&M.

"It's sort of a miracle," said Barry Sand, the group's co-adviser and a Flagler adjunct instructor. "We are the little college that could."

Before this win, the highest win achieved by the 6-year-old team was a second-place finish in 2002.

The group's strength lies in innovative projects grounded in real-world principles that reach a wide swath of people. For example, Cash Positive Radio, a five-minute weekly radio show that dispenses money-saving tips, is broadcast on five radio stations in Ohio and on Flagler College's station. And Flagler's chapter was the first American team to start businesses -- it has Flagler College merchandise shops on historic St. George Street and on campus, said Donna Webb, a college administrator who also advises the club.

As for the hours required to do it all, don't even ask.

"For the past four years, it's been a part of my life," said Michelle Olson, a 2004 Flagler graduate who was the team's president. …

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