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April 6, 2009 - Grand Rapids, Michigan (April 6, 2009) – The chilly April winds aren't dampening the celebratory spirits at Aquinas College. The school's Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) group brought home a championship finish at regional SIFE competition held in Chicago on Thursday, April 2. The AQ team edged San Diego State University to take the top spot in their League Nine category, finishing ahead of three other colleges/universities.

In addition to its championship finish in the overall competition, the Aquinas SIFE team also was awarded top honors in the topic competition for Waste Management Environmental Sustainability.
Nineteen of the AQ SIFE 52-member group traveled to the Windy City for the one-day competition that involved between 500-600 students from more than 40 colleges and universities nationwide. Aquinas along with the champions from the other eight leagues will now go on to compete in the National Competition scheduled for May 10-12 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
"While less than two dozen students travelled to Chicago, it was truly a collaborative AQ effort that involved many more from several College departments, including those from media, theatre, information technology and music that assisted us in preparing for competition," said Masato Yamazaki, Ph.D., advisor for the AQ SIFE Program. "We'll revise our presentation and do some more practice as we prepare for the national competition in May," he added.

The AQ SIFE program this year is enjoying record membership since beginning in 2002 with 52 students participating in one or more of seven teams: IPS (Toyota Production System), Renewable Energy, Financial Literacy, Clean Water, Sustainable Living, Building Material Recycling and Stop Oil Speculation.

SIFE competition focuses on the impact each team project has had on improving the quality of life and standard of living for members of its community through educating others in six SIFE educational topics: Market Economics, Success Skills, Entrepreneurship, Financial Literacy, Environmental Sustainability and Business Ethics. The competition requires submission of a written annual report as well as a live presentation made before a panel of entrepreneurs and executives serving as judges. The competition is divided into two divisions, two-year and four-year colleges and then further into leagues based on a team's previous year's competition.

The national competition in May will bring together champions from 16 regions around the country and involve 4,000 students representing teams from more than 200 schools.