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April 7: Enactus wins regional awards

Thursday, April 7, 2016

FREDERICK, Md.—A Hood College student club committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to transform lives and shape a better, more sustainable world won two regional awards recently for developing a piece of apparel that helps homeless people.

The 15-member Hood Enactus club traveled to Washington, D.C., to compete in its first regional competition March 29, where it presented what they have named the Backet, a cross-functional piece of apparel that combines a backpack and a winter jacket for homeless people. The Hood group was named a regional champion and earned the rookie of the year award. They will present their project at the national competition May 15-17 in St. Louis, Mo.

Enactus is a global organization of student, academic and business leaders that draws its name from the words “entrepreneurial,” “action” and “us.” It is an international nonprofit dedicated to inspiring students to improve the world through entrepreneurial action, creating a better world for everyone.

The Backet is intended to combat the two most pressing needs of homeless people—the need to keep ownership and proximity over their belongings and the need to adapt to varying weather conditions—according to David Gurzick, Ph.D., assistant professor of management at Hood who is a Sam Walton fellow, a designation Enactus gives to faculty coordinators. The Hood team has been evolving the prototype through design teams incorporating experts in apparel manufacturing, community action efforts, business entrepreneurship and homelessness.

The Backet originated when Hood Enactus member and Backet project manager Haroon Pasha went on a pilgrimage during which he experienced homelessness. He said it inspired him to take action and develop a product to help and empower the homeless community through Enactus. Pasha is a senior majoring in business administration with a concentration in information systems and a minor in economics.

Organizations outside the College assisted the project. The Religious Coalition for Human Needs, the Alan P. Linton Jr. Emergency Shelter, 2nd Street and Hope and the Frederick Community Action Agency are nonprofits that helped the team. Also, Hood alumna Tracy McGuirk, owner of Tracy Lin Creations, was the tailor for the project and helped the Enactus group create the Backet.

For more information, read the blog post at

To donate to the Backet project, visit