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Student Projects Unlock Sustainability Value

Sweet Auburn Historic District

Sweet Auburn Historic District

The Sustainable Business Consulting Practicum affords students the opportunity to help organizations tackle real sustainability, environmental, and social challenges for business. Project sponsors, in turn, can tap into the energy, creativity, and expertise of a team of Scheller College students. In 2020-21, the course hosted projects for Allegheny Healthcare Network, Chick-fil-A, Delta Air Lines, the Georgia Tech Office of Campus Sustainability, the Historic District Development Corporation (HDDC), Sustainable Newton, The Coca-Cola Company, and weRice.

Micheal Oxman, who co-teaches the course with Bob Lax, said, Our students can benefit from experiential education only with the direct involvement of engaged organizations. We're so grateful for all the host organizations who help us create tomorrow's responsible business leaders.

Naveed Ahmad and Katherine Huded

Michael Oxman and Bob Lax, co-instructors of the Sustainable Business Consulting Practicum.

HDDC, an organization dedicated to developing, renovating, and restoring affordable residential and commercial property within Atlanta's Old Fourth Ward, was so impressed with recommendations from the undergraduate team in the fall that it signed on for an MBA project in the spring as well. In both projects, students focused on the Center's social performance & human rights core theme to help support equitable economic development in the Sweet Auburn neighborhood, which is historically significant for its role in the civil rights movement.

The undergraduate team recommended social performance strategies and metrics that would help HDDC expand on existing environmentally focused building standards. The project liaison said the students' work was thorough, immensely helpful, and (to be quite honest) more than we were hoping for!

The MBA team took the next step in the spring by developing targeted recommendations for the Sweet Auburn Green and Equitable (SAGE) District across four priority areas: community wealth building, energy efficiency, urban agriculture, and affordable housing.

HDDC Executive Director Cheneé Joseph said, The practicum was one of the best student-led projects I've had the privilege of participating in. The work was professional and thoughtful, and the group members remained engaged in our work, which showed in their deliverable. Their solutions and recommendations are the basis of our SAGE program goals moving forward—and will be one of the reasons why the initiative is successful.

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