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Sociology, Social Policy and CriminologyPart of Economic, Social and Political Science

Collette Blackman BSc (Applied Social Sciences) Anthropology, 2014

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Hi, I'm Collette Blackman and I studied BSc (Applied Social Sciences) Anthropology within Social Sciences: Sociology, Social Policy & Criminology at the University of Southampton.

During my degree I had the opportunity to get involved with Southampton's Enactus scheme (formally Students In Free Enterprise) including representing the UK in Washington in the SIFE World Cup. I was able to interact with people from all over the world and learn about their cultures.

Enactus (formally Students In Free Enterprise or SIFE) is an international, non profit organisation which encourages university students to make a positive impact on both their local community and the world at large.

Why did SIFE Southampton go to Washington?

Each year SIFE Societies from each UK University compete at the National Competition held in London. Each team must present projects of their choice, over a time of 23 minutes to a group of judges, most commonly top business leaders and SIFE UK staff. The judging panel analyse the impact of each project, such as the level of empowerment and to what extent we have achieved the triple bottom line (helping others environmentally, socially and economically). The competition is split into 3 stages; the opening round, semi finals and a final of 4 teams. In April 2012 we were successful in being crowned the National Champions for the second year running, meaning we were put forward to represent the UK at the World Cup in Washington.

In the world cup 38 countries compete over the course of two days and only four are put through to the final.

As well as the competition the World Cup also involves various ceremonies. For example on the first day each team takes part in the cultural fair whereby each country shows off their culture through dress, food and music. This year, following the Olympics, we gave out refreshments each dressed as UK Olympians!

This year SIFE Southampton were incredibly proud to have been selected for the semi finals. We are now even stronger as a team and are delighted to be representing the UK again in our third World Cup in 2013. This will take place in Mexico.

What was your role at the 2012 World Cup?

My overall role was to support the presentation team during the two days of competition. This mainly required me to observe other teams and report back to the team. Between all observers we were able to watch all of the teams and hence decide where the competition lay when choosing our league, i.e. who we would face in the next round. I was also required to give the team guidance on their presentation when required.

How has this experience benefitted you and how will it help your future career plans?

My personal experience of this opportunity was incredibly positive. I was able to interact with people from all over the world and learn about their cultures. As a project leader I learnt a great deal from watching other teams present and now have strong ideas of how to progress in the next SIFE year.

As a team we feel this experience has made us much stronger, outlining the progress we have made since last year and offered us the opportunities to interact with potential sponsors and gain new ideas.

SIFE has certainly benefitted my degree as well as me personally. Firstly working with both LearnENG and Wisemind has given me relevant teaching experience and further inspired me to take up teaching once I have graduated. SIFE has also empowered me with new found confidence, once shy I am now happy to independently lead a project and manage a small group of people. This requires great organisation, responsibility and the opportunity to make my own decisions. I have also been lucky enough to meet new people and now feel I have made some friends for life within SIFE. Most importantly, SIFE has taught me basic business concepts I would have otherwise been naive to and allowed me to network with business leaders. This has opened up new opportunities for me when considering a career after university.
In terms of the World Cup itself I was able to integrate with other cultures, which as an Anthropology student, I found extremely interesting and rewarding.

Overall I am hugely grateful to SIFE for the opportunities it has offered me, giving me invaluable business and team skills that will continue to benefit me throughout my university life and career.

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