An insider reveals how Wal-Mart’s favorite campus group curries favor with business while pushing gospel to kids
For decades, the campus group Students in Free Enterprise has drawn major funding and leadership from Wal-Mart, and channeled scores of students into the retail giant’s management ranks. Renamed Enactus in 2012, the group calls itself “the world’s best-known and most successful program helping university students to create community empowerment projects …” But California State University, Chico, accounting professor and former SIFE insider Curtis DeBerg told Salon that the well-heeled group served as “really a marketing branch to support business leaders who supported SIFE,” and that his decade as one of SIFE’s Sam Walton fellows was marked by fraud, turf war and falsehood. “There’s something entirely inconsistent about servant leadership as Wal-Mart practices it,” said DeBerg, the founder of the now-rival spinoff Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship. DeBerg’s memoir, “How High Is Up?: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of a Sam M. Walton SIFE Fellow,” will be released next month.