Sustainability Projects Help Local Businesses

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During the capstone course of the Certificate of Advanced Study in Sustainable Enterprise (CASSE), students work on real-life projects with for-profit, nonprofit and governmental organizations. Students most recently worked on the following projects:

King+King Architects

A student team consulted with King+King Architects to produce an internal report to help architects and other team members easily navigate many of the common building energy standards. They also summarized case studies conducted on the energy, environmental, human health and performance and occupant comfort benefits of high performance buildings. These studies were summarized to provide King+King Architects with metrics that can be used to develop a marketing strategy.

HARBEC, Inc.

Four CASSE students formed a multidisciplinary Sustainability Consulting Group (SCG), working together with HARBEC Inc. during spring of 2017 to deliver a marketing strategy rooted in the sustainable achievements of HARBEC Inc., a company located in Ontario, New York, that sustainably provides prototypes, tooling, machined components and quality injection molded parts. The strategy included ways to identify potential customers, as well as describe what those companies’ mission, vision, values and goals were. It also included a customer survey and other secondary research. Within the plan, the students reviewed the WalMart sustainability initiatives to explore best practices and examples of successful sustainability life cycles.

Harlem Valley Food and Farm Alliance, Harlem Valley, N.Y.

The Harlem Valley Food and Farm Alliance (HVFFA) is in the early stages of gaining a foothold within a growing industry and is hoping to promote its region, which offers a variety of farms and attractions. Additionally, the Taconic Parkway and Metro North Train make this rural area highly accessible for all social classes. A large component of the alliance’s ambitions is to bring a greater connection to food and open spaces. As urbanization continues to impede upon rural areas, it will be essential for small towns such as this to give visitors a reason to want to conserve the land. With these considerations, the student team developed and distributed surveys, conducted interviews, visited the area and reviewed literature. As a result, three methods were suggested to assist the alliance with gaining momentum and becoming an agritourism destination for the Poughkeepsie and New York City areas: encourage sustainability, attract more members and marketing/branding options.

To see an archive of all completed projects and to submit a project for consideration, visit Whitman.syr.edu/sep-projects.

Kerri Howell

Kerri is director of communications and media relations for the Whitman School. She is responsible for managing all internal and external communications with students, faculty, staff, alumni, members of the business community and other key stakeholders.After receiving her B.A. from State University of New York at Geneseo, she went on to earn her M.S. in communications management from Syracuse’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, where she has served as an adjunct professor in the public relations department since 2004.
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