St. Norbert College
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Members of the Houston TRIP took knowledge form their St. Norbert classrroom and applied it to their work in partnership with non-profits in Texas. Here, they are helping Catholic Charities organize a Christmas gift donation database.  

February 2013

Business-focused student org addresses social ills in Texas

Members of a business-focused student organization on campus who took their skills to Houston over winter break partnered with their counterparts at the University of Houston and elsewhere to address homelessness and other issues in the city.

Keri Hodnik ’13 and Luanne Spence ’13 joined eight members of Enactus (formerly SIFE) for the service trip. Enactus, an international nonprofit organization active on campus, identifies itself as “a community of student, academic and business leaders committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to transform lives and shape a better, more sustainable world.” 

The students focused on homelessness, a serious concern in Houston. The city’s diverse population encompasses both privilege and homelessness. In Houston, according to Hodnik and Spence, there is a particularly strong divide between the two. 

By partnering with Enactus members at the University of Houston and Kingwood College, along with local nonprofits, the St. Norbert students were able to reach more people than they had anticipated.

At one event put on by Catholic Charities, a woman sought the group’s advice on starting a business. At another, the students were able to meet with a marketing director from Waste Management Inc. to discuss possible marketing strategies and business plans.

The main purpose of this trip, one of nine from St. Norbert this winter break, was to “link the educational and emotional aspects of service,” say the trip leaders. The motto for SIFE was “A head for business. A heart for the world,” and the group continues to live this motto under their new name.

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