Alice is a 4th Year Geography student at Bristol and is the President of the Enactus society. Last year, Alice went on her year abroad to McMaster University in Canada, where she set up Enactus McMaster.
What is the Enactus society?
Enactus is the biggest global organisation of students in the world that runs social enterprise – we look for solutions to economic, environmental and social problems. Enactus Bristol are looking primarily at local solutions to these global problems, such as homelessness, work for ex-convicts and vulnerable women. We have international projects as well, such as working with trafficked women in Nepal and saving lives of fisherman in Madagascar by providing lifejackets made out of recycled water bottles.
What do you do as the President?
As the President I speak to every project leader every week to make sure that all the projects are going to plan. I organise training events with the rest of Enactus UK, run the committee to plan and execute events and generally look after the team.
What events have you had this year?
This year, we’ve had a lot of training events for everyone involved in the society. All the Enactus Bristol students get to participate in Enactus UK events. For example, we had a residential weekend in Grantham, which was three days of workshops such as how to run social enterprises. Enactus as a greater organisation has a load of sponsors such as KPMG and Deloitte, who run training and employability sessions. They recognise that Enactus students show real initiative, drive and passion and often pick people out to bypass some of the application processes and getting them straight to the assessment centres.
Could you tell me a bit about Enactus Worldwide?
Enactus Worldwide run a competition each year to find the most impactful project. In each country there will be regional and national competitions to find this. Regionals are every March and here we present our best projects. If we get through, then we move on to nationals, which is held in April in London. Nationals is such a huge event – all the sponsors come and it’s really professional. The World Cup is once a year. This year it was held in South Africa and the UK won it for the first time in twenty years.
How many projects do you have ongoing at the moment?
At the moment we have eight projects. For an Enactus team in the UK, that is quite small. Some of the big ones have twenty to thirty projects going on with hundreds of students involved. We’re really trying to grow our portfolio and get more projects going and get more people involved.
Could you tell me about a project you set up at Bristol?
I set up Elevate two years ago, which focussed on helping vulnerable women in Bristol. The project leaders this year for Elevate are doing a wonderful job of encouraging these women to make crafts to sell. They’ve made a repertoire of Christmas cards, which they will sell at local markets, which is a great way to help them get out of the homeless shelter.
Was it difficult setting up Enactus at McMaster University?
It was really hard because no one really knew what it was. It’s a complex idea of using social enterprise and getting students involved in social change. I just sold it as a ‘sustainable charity’ and made sure to come up with exciting projects to attract people!