News 2013: UMass Dartmouth students' Guatemala work wins national recognition

News 2013: UMass Dartmouth students' Guatemala work wins national recognition
UMass Dartmouth students' Guatemala work wins national recognition

UMass Dartmouth students' Guatemala work wins national recognition

As part of an alternative spring break trip, four members of the UMass Dartmouth Enactus team provided entrepreneurship and healthcare education to the people of Santo Domingo, Jalapa, Guatemala. Their efforts helped the team win the 2013 Enactus Regional Competition held in New York City on April 2, 2013, making it their second consecutive win, and its fourth win in five years. 

Maria Albarez (a junior accounting major from Lawrence, MA), Tim Garry (a sophomore marketing major from Holliston, MA), Julia Rayberg (a sophomore marketing major from Rockland, MA), and Jaymie Stanton (a senior operations management major from Wareham, MA) traveled to Guatemala under the supervision of Dr. Godwin Ariguzo, Enactus supervisor and assistant professor of marketing in the Charlton College of Business. 

Their work was presented at the Enactus Regional Competition, along with three other projects: Library for Liberia, the Cleanup Corsairs, and the Carney Project. 

Mayra Perez '08, who was born in Santo Domingo, Jalapa, inspired Enactus to help the rural, southeastern Guatemalan community. The team raised $2600 to cover travel expenses and they prepared educational workshops, including PowerPoint presentations, on business development and healthcare skills. 

However, upon arriving in the politically unstable Jalapa, the team found that they needed to change their educational approach. 

In their Regional Competition presentation, the team noted, "When we arrived for the workshops we realized the content we had prepared was above their level of comprehension. Translators struggled to convey the content to them and we could see the expression of confusion and frustration on their faces. We thought that we were going to help them plan a successful business but we actually needed to teach them that business was an option in their lives." 

The team decided to abandon their PowerPoint presentations and instead engage in conversations with the people of Jalapa. The results were positive: "At the end of the workshops, looks of confusion transformed to looks of excitement and prospect." 

During their time in Jalapa, the Enactus team taught 45 people CPR and two physicians treated 116 people. Additionally, they taught dental care lessons and distributed 100 sets of toothbrushes and toothpaste. 

The group also influenced a group of 21 women to begin creating crocheted goods, which will be sold outside of Santo Domingo. According to the Enactus, "We will be working with the residents and local students to import and market their products to our campus on a fair trade arrangement." 

Though the team has returned stateside for now, they will continue to help Jalapa: "In just a week we forged such a strong relationship with the Santa Domingo residents and the translators (students from St. Carlos University) and community leaders that guided us. We are excited to continue working with them and eager to see where this project will go." 

Enactus (Entrepreneurial Action by Us), which until October 2012 was called SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise), describes itself as "a community of students, academic and business leaders committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to transform lives and shape a better, more sustainable world." 

UMass Dartmouth Enactus team will next compete on May 21, 2013 at the National Exposition in Kansas City, MO.