On the fifth anniversary of the “Global Enterprise Challenge” (GEC) at McPherson College, students accepted the contest challenge to use the power of marketing and social media to actually save lives in Haiti.
The winning team of Ste’fon Walker and Jasmine Benson – announced on Nov. 20 – presented a social media campaign using the hashtag “#TogetherWeWill” to help bring attention to and raise money for needs such as clean water and quality medical attention. In just the few days of the contest, the two raised $150 for the Haiti Medical Project nonprofit through a GoFundMe account, created a promotional video with hundreds of views and applied for multiple grants.
In their presentation the evening of Nov. 19, Walker encouraged people to get in on the ground floor of a social movement.
“Don’t wait until it’s too late,” the Mendenhall, Miss., senior said. “Be the person who makes a difference.”
Benson said that even as college students, they can make a difference.
“Together as a McPherson College community, we are changing the world one step at a time,” the Lakewood, Calif., senior said.
Starting in 2010, McPherson College’s entrepreneurship program has helped MC students develop entrepreneurial skills such as creativity, innovation, and problem-solving across the curriculum. The program is based on the idea that all students in all majors can benefit from the entrepreneurial mindset – whether working at a traditional job or working as a social entrepreneur in a nonprofit. That’s why MC participates in during Global Entrepreneurship Week – Nov. 16 to 22 – with its GEC contest.
Since 2010, the challenge has recognized and rewarded McPherson College students who take on the “dare” to come up with entrepreneurial ideas to help those in other countries. Over the years, that has included Haiti, Panama and Ethiopia, and the winners of each challenge have won the opportunity to travel to that country as well.
This year the challenge again focused on Haiti – the same country as the first Global Enterprise Challenge in 2010. During that first year, students were asked to envision a new social venture to help in Haiti. This year, they were asked to help an existing program – the Haiti Medical Project – by developing a public relations awareness campaign for it.
The Haiti Medical Project started with funds from the McPherson Church of the Brethren and with the leadership of 1989 MC alumnus Paul Ullom-Minnich. Ullom-Minnich is a founder of Partners in Family Care in Moundridge, Inman, McPherson and Hesston, Kan. The Haiti Medical Project grew out of a medical mission trip that he took to Haiti after the devastating 2010 earthquake. The project grew and now provides mobile clinics across Haiti to those in need of medical care.
For the Global Enterprise Challenge, students could use any form of storytelling for the contest, such as writing, video, photos, graphic design, or any combination of these. The college will pay for Walker and Benson to travel with Ullom-Minnich to Haiti in 2016 to learn more about the country, further refine their awareness campaign, and then implement the campaign upon returning to the states.
Moreover, the judging panel was so impressed with the other students who competed, that they decided to also provide matching funds to any of the students who would still like to go on the trip to Haiti.
The Global Enterprise Challenge wasn’t the only aspect of MC’s celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week. Nov. 20 also saw about 130 high school students in Youth Entrepreneurs to visit the campus and learn more about McPherson College’s entrepreneurship program.
The entire campus and community also got to see diverse opportunities at MC at an Entrepreneurship Fair on Friday. Tables included recipients of the Horizon Fund (a grant program that awards up to $500 to MC students with great ideas), previous winners of the Global Enterprise Challenge, representatives of Etch (a student-run graphic design and marketing firm serving only nonprofits), and demonstrations of Mac Marketplace (a developing venture that will allow the creation of unique designs on one of the college’s two 3D printers).
The other competitors in the GEC who will have the opportunity to travel with the Haiti Medical project with matching funds are:
- Andrea Kadeba, sophomore, McPherson, Kan., who proposed placing canisters in clinics, hospitals and pharmacies for donations to the Haiti Medical Project. She also plans to create friendship bracelets that would be for sale by donation to raise funds for the project. She cited a Haitian saying in her presentation: “Men anpil chay pa lou” or “Many hands will make the load lighter.”
“If we can work together,” she said, “we can lighten the load on Haiti.”
- Miranda Clark Ulrich, senior, Russell, Kan., and Channing Wall, sophomore, McPherson, Kan., who proposed a campaign called “Humans Deserve Health” with the slogan “Health care should not be a privilege, but a right.” They designed a logo for the Haiti Medical Project and had a goal of raising $5,000 for the project, along with collecting medical supplies and raising awareness through news releases and posters around the area.
- Madison Hoffman, freshman, McPherson, Kan., and Rhianna Smith, freshman, Lindsborg, Kan., who propose a campaign of “Honk for Haiti” along with a relevant hashtag and products to raise awareness such as bumper stickers and T-shirts. The idea is to get people to honk their car horns when they see the phrase to show their support for helping in Haiti. They would work to raise awareness locally, around the state and nationally via social media.