Free Enterprise Marathon held at SUNY Plattsburgh

Marathon winners, from left to right, Matthew Robert, Alex Johnson, Thomas Volpe and Matt Flynn.

Marathon winners, from left to right, Matthew Robert, Alex Johnson, Thomas Volpe and Matt Flynn.

— Dressed in suits and ties, dresses and heels, students from New York and Vermont spoke their way to success in the second annual Free Enterprise Marathon March 7.

The marathon took place at SUNY Plattsburgh from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and included schools such as Clarkson University, SUNY Canton, University of Vermont, SUNY New Paltz, SUNY Adirondack, Norwich University, Clinton Community College, Saint Michael’s College, Southern Vermont College and SUNY Plattsburgh; two more schools than last year’s marathon.

Each school competed in three contests throughout the day consisting of the speak-off finals, team creativity and innovation challenge and the Mug-of-War presentations. After the competitions, awards were given out to schools in each category during the dinner and awards banquet later that evening.

For the speak-off finals, Matt Flynn from Clarkson University received first place with Tom Volpe from SUNY New Paltz coming in second, Matthew Robert from SUNY Plattsburgh coming in third and Alex Johnson from Norwich University coming in fourth.

“The speak-off was much better than last year,” said Nancy Church, chair of the Department of Marketing and Entrepreneurship. “Last year, we didn’t win anything, so I was happy that we had a third place winner.”

At the beginning, 36 schools received the invitation to compete, but the first 12 who submitted the “Commitment to Participate” form were able to compete. To determine who would attend the speak-off finals, each of the 12 campuses competed from Nov. 1 to Feb. 12, leaving one representative from each school to compete for their school.

“I felt honored for the opportunity to represent SUNY Plattsburgh,” Robert said. “To have placed against so many talented and accomplished speakers was a huge accomplishment for me.”

The topic of the speak-off challenge was “Free Enterprise: What this Country needs is more Entrepreneurs.” During Roberts five minutes of speaking, he focused on the idea that the country needs not just an entrepreneur but a specific type to make the US grow in a positive way by introducing names such as Blake Mycoskie and Bill Gates.

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