MBA Teams Step Up to the Green Challenge

Winning Teams Put Ideals Into Action To Reduce their University’s Environmental Footprint
Every spring, Net Impact, a group of future and current leaders who use business to create positive change invites student and professional members to compete in the annual Net Impact Green Challenge. The task: to use their business skills to reduce their organization’s environmental footprint. A panel of expert judges evaluates Green Challenge entries based on measurable environmental progress, strategic planning, scalability, creativity and stakeholder engagement.
“The Green Challenge inspires, recognizes, and rewards current and future business leaders,” says Liz Maw, Net Impact’s Executive Director. “We’ve created a viable platform for students and professionals to showcase their efforts to green campuses, businesses and the global marketplace. We hope their ideas and efforts will inspire and motivate others to follow.”
The 2008 Net Impact Green Challenge saw entries from Dartmouth, the Kellogg School of Management, Pepperdine University, Babson College, Thunderbird, and the University of California San Diego on projects ranging from installment of wind turbines to educational sustainability walks and LEED retrofitting work. Each entry demonstrated how students put their business skills to use for positive environmental action, but three teams stood out from the crowd.
Meet the winners of the 2008 Net Impact Green Challenge after the jump:

First Place: Stern School of Business, NYU
In an entry which Green Challenge judge David Yarnold, Executive Director of the Environmental Defense Fund Project called “A tour de force. Imaginative, far-reaching and highly effective,” leaders RJ Panda, Jake Berlin and their team at NYU created an elaborate Green Roof Proposal for a 6,500 square-foot garden on top of the main Stern campus building, The Kaufman Management Center. Additionally, the student winners of this year’s Green Challenge implemented a comprehensive recycling program, developed energy efficiency measures, and achieved a 75% reduction in paper usage for the Stern campus.
Second Place: University of Denver Daniels School of Business
Project leaders Charlie Coggeshall and Jeff Malcolm began by proposing the creation of two paid positions responsible for implementing sustainable practices at the college. The idea was well received, and soon they became the first Chief Sustainability Officers at the Daniels School of Business. As Josh Dorfman, the author of The Lazy Environmentalist , founder and CEO of Vivavi and Green Challenge judge commented, the team achieved an “outstanding quantification and measurement of goals.” Daniels now produces 30-40% of the cumulative recycling for the university, while only contributing about 5% of the waste.
Third Place: Simmons College School of Management
Project leaders Katherine Macrostie, Barbara Beaudoin, Alison Haight, and Erin McFee designed a course called “Sustainability Analysis and Reporting”. This MBA elective course introduces students to best practices in sustainability analysis, evaluation, and reporting in corporate and nonprofit settings, and will serve as a vehicle to measure the social and environmental impact of Simmons College on an on-going basis. “The team has clearly thought through what is required for long-term change,” says Green Challenge judge and 2007 Professional Green Challenge Winner Lisa Neuberger of Accenture Consulting, “and has put in place building blocks to achieve that through stakeholder engagement, creation of course, ongoing measurement, and education of sustainability measures/framework.”
Triple Pundit and Net Impact would like to congratulate all of the student teams who entered the 2008 Green Challenge. Stay tuned for the results of the professional contest!
If you’re not a member of Net Impact, please check out what they have to offer and consider attending their November conference this year at the Wharton School, in Philadelphia.

Nick Aster is a new media architect and the founder of has grown to become one of the web's leading sources of news and ideas on how business can be used to make the world a better place.

Prior to TriplePundit Nick worked for Mother Jones magazine, successfully re-launching the magazine's online presence. He worked for, managing the technical side of the publication for 3 years and has also been an active consultant for individuals and companies entering the world of micro-publishing. He earned his stripes working for Gawker Media and Moreover Technologies in the early days of blogging.

Nick holds an MBA in sustainable management from the Presidio School of Management and graduated with a BA in History from Washington University in St. Louis.

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