H&S Sophomore Colton Shoenberger, Bringing Economics to Life at IC

This article was written by Conor Harrington ’13

Colton Shoenberger, a sophomore math and economics double major, is bringing the New Economy Campus Summit to Ithaca College on April 20. Sponsored by the National Economics Institute, similar summits will be at 8-10 other colleges and universities across the country.

The summit will feature a keynote speaker and panel discussions that focus on revitalizing the downtown Ithaca Commons, cooperative businesses, and local banking, financing, and currency. The last discussion will look into the viability of Ithaca Hours, the local currency accepted at many retailers in town. Speakers will range from college professors to local business owners to leaders in economics.

During the hectic last two weeks of classes in December, Shoenberger applied for the summit and was accepted. He said he knew he would need to collaborate with some student groups if he wanted this event to be a true reflection of economics in action. He reached out to Omicron Delta Epsilon, the international economics honor society; Ithaca College Environmental Society; Environmental Leadership and Actions Network; and Net Impact, a campus organization committed to creating a more sustainable business world.

Shoenberger took a class last semester that inspired him to apply for the summit. He said, “The idea of creating more sustainable and localized economies is something that really caught my interest and became something I was really passionate about and something I've been thinking about pursuing further.” With this interest, the summit seemed like the perfect outlet.

Shoenberger has a few goals for the summit. He said, “The first thing is obviously to just expand the way we think about consumer activity and the idea of economics.”

“Beyond that, I really hope to bridge the gap between initiatives that are going on on-campus to promote sustainability and equity with the things that are going on off-campus,” he said.

William Kolberg, associate professor and chair of the Department of Economics, recommended Shoenberger for the summit proposal and will be involved with the event in April. He said the summit will focus on many local issues that students can benefit from learning about. In terms of the first discussion point on the revitalization of the downtown Ithaca Commons, he said, “Traditionally, IC has had a very strong presence and connection with downtown Ithaca, so it’s kind of neat to be looking for ways to strengthen that relationship.”

The all-day summit is free and open to community members and students from Ithaca College, Cornell University, and Tompkins Cortland Community College.

To learn more about the NEI and the Campus Network program, click here

This article was written by Conor Harrington ’13


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