Have you ever been exposed to an opportunity that you wish you would’ve accepted? UMKC Enactus provides you with an opportunity to get more involved with your community and the environment, as well as participate in hands-on learning experiences in a welcoming space and at your own pace.
Enactus is a national organization that UMKC offers to help students make positive change. Its goal is to look for social and economic problems in their community, then create entrepreneurial projects to solve as a team.
Enactus has a project that fits anyone.
“During high school, I was never involved in extracurriculars, and I really wanted to help my community, so I saw this as the perfect way to kill two birds with one stone,” said Brianna Bermudez, UMKC Enactus Arts and Entrepreneurship (A&E) project leader.
However, it can be tough to put yourself out there and join a club that you don’t know much about.
“I used to be very introverted and shy, but Enactus has made me come out of my bubble,” said Bermudez. “I have learned a lot of self-worth and confidence through Enactus.”
Enactus gives students an assortment of possibilities through volunteering, expanding personal skills and projects to help the environment and community.
A&E is an Enactus project that empowers local artists, self-taught or career driven, to find revenue generating opportunities. This year, it is running a series of free workshops called ArtWorks with professional local artist speakers. It teaches artists how to network, find studio space and budget their work—all topics that aren’t usually offered at an art school. In 2018 alone, 80-plus emerging artists have positively benefited from ArtWorks and connected with job opportunities. This project provided one artist with over $1,500 in revenue for his work.
Enactus also creates opportunities for students with any kind of schedule.
“Enactus is different from other organizations or clubs in the sense that, ‘what you put in, you get out,’” said UMKC Enactus President Salem Habte. No matter the amount of time you are able to commit, any time is beneficial and appreciated.
Some of the other projects UMKC Enactus members are working on are the FeedKC Project and The Educate to Elevate Project.
FeedKC aims to combat food waste and food insecurity in the Kansas City metro area. They recover leftover food from local cafeterias and restaurants to transport to local soup kitchens and food banks. This project is presently creating an app to make this process scalable. Specifically, FeedKC targets prepared and fresh foods rather than the canned goods food banks normally receive as donations.
The Educate to Elevate Project began in 2016 when a UMKC staff member told the Enactus team about the school he attended as a child in Ogwuokwo, Imo State, Nigeria. The Ogwuokwo Community School serves five villages and 400-plus children, but it lacks a water supply, sanitary facilities and has crumbling infrastructure. The Enactus team saw this as an opportunity to create real, sustainable change and has successfully completed the first two stages of the project by providing the school with a water well and sanitary facilities.
Habte believes that volunteering contributes to one’s future, helping them build integrity and value themselves because they know what they can give. She spoke with her Enactus faculty advisor, Ben Williams, and he changed her life after sharing a research study on what makes someone happy. The study showed that the people who had reached fulfillment in their careers and lives had a way to contribute to the community in college that was beyond their studies, as well as a mentor that inspired them.
Habte found this in Williams and Enactus.
“I just want to spread that message out there, and tell people how important an opportunity like Enactus is,” Habte said.