The Paul and Virginia Engler College is pleased to share this article, written by Christopher Brooks, who provides a retrospective on the past year’s activities in Enactus. Christopher is a member of the Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business sponsored chapter of Enactus, which is an international student-focused organization that supports student commitment to action and outcomes that positively impacts the lives of people across 37 countries. There are 72,000 Enactus university students on 1,730 campuses are actively living as entrepreneurial, values-driven, social innovators. Christopher continues below.

My name is Christopher Brooks and last year I spoke for Enactus in front of five hundred people in Long Island, New York to discuss our work creating a sustainable future through Ogallala Life and the Be Herd Leadership Conference. When I first joined, Enactus was still suffering from the massive disruption caused by COVID-19. I was proud to witness WT Enactus rebuild itself from the ground up into the impressive, nationally recognized organization that I was privileged to represent in Long Island, New York.

Ogallala Life began in the fall of 2021 when Enactus members Gabe Beatie and Donovan Johnson worked with Will Masters to fund regenerative approaches through crypto currencies and NFT’s. Enactus helped to collect over $200,000 in a stable coin endowment through innovative fundraising techniques. Ogallala Life used the funds to enter into contracts with landowners to incentivize the implementation of sustainable land management practices. These practices helped to recharge the Ogallala aquifer, a crucial step in building a sustainable future.

The outcomes of the Ogallala Life project were used to sponsor the Be Herd Leadership Conference, which was created to recognize the importance of providing high quality education to our youth to build a sustainable future. Under the leadership of Professor Loftin and Dr. Crisostomo, Enactus organized the Be Herd Leadership Conference in the early spring of 2022 and taught leadership skills to the aspiring young leaders from local high schools. During the event, we taught students how to lead, and provided the opportunity for them to practice their leadership and devise and promote profitable plans to restore the Ogallala Aquifer. I was very impressed by the intelligence, drive, and leadership these young students presented throughout the event. Many of these teams independently developed solutions already being implemented by industry professionals.

Enactus team members at Times Square

During Spring break in 2022, we were thrilled to learn that WT Enactus was selected as a semi-finalist for the Enactus Nationals competition. We were invited to speak at LIU Post University, in Long Island, New York to discuss our work with Ogallala Life and the Be Herd Leadership Conference. Our team spent significant time preparing for our speech to ensure that we convey our message effectively. As strenuous as the months of practice were, we were all excited to be going to New York, a state that nearly none of us had been to before, to compete with other Enactus teams from across the country.

As we killed time between flights, we took time to talk, laugh, and appreciate this amazing opportunity we were given. On our flight to Long Island, New York, we briefly saw the Statue of Liberty and it was a surreal, once in a lifetime experience. After arriving in Long Island, New York, we all enjoyed good Hibachi food, some of us for the first time, and briefly practiced before we rested for our big day.

Finally, the time had come for us to deliver our presentation and compete in the Enactus Nationals. The experience was stressful, but it was exhilarating to know that we had made it this far and that we had the opportunity to impress hundreds of motivated students and experts with the importance of our work. Following our speech, we connected with other teams and built relationships with other schools to ultimately build the better world we seek.

This once-in-a-lifetime experience has changed the way I see the world and has demonstrated to the world that WT Enactus is a solid national competitor. Our journey to New York also gave us the chance to bond and develop as a team. The memories we made along the way will stick with me forever:  barely jumping on the subway in time, and singing with the waiter at an Italian restaurant in Little Italy, New York City.  I could not be more grateful for every member of the WT Enactus team, our professors, and the generous support we received form the Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business at West Texas A&M University.

Note from Matt Loftin, WT Enactus Advisor:

The team’s work last year in water conservation through Ogallala Life gained national recognition. Going forward, we plan to work with both the Agriculture and Natural Sciences, and Engineering colleges, to further extend existing innovative research related to water resources in the Texas Panhandle. Working together, we can secure the future of water in our region so that life and industry can thrive.

For more information contact Matthew Loftin, Faculty Advisor for Enactus.