Ithaca College Will Make You Ready
With a vibrant community, professors who inspire, and the hands-on experience you need to dive into your field with confidence.
I entered Ithaca College having no idea what I wanted to do with my life. Then Jeff Furman—an Ithaca local known as “the ampersand” at the famous ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s—spoke in one of my classes. He talked about Ben & Jerry’s and an amazing way of doing business that I had never heard of before. I became inspired and engulfed in the way Ben & Jerry’s does business, in their philosophy on giving back to the community and in their belief that businesses don’t have to be run solely based on making a profit. It was then I decided, “I want to be a part of this.”
For four years after graduating, I worked at the Ben & Jerry’s headquarters in Vermont. I became half of a two-person team and the company’s official “PR chick,” working with the integrated marketing and social mission teams. Often other companies would turn to us to find out how Ben & Jerry’s is so successful at being such a “good” company. That’s when I realized that there were few resources available to help for-profit companies looking to embrace corporate social and environmental responsibility.
Being exposed to Jeff Furman’s business philosophy, studying so many different types of companies while at Ithaca College, and experiencing values-led business at Ben & Jerry’s, I realized my passion for this kind of work. I want to see every single company in the world doing business in a responsible way, in a way that isn’t hurting people, continuing the poverty cycle, or harming the environment but proactively improving local and global communities.
That’s why I started Socially Good Business, a firm dedicated to helping companies incorporate values into their sustainable business models and consumer communication campaigns. My company also helps nonprofits partner with for-profits by creating proposals and packaged ideas that for-profits can use to engage consumers and enhance the company’s efforts toward social responsibility. This is the next generation of business, an evolution of society, and this movement is just starting to rev up. There are only a few other companies like mine in the country. My experience at Ithaca gave me the knowledge and confidence I needed to get a job at one of the most beloved global brands in the world—the very company that pioneered this movement—and that’s what gives my company an edge over the competition.
Consumers are starting to demand that companies do business in a different way, in a way that respects the planet and the people on it. Companies are seeing a demand for this better business model and are starting to change. But a lot of them don’t know how—and that’s what Socially Good Business is here for.
When Sarah Brylinsky started her freshman year at IC, she’d never heard of sustainability. Now, as the living laboratory manager at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sarah’s role on campus is to make sure students and faculty understand sustainability and have the tools and resources they need to incorporate sustainability into their courses and campus life.
“Where I am right now is a natural progression that started my freshman year when I took a first-year seminar called Introduction to Sustainability,” Sarah said. “The seminar showed how people, profits, and the planet interlock. I saw how I could be involved in social and civic justice and feel empowered. I had a path forward.”
Applying lessons learned in the classroom, Sarah introduced sustainability practices in Ithaca’s residence halls, developed a campus-wide student climate movement, and co-organized a NATO advanced research workshop on the role of environmental security in higher education. Her efforts earned her the 2008 Student Sustainability Leadership Award, a national honor given annually by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.
Sarah received the award the same year she graduated from IC with a bachelor’s in communication management and design. She had four job offers: “Four universities were looking for a full-time sustainability coordinator. Their offers were clearly based on the sustainability projects I’d done at IC.”
After launching a successful career leading sustainability initiatives in higher education, Sarah decided it was vital for her to continue her own education. First considering graduate programs in climate and environmental science, she discovered a program at Ithaca that more closely fit her goals—the master of science in communications innovation.
“I started my career not because I wanted to be a climate scientist but because I wanted to communicate in new ways. I want to make sure students in this country graduate with an understanding of sustainability as a fundamental part of their education. So what better way for me to launch my career into the next phase than to think about how to communicate in new and innovative ways within my field.”
Thanks to a curriculum that includes media economics, systems modeling, and ethical issues; thanks also to an online format and special topics seminars that accommodate the demands of home and work life; and thanks to the Art Moore ’66 Scholarship, awarded to students whose costs are not fully covered by their employers, the communications innovation master’s degree gave Sarah a platform to collaborate closely with other forward-thinking communications executives. The program’s think-tank model is helping her advance her long-term mission.
“The communications innovation M.S. blends successful communications strategy with fresh thinking. Working with colleagues in disparate fields such as international relations, e-media, and digital production is helping me transform higher education as a means of creating a sustainable society.”
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