By Alvina Lopez
The burgeoning trend of sustainable business programs being offered across universities nationwide is a heartening indicator that sustainability is now considered an absolutely integral part of standard business practice, worthy of focused study. One of the most unique undergraduate programs, offered at the College of the Atlantic in Maine, just recently received a large grant to further develop its Sustainable Ventures Incubator, a pilot program launched last year. According to a FenceViewer news article, the William Carey Foundation granted $100,000 to its undergraduate Sustainable Business program to fund student projects.
The Incubator program essentially gives students all the tools they need office space, mentoring, and funding to launch a sustainable venture on their own. It is a key component of the school’s Sustainable Business program and overall philosophy of connecting classroom learning with real-life experience.
Some of the projects already begun by COA business students include: creating easily installable kits for diesel autos that convert vegetable oil into energy, working with women in Afghanistan to import handmade embroidery into people’s homes for interior decoration, and growing organic vegetables in underused industrial spaces. According to the article reporting on the COA Incubator, all student projects emphasize sustainability as both a means for improving a venture’s competitive edge and set of methods that seeks positive social, environmental, and economic outcomes.
College of the Atlantic, a small school located in Maine, was founded in 1969 on the idea that higher education should serve to not only teach how and why the world works, but how students can make substantive changes for its improvement once they finish their studies. College of the Atlantic approaches every program of study through the lens of human ecology.
Although COA is one of only ten undergraduate programs with a focus on sustainable business, there are a growing number of graduate business programs with environmental components. A recent Huffington Post article featured five universities that offer MBA programs with sustainability as a key aspect of its curriculum.
The Green Economy Post, a website that discusses careers in sustainability, offers more insight into the “Green MBA, outlining why students interested in pursuing a graduate business degree may want to look into a program with a sustainable focus. The Green Economy Post also offers a comprehensive school directory.
This guest post is contributed by Alvina Lopez, who writes on the topics of accredited online schools. She loves to write on environment, college life, education, student life. She welcomes your comments at her email: alvina.lopez @gmail.com.