BELLEVILLE, IL (KTVI) – Outrage was brewing among a group of St. Louis area college students Wednesday.
A program called Enactus at Lindenwood University-Belleville was being defunded, they said.
Through Enactus business students at Lindenwood-Belleville and around the world actually start their own businesses and create programs to create jobs, protect the environment, and improve living conditions.
Enactus is a global entrepreneurship program involving 36 countries, 1700 educational institutions, 550 corporate partners and more than 70,000 students every year. About 40 of those students are at Lindenwood-Belleville, up from about 15 last year.
Enactus helps students use business principles to change the world around them.
“You’re learning invaluable skills about entrepreneurship; you’re learning invaluable skills about just the way the business works. You’re doing it with a group of people who really, really care about the community,” said Lindenwood Junior, Erica Soto.
Lindenwood Enactus students started a program called “Turning Point for Kids” in Cahokia which established a wrestling club for at risk kids. It has now expanded into something called “Lawns for Learning”, through which those kids save money for education by cutting lawns, provided they also give back by donating a portion of what they earn to their particular churches.
The Lindenwood group also presents their programs at regional and national competitions. Those competitions foster networking and feature job fairs.
Two recent Lindenwood graduates, both Enactus members, landed their current jobs at competitions last year.
“Enactus is essentially how I got my job,” said Lindenwood grad, Kristian Moon. “We sat there in our presentation at the national competition and presented what we did. Literally, I, on the spot had the interview maybe five minutes later after leaving the presentation room. So, it happened that fast.”
Moon accepted a job in logistics at a Wal-Mart distribution center in St. James, MO.
“[Defunding Enactus] meant enough for me to say something, ‘like hey, this is not right that you’re cutting this funding for these students, especially when they’re preparing in 2-3 weeks to go to Chicago for the Fall conference and present some of the stuff they do’,” said Lindenwood Graduate, Joel Carrerra, who landed a job in management with Sam’s Club through a job fair at one of the competitions.
Next month’s trip for the competition in Chicago and really the entire program were in jeopardy, the students said.
Enactus had received $10,000 thousand-a-year in funding from the past administration.
The new administration Lindenwood released a statement saying:
“ENACTUS is a very active and worthwhile organization. It was granted funding this semester by the Lindenwood Student Government Association. A request to the administration for a lump sum of an additional $10,000 was not granted out of fairness to the other campus organizations, which do not have access to additional funding by that route.”
Lindenwood University-Belleville has 23 student groups that compete for a share of a smaller pot of $14,000 from the Student Government Association (SGA). ENACTUS was allotted $500 by the SGA this semester.