Enactus: SIFE worldwide gets new name

September 30, 2012
Laura Roller

A long-standing tradition at John Brown University and other universities worldwide received a new name and face this evening.

Students and professors referred to the group, formerly known as Students in Free Enterprise, as worldwide SIFE. This student-project based club seeks to “bring together the top leaders of today and tomorrow to create a better, more sustainable world through the positive power of business,” according to the University’s SIFE page on Facebook.

Going forward, the organization will refer to itself as Enactus, which they hope will better represent them in the future as “entrepreneurs in action” for the greater good.

Enactus leaders unveiled the new name during the opening ceremonies at the World Cup competition in Washington, D.C. Before the announcement, K’naan and students from around the world jammed out to the hit song “Waving Flag” as flags fluttered throughout the venue.

Doug McMillon, chairman of the worldwide board of directors, thanked students, faculty and business leaders for their amazing efforts to impact the world.

“Your work helps people around the world change their own destinies. Nowhere is that idea more evident than at this World Cup.” McMillon said.

Alvin Rohrs, the president and CEO of SIFE for the last 30 years, explained the reasoning for the new name.

“Rather than abandon our commitment to entrepreneurial spirit, we are reaffirming it through this name change,” he said. “We want to create something we can own and be proud of. Believe me, we did our homework.”

“We realized that we can’t build a globally admired brand unless we know what our name is and we have one name that works everywhere around the world,” Rohrs continued. “I want to reassure you this is not about reinventing the organization you and I have worked so hard to create. It is in fact the opposite.”

This announcement culminated nearly a year and a half of deliberation and planning on behalf of SIFE worldwide.

SIFE worked with Landor Associates, a worldwide branding company. Landor has an impressive portfolio of clients, including P&G, Old Spice, FedEx and Kraft. Landor did research and collected information from all over the world to help SIFE create a unique brand strategy for Enactus.

“Tonight we are starting a new chapter, a new chapter in our history,” said McMillon.

So far, many University students are not sure if the new name is a better name.

“It was personally very shocking to see the new name,” said Estefania Verdin, JBU SIFE’s vice president for marketing. “It maybe is because I was so used to ‘SIFE’ that right now I think any new name is a bad name. I am sure the organization has a good reason for choosing that name and if it is for the well-being of the organization, then people should be flexible and accept the new name.”

In a YouTube video explaining the need for the name change, Rohrs compared it to a new set of clothes.

“For some of us, they’re going to fit perfectly, we’re going to love it at the beginning,” he said. “For some of us, it is not going to quite fit right at first, but we’re going to grow into it and know that this is what we ought to call ourselves.”

Verdin said, “I think the most important thing to remember is that we are part of this community not because of the name, but because of all that we can do through it.”

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