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SUSTAINING EXCELLENCE When Vanguard uniVersity Junior elizabeth Vasquez stepped out in front of oVer 120 people to deliVer the opening remarks at the 2013 enVironmental sustainability ConferenCe, she Couldn’t help but marVel at hoW far she had Come: formerly an undeClared maJor and a self-desCribed introVert, she Was noW standing before 120 partiCipants of the ConferenCe that she herself organized as the direCtor of finanCe for Vanguard’s Chapter of enaCtus. as she looked out into the CroWd and saW her Very proud parents, she thought to herself, “they Could neVer piCture me in front of all these people, giVing this speeCh—” then stopped to realize that before this moment, she Could neVer piCture herself doing this! Equipping students with the means to discover numbers and a passion for helping others, both service for people who might not otherwise have the reaches of their own potential is one of the of which she has been able to cultivate through access to those resources. The benefts of VITA are hallmarks of a Vanguard University education. her membership in Enactus. This is a nationally two-fold, however. In addition to donating time and Elizabeth Vasquez discovered this frsthand, and recognized group that helps students who are expertise to people who need it, Elizabeth and counts the experience of leading the Environmental business and entrepreneurial majors get involved her fellow Enactus members gain real-world tax- Sustainability Conference as one of the most in their communities, although Elizabeth is careful preparation experience. rewarding of her time at Vanguard. “It was because to point out that members need not actually be “I looked at [the Environmental Sustainability Conference] as my product that I was putting out there for these people. It was the best feeling ever! I felt unstoppable.” ElizabEth VasquEz, Enactus DirEctor of financE, coorDinator for EnvironmEntal sustainability confErEncE of the conference that I fnally began to get involved business majors. The only requirement of students is in school,” she says. “If it weren’t for the conference, an enthusiasm for using their skills to help others. In all I would have gotten was a certifcate, as addition to the conference, Elizabeth participates opposed to an opportunity to fnd myself and the with Enactus in a program called VITA, which stands qualities I didn’t know I possessed.” for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance. Elizabeth is A couple of the specifc qualities that Vanguard has helped Elizabeth discover include a way with able to use the knowledge she has developed as an accounting major to help low-income or underserved residents prepare their taxes, performing a vital But it was the conference that challenged Elizabeth the most. She says the aim of the Environmental Sustainability Conference was to raise awareness that “business can be environmentally friendly and proftable.” She coordinated the speakers and the events of the day, but not everything went smoothly in the weeks leading up to her moment at the podium. At one point in the early planning stages, Elizabeth found herself overwhelmed by the task. This was when she beneftted from the unique opportunity Vanguard offers to be directly mentored by talented and encouraging professors. Elizabeth’s faculty advisor for Enactus, Dr. Kristen Schiele, told her not to be afraid of trying, since even failure offers occasions to learn. “She wouldn’t let me quit,” recalls Elizabeth. And Elizabeth is grateful to Dr. Schiele for this lesson in perseverance, not least 24 vanguard magazine SPRING/SUMMER 2013 LV7878_Vanguard_CS6.indd 24 5/22/13 9:51 AM

Vanguard Magazine: Spring/Summer 2013

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