The Enactus UPEI team felt all hope was lost as they heard second and third place announced.
It looked to be another year without a top-three finish in the environment challenge of the regional competition — until first place was called.
The team leaped from their seats with excitement as they heard UPEI announced as the winner.
It capped off a memorable outing, after the students placed second and third in two other categories at the recent Enactus Regional competition in Halifax.
Enactus teams are guided by academic advisors and business experts with the goal of creating and implementing community empowerment projects and business ventures.
This is the first UPEI team to win first place in any category. Enactus UPEI also hadn’t placed in the top three in five years.
Ashley Doucette, Enactus UPEI president, said the team didn’t set its expectations too high going into the competition.
“We were going in managing our expectations a little bit,” she said. “(We thought) even if we don’t win, we are still a team and we’re all friends and we did good.
Enactus UPEI gave a presentation on their recent project, Bury and Bloom, at the regional competition and will present it at the national competition as well.
They made holiday cards from recycled paper and seeds, which can be planted and sold. All proceeds went to environmental education for children.
“None of us had ever seen other Enactus presentations or knew what we were up against, so we were going in blind,” Doucette said.
The new members have only known each other since last fall and the team prepared for the regional competition by holding mock presentations for UPEI professors.
Enactus UPEI will advance to the national competition at Vancouver this May.
Liam Barter-Browning, vice-president of the digital management information systems for the team, said going to the nationals helps the team gain experience for future.
“It gives us the opportunity to know how we should gear our presentations so it can be fine-tuned for next year’s nationals.
“None of us have gone to nationals before so we don’t know what we are dealing with.”
Richié Barr, productions manager, said aside from winning, she is glad to be part of the team.
“It didn’t even matter about winning but from our first presentation, I felt great,” she said. “I felt I was a part of something bigger, I was doing something great.”
Enactus UPEI is sponsored by 3M and Innovation P.E.I.