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SIFE Receives Grant to Work with Benedict Street Marketplace

March 31, 2011

OBU's Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team recently partnered with Sam's Club in Midwest City, Okla., to profitably reduce the carbon footprint of Benedict Street Marketplace in Shawnee.

Environmental sustainability has become an important global issue. The most recent economic downturn has increased the significance of the environmental challenge. The growing "green" sector has been identified as an area of opportunity for significant economic growth.

"Many companies have found cost savings by looking into conservation strategies," Catherine Corley, vice president of strategy for Sam's Club, wrote in the recently produced white paper, "How to Be Green and Stay Lean; How Being Sustainable Can Save Your Business Money." "Greening a business, no matter what the size, will have positive benefits for the environment and for the bottom line."

In recent years, Sam's Club has significantly reduced its carbon footprint while also reducing its costs. The reduced costs have helped Sam's Club to maintain low prices for its customers. In turn, Sam's Club launched the Environmental Sustainability Challenge to empower Sam's Business Members to initiate similar changes.

OBU's SIFE team was one of 200 SIFE teams to receive grant money to work with a local business. The team served as a consultant for Benedict Street Marketplace, and led the business to make plumbing and electrical changes. OBU SIFE estimates that the electrical changes will reduce Benedict Street Marketplace's energy usage by 17 percent and the plumbing modifications to produce an annual savings of $300.

"We're grateful for the opportunity that Sam's Club and Benedict Street Marketplace gave us," said Clay Dodgion, a junior from Macomb, Okla., who served as the team's project leader. "It was an invaluable learning experience for the team. Chuck and Paula Barber clearly love their business and their customers. The improvements we recommended will strengthen their business and allow them to continue serving their customers for many years to come."

Dr. David Houghton, dean of OBU's Paul Dickinson School of Business, agreed.

"Chuck and Paula Barber and Benedict Street Marketplace are important parts of the Shawnee community," Houghton said. "I'm thrilled that the SIFE team was able to secure a grant to strengthen their business. And, this should just be the beginning. I expect OBU SIFE and the OBU School of Business to increase its impact in our local community with each semester."

SIFE (Students In Free Enterprise) is an international non-profit organization that brings together the leaders of today and tomorrow to create a better, more sustainable world through the positive power of business. Founded in 1975, SIFE has active programs on more than 1500 college and university campuses in over 39 countries. Through projects that improve the lives of people worldwide, the university students, academic professionals and industry leaders who participate in SIFE are demonstrating that individuals with a knowledge and passion for business can be a powerful force for change.

Sam's Club is a division of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT). The first Sam's Club opened its doors in Midwest City, Okla., in 1983. Today, Sam's Club serves more than 47 million U.S. Members with locations nationwide, as well in Brazil, China and Mexico. Sam's Club saves its members on average 30.4 percent over grocery and specialty retailers by offering superior values on quality merchandise and services for home or work. Saving is made simple at Sam's Club. Visit for more information.