After three days of exhausting and exhilarating competition, shocking was the only word that Kelsey Bright could use to describe the moment when the Belmont SIFE team was announced as winners of the 2012 Enactus World Cup.
“There aren’t really any words because we really didn’t think it was going to be us. The other teams there are just so incredible, and the stuff they are doing is amazing,” said Bright, the president of the group.“So when they called our name it was just truly shocking. I literally just broke into tears and couldn’t contain myself. It was unbelievable.”
Since forming back in 2005, Belmont was able to claim its first world title after previously placing third at worlds just two years ago. This was also the first world title for the United States in five years.
Senior Ayesha Ghaffar, who also competed two years ago at worlds, said that the team was grateful to have made it to finals and would have been happy with any place.
“We were just happy to present and share our stories and passion on a world stage and would have been fine with any place. Fourth, third or second would have been fine,” she said. “But our section just erupted. We were just super blessed and thankful to win. It’s unreal to be world champions.”
Belmont’s winning presentation primarily focused on four of the projects the group had created and developed over the past year, including the Spring Back Recycling project which focuses on recycling used mattresses and providing employment opportunities for the formerly incarcerated.
Over the course of the three-day competition in Washington D.C., Belmont competed against 38 other countries and defeated teams from Egypt, India and Zimbabwe in the final round.
For Bright, competing against teams from all around the world was not only an opportunity to compete but also to connect with people from around the world.
“For so many of these other teams, it’s their first time ever leaving their country and coming to the United States, so for them it was a really big deal,” Bright said. “We got to meet a lot of people that we would never otherwise gotten to meet and just had a great time doing it.”
According to Bright, it was a real honor for Belmont to represent the United States and to have support from other teams in the United States. One team even showed up “decked out” in red, white and blue to support Belmont.
“They never refer to us as Belmont anymore at worlds, we’re the United States,” she said. “So to keep seeing United States flash up on the screen and that to be us was just bizarre but cool. To know the United States is No. 1 because of us was also very weird but very exciting.”