|IC Business Students: Working Toward a Sustainable Future|
|IC business school students explore the field of environmental mangement as they implement their "working green" knowledge.|
What exactly is green management? Students in Ithaca College’s School of Business know all about it. They are exploring the growing field of environmental management—a subject not commonly integrated into traditional business curriculums—through a variety of cross-disciplinary courses and other educational experiences. Better yet, they are learning to apply their knowledge to real life scenarios and work toward global green practices. The idea of “working green” is all around. In fact, the 38,000-square-foot building in which the School of Business is housed serves as an example of environmental stewardship; it was the first business school building in the world to become platinum-certified for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), the highest distinction of its kind.
Whitney Olado, a senior business administration major, says she has benefited from her program’s focus on interdisciplinary study and cross-departmental collaboration. Business students have the opportunity to enroll in unique courses taught in the newly formed Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences. As part of the School of Humanities and Sciences, the department offers over 15 classes concentrated specifically on environmental issues and other emerging topics in the field. Hands-on experience is heavily emphasized by instructors as well: Olado’s Ecological Preservation class recently travelled to Belize to work on sustainable business practices in the tourism industry with local eco-lodges.
“We have learned about sustainable business practices in class, but it was amazing to discover their practical application in everyday situations,” says Olado. “The opportunity to work in Belize with eco-lodges and sustainable business owners to benchmark green practices was invaluable.”
“We have business school students in our classrooms each semester,” says environmental studies professor Susan Allen-Gil. In December 2009, Allen-Gil travelled with her International Environmental Policy class to the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. Ithaca College is one of only a few colleges and universities to be granted permanent observer status at annual climate treaty gatherings. While attending the conference, the class conducted daily public opinion polls regarding climate change. The polls were available via the Web to facilitate worldwide participation.
“Building awareness is the key to igniting change in the business world,” says Allison Walker, a senior business administration major. Walker trekked to Denmark with Allen-Gil’s group and helped organized the online polls. “Though cross-disciplinary studies, I’ve been able to join my marketing skills with my interest in sustainability—a combination I strongly believe will prepare me for the future.”
At Ithaca College, business students in all areas of study—finance, marketing, management, and accounting—find valuable opportunities to engage in global sustainability efforts and to learn sustainable business practices both in and outside the classroom. The School of Business continues to expand its offerings in this area and collaborate with other programs to provide the most holistic, green education available. For more information about the UN Conference trip, as well as to view poll results, visit http://www.popcop15.com/index.html.