Syracuse University’s Sustainable Enterprise Partnership (SEP), a collaboration between the Martin J. Whitman School of Management, College of Engineering and Computer Science, SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) and the Syracuse Center of Excellence (CoE), continues to successfully train students and facilitate leading research and discussion around the topic of business and sustainability. Its Certificate of Advanced Study in Sustainable Enterprise (CASSE) allows students to explore the intersections of business and sustainability, leading to successful career placement on graduation. Todd Moss, assistant professor of entrepreneurship and sustainability is the current faculty director for the SEP.
Q. How was the SEP first established at Syracuse University?
A. In 2008 Professor Elet Callahan, professor emerita, law and public policy, founded the SEP with the support of university leadership and faculty from the College of Engineering and Computer Science, SUNY ESF and the Syracuse CoE. The three-fold mission of the SEP was to encourage sustainable business practices through outreach, research and teaching activities. Since the first graduating class in 2010, more than 75 students have graduated with a CASSE diploma. Today, I am grateful to be joined by Professor Cliff Davidson of civil and environmental engineering at Syracuse University, and SUNY-ESF Professors David Newman of forest and natural resources and Sharon Moran of environmental studies as the core faculty of the SEP.
Q. Does the SEP get involved in research?
A. Yes! In fact, each year we solicit requests for proposals from researchers looking to study the intersection between business and sustainability. In January, 2017, in cooperation with the U.S. Green Building Council, we awarded $19,000 to fund new research in the area of green building construction methods, specifically cross laminated timber (CLT) wood products in multi-family housing.
Rene Germain, professor of forest and natural resources management at SUNY ESF, and Patrick Penfield, professor of supply chain practice at the Whitman School of Management, are conducting the research, which focuses on the use of sustainable structural wood in multifamily housing and commercial structures. Specifically, the researchers are examining the regulatory, political and economic barriers that contribute to the lack of adoption of CLT in construction projects.
Q. In addition to funding research projects, the SEP hosts leading scholars in the area of sustainability, too, right?
A. Thanks to Harold Fetner ’83, who established the Fetner Fellowship Program, we are able to host speakers each year. In September, 2016 we welcomed John Crittenden, professor of environmental engineering at Georgia Tech, who spoke to students about the future of sustainable urban infrastructure. He also visited with CASSE students during an informal brunch and Q and A session. We also hosted John Mandyck, ’92 MPA, chief sustainability officer at United Technology Corporation’s Building & Industrial Systems Division, who explained sustainability at UTC in the areas of air travel, green building, and food waste and preservation.
Q. What is the student experience like for those who take the courses within the certificate program (CASSE)?
A. The real success of the SEP is the students. Fourteen students graduated this year with a CASSE diploma, and we taught 77 students over the three core CASSE courses. The capstone course is a sustainability consulting course in which students work on real-life projects with for-profit, nonprofit and governmental organizations. This year, students worked on projects with Syracuse’s own King + King Architects, net-zero manufacturer, Harbec, Inc., and the producers in the Harlem Valley Farm and Food Alliance. For more details on each project, visit the SEP website.
Q. What’s next for the SEP?
A. Looking to the remainder of the 2017-2018 academic year, we are planning to bring in outstanding guest speakers, grow the impact of research, and expand projects with national and international organizations while increasing the number of students graduating from the CASSE program. We thank all our donors and supporters, individuals and companies, without whom this collaboration would not be possible.
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