By Kelly Gibbs | firstname.lastname@example.org
Flagler’s Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) will become one step closer to changing the lives of countless people on Wednesday of this week.
Throughout the month of December, starting Dec 1, SIFE will be trying to get as many votes as possible for their project to win a quarter of a million dollar grant through the Pepsi Refresh Challenge.
“What most students will notice is there will be a lot of things going on around campus,” project leader Beth Houston said. “We’re going to have the kickoff event, which is a music and arts festival where we have bands lined up to perform and we’re hoping students will show up to display their artwork.”
SIFE is a humanitarian marketing and business club whose goals for the containers project have vast and outreaching potential for the city of St. Augustine. Houston said the project will recycle shipping containers into homes for the homeless, low-cost business offices or any number of useful buildings.
Along with recycling the containers and creating homes, the project will be working towards creating jobs for work release prisoners who ordinarily have a tough time acclimating to life outside prison and find getting a job after prison a challenging thing to do. The prisoners will be taught vital skills and refurbishing and building the homes, which is a lot more than what currently being done done for prisoners.
Robert Henry, the coordinator for the St. Johns County inmate re-entry program, said he could see a link with the SIFE project in the future with both programs working together.
“We would absolutely love for that to happen,” Henry said.
Students can vote for the project by signing into Pepsirefresh.com and voting, downloading the Facebook application or texting a number to the Pepsi line.
“Our goal is to get people to vote every day. We totally have a shot at winning this if we can just get everyone involved,” Houston said.
The project has applicants from all over the country vying for most votes and some of the projects will be tough acts to beat. The categories span from health to education to the planet and everything in between. Houston said she knows Flagler can win the challenge but they just need the support of the city.