What a Difference a Year Makes!

The MBA Sustainability class of 2014 has officially matriculated.  Everyone at Duquesne University is excited to see the impact that this cohort leaves through their respective careers.  The video below shares highlights from the year-long program.  What a difference a year makes!

Transforming Water Purification in Guatemala

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Supply Chain of Coffee

When I was very young my grandparents taught us to dip cookies in coffee instead of milk.  Since then I have become a huge fan of coffee, but I never take time to think about the supply chain of coffee.  Our trip to Costa Rica included a visit to Café Britt, which allowed me to learn so much about my daily drink of choice.

For more than 28 years Café Britt has sourced, roasted and shipped the finest gourmet coffees directly from Costa RicaPeru and Colombia, keeping a strong relationship with farmers and Fair Trade practices.  The slideshow below includes highlights from our visit:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Conquering Fears in Costa Rica

By Katherine Summers

IMG_0777

For 23 years I have been afraid of heights. When we were in La Fortuna we were given the opportunity to either go on a canopy walk or go ziplining. I decided that if I was going to face my fears I should go all out.

As we were strapped into our gear I was having second thoughts but told myself I would probably only be in the Costa Rican rainforest once so I had to do it! It was the most amazing experience of my life! I am so proud of myself for facing my fears, and thankful to be in an MBA program that allows these opportunities!

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.

Angela’s First Trip to Europe!

A short week ago, my cohort friends and I departed for a trip across the pond to Deutschland! Not only was I excited for a week away, but also my first trip to Europe! With limited German knowledge, I was pleasantly surprised at the number of English speaking people. I was also in awe of all the rich history. We had the opportunity to chat with some locals our age, and discussed how the historical sites in Europe date back much farther than those in the US. Transportation also stood out to me as a difference between Europe and America. The bike lanes that lined every street, the train stations peppered throughout the city, and the overall easy access to public transportation was admirable. I had a very enjoyable and eye-opening trip, and the travel bug has bit me! I can’t wait to explore the rest of Europe now!

Rebecca’s First Trip to Europe!

becca2

By Rebecca Bykoski

February 28th, 2014 was the date that marked the first time my feet touched European soil!  As anyone who was in attendance on the trip to Germany can attest, it was a world-class experience.

We toured over most of southern Germany, beginning in Frankfurt, then spent a day in historic Heidelberg before traveling to Darmstadt and Stuttgart, and ending our Germanic journey in Cologne.  We were fortunate enough to be welcomed by many businesses and organizations such as Bayer, the European Central Bank, and Kreissparkasse to see how sustainability is incorporated into their operations and had the unique opportunity to visit Passivhaus, which illustrated how simple it can be to achieve energy efficiency not only in homes, but in businesses as well.

In addition to our business visits, we were taken on personal tours through both Frankfurt and Cologne where we marveled at castles, Roman ruins, and some of the most beautiful churches I have ever seen.

The high points of my trip:  The Dom in Cologne, the most majestic structure I have ever had the opportunity to be inside, the trailblazing hike with one of my classmates halfway up a mountain to reach a lookout tower thousands of years old, and the many memories and deep bonds that were formed with my amazing friends and professors.

I thank you, Duquesne University, for this life-changing experience, and I send a personal thanks to Dr. Drake and Professor Nist who took time away from their families and lives to enrich not only our educational experience, but our lives.  For them, I am eternally grateful.  And, lastly, I cannot wait to return to Europe!

(Rebecca is one of many students who enjoyed their first trip to Europe thanks to the MBA Sustainability program. An experience of a lifetime).