The St. Thomas SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise) team has partnered with Sam’s Club in its second annual challenge to identify two businesses that could benefit from sustainable practices in the areas of waste and recycling, nature and natural resources, energy and water, and people and community. 

The UST SIFE team chose Fat Lorenzo’s in Minneapolis, and the Residence Inn in Eagan as the businesses to help. The team was awarded a $1,000 grant to implement new sustainable practices.

At Fat Lorenzo’s, the SIFE team connected the owner with a local pig farmer to take care of organic waste. The team will provide this service for Fat Lorenzo’s for more than a month. The organic waste disposal from Fat Lorenzo’s is expected to keep more than 160,000 pounds of waste out of the landfills yearly. Light bulbs were changed to lower wattage CFL bulbs that is expected to save the restaurant more than $300 a year in electricity costs. SIFE properly sealed drafty doors used for emergencies only and provided additional weather stripping, reserve light bulbs, dimming switches and LED security flashlights. 

Improvements also were made at the Residence Inn, where lights for guests were left on continuously in the workout room and lobby bathrooms. The SIFE team had motion sensors installed so that the lights remained on only when the room was in use. “Green” manuals were provided to the housekeeping staff that listed specific things they could do while cleaning the rooms to be more conscious of the environment.

To learn more about the challenge, visit the SIFE Web page.

The SIFE team always works on different service projects revolving around six criteria of business: environmental sustainability, market economics, success skills, entrepreneurship, business ethics and financial literacy.

For more information about becoming a member and for more information, e-mail Kylie Gayan. Students in all majors are welcome.