Learning Outside the Classroom at Phipps Conservatory

In preparation for our LEED design project in Dr. Sroufe’s Sustainability Tools and Processes for New Initiatives class, we have a series of learning opportunities that go beyond the typical classroom lecture.  Last week’s presentations focused on the LEED certification process to gather a base understanding for our final deliverable.  This week we had the opportunity to hear from a program alumni, Jason Wirick, at Phipps Conservatory.  The learning opportunity included a presentation and site visit to Phipp’s Living Building. Jason gave us insight regarding the “Living Building Challenge”, a green building certification program that defines the most advanced measure of sustainability in the built environment possible today and acts to diminish the gap between current limits and ideal solutions.

To learn about the process that went in to create Phipp’s Living Building, watch the video below.


PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting Project

Recently, three PwC executives came to class to introduce our first live consulting engagement – an exciting white space challenge.

The practice leader and managing director outlined the company’s portfolio of services, organizational structure, culture and values.  His colleague, a practice expert, explained his service area in more detail, and the third executive offered context for risk management issues associated with our strategic challenge.

Working for PwC offers a very unique perspective, since we will be consulting for a consultant.  To develop our recommendations, we will be using theory and tools from our systems thinking and sustainability courses as well as methodology from the IDEO design-thinking workshop that kicked off the project course.   The cohort has been divided into six teams, and all six will be preparing independent solutions for PwC.

Sustainability Practicum Project Introduction

Guest Blogger: Matthew Petronko

The Sustainability Consulting Practicum Class is well underway. As we finish our degree, this is our best opportunity to apply lessons learned this year. Two weeks ago we met with our client, The Idea Foundry. They are a business incubator and a client with whom we will work. Our project is a start up that will be an international social enterprise. This is an opportunity to help embed shared value and sustainability into the organization.

First, we researched The Idea Foundry to prepare for our initial meeting. Once we learned about our project and understood our client’s goals, we got to work. The next week we had prepared a research plan and refined it with our client. We each came about it from a different angle, showing our individual tendencies. It was exciting to see such diversity and depth in our group. The mid-project review is coming up soon. We will show the results of our research and respond to what we found. This is going to be a great project.