Trip to Chicago gives Enactus students great connections

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December 6, 2019

By Teresa Pezán ’20

Teresa Perzán smiling

Teresa Pezán

Editor’s note: On Nov. 22-24, 43 students from the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University Enactus student group made its annual trip to Chicago to visit companies, connect with alumnae/i and have a bonding experience. The goal of the club is social entrepreneurship. CSB senior and Enactus President Teresa Pezán, a global business leadership and Hispanic studies double-major from Plymouth, Minnesota, provided this summary of the trip.

Last weekend was my fourth and final year traveling to Chicago for our annual CSB/SJU Enactus trip!

This trip focuses on personal as well as professional development for our CSB/SJU Enactus students. We go on this trip to give our students a better understanding of the immense opportunities and connections that are available outside of what some may think is a small community.

We had a wonderful time touring Rainbow PUSH Coalition. Rainbow PUSH CFO John Adams ’77 helped us set up this amazing tour. Rainbow PUSH Coalition is a nonprofit created by Rev. Jesse Jackson, and its mission is to “protect, defend and gain civil rights by leveling the economic and educational playing fields, and to promote peace and justice around the world” according to its organizational mission.

There, our students had the opportunity to walk a couple of blocks to visit the outside of Barack and Michelle Obama’s home in Chicago. We also had the special opportunity to meet Carol Moseley Braun, the first female African-American senator, as well as the first Democratic Party African-American senator. We even had the opportunity to listen to Grammy-nominated gospel musician singer Kim Stratton indulge us with a taste of her newest single “Open the Gates.” 

We then visited Bridget Cummings ’15, who is a senior associate of OPC Strategy and Operations at The Obama Foundation, whose mission is to “inspire, empower and connect people to change their world” according to its mission statement.

Students were able to see the progress that the Foundation has been making and the next steps they will be taking in the coming years. We were also able to do a Q&A session with Cummings. We learned about all the opportunities she had earned through CSB/SJU helped to get her to where she is now.

group of students in Chicago

Our last visit of the day was with Joe Risinger ’16, who is a Client Solutions Manager at Facebook Chicago. We were able to take a tour of their current office building and do a Q&A panel with a couple of his colleagues. We had the opportunity to see and hear the wonderful things that Facebook does for its employees. 

Every visit had something extremely unique to them that each of our students could connect to. We absolutely value the connections we make when planning and executing these trips. 

Lastly, I want to thank Rachel Swisher and Ryan Graham, our Directors of Events, who planned this entire trip. From small details to large, they did absolutely everything to make this trip the success it was!

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