Assignment: Create and Manage an Event on Sustainability
Ask students to run an event using sustainable methods. Most students are part of clubs or groups that hold membership drives or others types of events. Students should submit a plan that includes specific sustainable practices the event will incorporate. These could include practices such as providing recyclable plates and utensils and clearly marked bins for their disposal or buying food that is produced locally. The Sustainable Communities Network has a short guide that can help students with ideas for their sustainable event (see sustainable.org/information/ SusEvent_2003.pdf) (Borin & Metcalf, 2010).
Gordon Rands of Western Illinois University uses environmental change related course learning projects. Since an apt focus on service learning projects is supporting campus sustainability efforts, hundreds of universities are working to improve their environmental sustainability. Areas where universities are making efforts include energy and water conservation, using renewable energy, mitigating pollution, recycling (e.g., in resident halls), composting, and purchasing "green products" including ones with recycled content. The kinds of environmental service learning projects that have been completed include examining university computer retirement, paper use on campus, and reduction of campus greenhouse emissions (Rands, 2009). Business schools should be preparing students to help create an environmentally sustainable economy (Rands, 1993). Business schools should demonstrate the level of commitment to environmental sustainability that they expect of their graduates by practicing the same. In the second decade of the 21st century a statement such as that a school will make sure that their publications are printed on both sides will not be as effective as a statement that the use of paper is banned in the entire school. Certainly, life is theater and it is proper for business schools to be mesmerizing spectacles rather than pale reflections of the past (Jabbour, 2010). Adopting sustainability practices in universities has been found to encounter barriers such as the dearth of resources universities have to invest in sustainability issues given the cutbacks in governmental support for education in the wake of the financial crisis (Filho, 2000).
Undergraduate Business Programs Have Seen the Future— and It's Green
The approach currently gaining favor in undergraduate business programs today involves focusing on the opportunities created by the world's problems—from alternative energies to lifting the world's poor out of poverty. "It's not a gloom and doom approach," says Marlene Barken, associate professor of legal studies at the Ithaca School of Business. "It's about where opportunities are" (as cited in DiMeglio, 2009). At University of Virginia (UVA), Mark White teaches global sustainability with colleagues in the architecture and engineering departments. Students in that course are challenged to design a project that will improve local sustain-ability then apply for a grant to fund it, according to White, who was the academic dean of the UVA-sponsored Semester at Sea in spring 2010, which had the theme of sustainability and featured stops in ports in
Hawaii, Japan, and Italy (DiMeglio, 2009).
Wharton students can take on a university-wide minor, sustainability and environmental management that allows them to learn a specific discipline, then delve deeper into specific issues, according to Eric W. Orts, professor of legal studies, business ethics, and management. For instance, he reported that this minor would be perfectly paired with a concentration in entrepreneurship for a student who wants to start a green business after graduation. "What we're trying to do fits in with the dean's vision that business school should be a force for good," says Orts, "not just an institution to increase the salaries of its students" (as cited in DiMeglio, 2009).