By: Matt Lepri
Over the past nine months, I had the great opportunity to oversee Duquesne University’s MBA Sustainability program’s involvement in this years Green Workplace Challenge (GWC). The Pittsburgh GWC is a year-long competition for organizations, such as Duquesne, to save money and gain recognition through the implementation of green initiatives.
As part of my fellowship duties for the MBA Sustainability program, I tracked, measured, and implemented sustainability initiatives over a wide range of categories which include: energy, water, waste, transportation, policy, and engagement. In the University division, Duquesne placed in 3rd place and earned a total of 107 green action points. The competition-wide sustainable initiatives reaped incredible savings, as participants in total saved 37,300,000 kWh of energy, valued at over $3 million, 5,421,000 gallons of water, and 4821 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
Each year, our cohort embarks on two study abroad trips. In February, we traveled to Germany. In May, we traveled to Costa Rica and Guatemala. The learning from the trips are evident in this video.
Students, Lixuan He, Peter Kassouf, Nicholas Monzo, and Laura Monahan, placed first in Duquesne’s MBA Sustainability LEED Commercial Interiors design project. Two students in our class, architect Dan Sutton and Carnegie Mellon University architecture student Rohini Srivistava consulted the student teams throughout the semester-long project.
“Being a consultant for the LEED CI project was very enjoyable because it allowed me to share my background experience and education with my classmates,” shared student and architect Dan Sutton. “It was rewarding to see how each groups project developed over time and it was great to see how teams would take my advice and make it their own to create their new vision for Rockwell Hall.”
All of the student teams went outside their comfort zone to envision a plan for Rockwell Hall that accounted for triple bottom line benefits. The students were instructed to create a design within a $2M budget that considers and educates stakeholders, while demonstrating the highest possible LEED CI point rating.
“The LEED CI project was an exciting opportunity to take sustainability concepts and get creative by applying them to a project that’s very close to our program, since it involves renovating the building that we use every day,” shared Nick Monzo, member of the winning team. “I’ve always enjoyed construction projects with my dad, and I loved having the chance to plan a large-scale project with a strategic sustainability vision in mind.”
Each year, Dr. Sroufe’s spring course, Sustainability Tools and Processes, includes a LEED CI project that focuses on different parts of Duquesne University. Throughout the spring semester, Dr. Sroufe arranged visits and guest lecturers to educate the cohort on sustainable building design that assisted with our projects. This year’s challenge forced the cohort to envision a new design for the concourse and basement levels of Rockwell Hall. A panel of judges including architects, professors, alumni, and members of the business community judged teams in this competition.
Before Duquesne: Derick, a Pittsburgh native, attended The Ohio State University where he majored in Mandarin Chinese and minored in Business.
Why Duquesne: “I chose this MBA program for the ability to participate in the live consulting projects”. This year Derick had the opportunity to complete consulting projects with PricewaterhouseCoopers, Braskem, and B Corps. Duquesne gave him the opportunity to compete in various case competitions including the Aspen Business & Society International Case Competition and the ACG Cup. Derick was part of the team that placed 2nd place in the Aspen business & Society International MBA Competition.
Beyond Duquesne: After graduation, Derick is excited to pursue a management role in a supply chain. In the future, Derick is interested in opportunities in China since he enjoys the Chinese language and culture.
During our visit to Guatemala we had the opportunity to visit Ecofiltro. Philip Wilson, CEO, realized that the lack of pure water in the rural households of many Guatemalans could not effectively be dealt with from the earlier donation dependent operation. He decided to convert Ecofiltro to a social business and followed a hybrid approach where urban sales of filters would serve to finance the distribution of rural filters at an affordable price. Ecofiltro’s factory is capable of producing 8,000-10,000 filters per month . To date, Ecofiltro has distributed over 175,000 filters throughout Guatemala; however, they plan to reach 1 million rural guatemalans with clean water by 2020.
Throughout the past week, all six consulting groups in the cohort had the opportunity to meet with their respective clients for the summer semester. I am lucky to work with Pittsburgh Green Innovators (PGI) this semester! I am extremely excited to have the opportunity to work with such an innovative and impactful non-profit organization. PGI is a non-profit organization committed to growing a vibrant green economy and community by collaboratively leveraging regional strengths through innovation, education, workforce development, and cultivation of sustainable business opportunities.
PGI has been an involved in planning process for the new Energy Innovation Center, and they will be a tenant in just a few months! The mission of the Energy Innovation Center is to contribute to socially responsible workforce development, foster energy and sustainable technology advancement, and assist in job creation through a commitment to diversity, innovation and comprehensive education. Our first meeting with PGI included a tour of the new Energy Innovation Center, and their space within the larger building.
Enjoy the pictures from our visit!
Today, Harvard Business School’s Dr. Chris Marquis visited Duquesne University, his father’s alma mater, to speak to our MBA Sustainability cohort, professors, and Pittsburgh-area business partners.
Dr. Marquis is an Associate Professor in the Organizational Behavior unit at the Harvard Business School and is affiliated with the HBS Social Enterprise Initiative and Harvard University Hauser Center for Non-Profit Organizations. He teaches the MBA elective Social Entrepreneurship in the Business Sector and a doctoral course on Organizational Theory.
Duquesne professors met Dr. Marquis at the Aspen Institute’s Faculty Pioneers award ceremony in the fall. Dr. Marquis, along with our very own Dr. Sroufe, were both recognized as finalist for the Aspen Institute’s Faculty Pioneer award, dubbed the “Oscars of the business school world” by the Financial Times.
Dr. Marquis’s visit included an open forum discussion regarding the topics of “Social Entrepreneurship and Creating System Level Change”. The discussion included topics like one-for-one models, benefit corporations, and impact investing, and system-level change as a social movement.
The discussion regarding B Corps is especially relevant to those in the cohort working with B Labs for their summer consulting project. Interestingly, there are over 1,000 B Corps nationally, and five in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh B Corps include Evolve EA, SEEDS, The Big Idea Bookstore, ReWork, and Thread. We are thankful for the relevant and interesting conversation with Dr. Marquis today!