January 26, 2011

13th annual Accounting Challenge set for Feb. 4

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A unique test of skills and knowledge will draw hundreds of high school and community college students from all over the region to Southern Illinois University Carbondale in early February.

The 13th Annual School of Accountancy Accounting Challenge will be Feb. 4 in the small gym at the Student Recreation Center. Organizers anticipate more than 300 competitors will participate in academic written tests and hands-on team-building activity challenges.

The annual event begins in earnest at 9:15 a.m. with Chancellor Rita Cheng welcoming participants, after which the students jump right into the academic competition, testing their accounting knowledge and skills. Then it’s on to the team competition at 10:15 a.m. Groups will work together to address a surprise challenge.

The contest is always a surprise and always fun. Last year, each team got a few supplies, including four sheets of paper and a yard of masking tape, to create a container to encase cherry tomatoes to protect them from a pendulum hammer made of four 4 by 4 blocks. The force of the hammer could collapse a soda can. This year’s challenge will remain a closely guarded secret until the day of the competition.

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and news crews are welcome to cover the team competition at the 13th Annual Accounting Challenge at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. The best time to attend is between 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. in the small gym at the Student Recreation Center.

At stake are prizes including college scholarships. Students winning the individual competition will get certificates of recognition and scholarships they can claim by attending SIUC and majoring in accounting. Winning schools in the team competition will get trophies for their school and each team member will get a trophy as well. The awards ceremony is set for 1:45 p.m.

The School of Accountancy in the SIUC College of Business, the Accounting Circle (the school’s alumni group) and Caterpillar are sponsoring the popular annual event that includes breakfast and lunch for participating students and their teachers. Those taking part will also be eligible to win various door prizes that local businesses are donating.

After the awards presentation, students can enjoy a tour of the College of Business if they like. The Accounting Challenge is a great way for students to learn, have fun, and get a preview of what SIUC and the College of Business are all about, said Vance Sawyer, Accounting Challenge coordinator for 2010 and 2011. Sawyer, of Metropolis, attended the competition when in high school and said it made quite an impression on him.

“One of the big reasons I came to school at SIUC was because of what I experienced here when I was in high school -- visiting the College of Business and the classrooms and meeting with Dr. Marcus Odom (director of the School of Accountancy). It was great,” Sawyer said. “The Accounting Challenge really showcases the SIUC campus and the accounting program in a fun, energized way.”