The Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business (“Center”) at the Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business is delighted to announce the 2021-22 Graduate Sustainability Fellows and Undergraduate Sustainability Ambassadors. This year, the cohort includes 20 graduate students representing the Full-time, Evening, and Executive MBA Programs, as well as the Master of Sustainable Energy and Environmental Management Program. The 16 undergraduate students represent majors in aerospace engineering, architecture, business administration, chemical and biomolecular engineering, computer science, environmental engineering, and physics.
The Fellows and Ambassadors will deepen their engagement in sustainability by working on projects and participating in activities related to sustainable business. The programs for Fellows and Ambassadors deliver on the Center’s commitment to empowering students to become leaders in building a sustainable and prosperous future.
The parallel programs for graduate and undergraduate students are co-organized by Arianna Robinson, the Center’s assistant director of business operations, and Kjersti Lukens, the Center’s program support coordinator. Robinson said, “The Center welcomed its first cohort of Fellows in Fall 2015. Back then, we had only three graduate students participating. Beginning in 2018, we expanded our program to include undergraduates as well. The programs have seen tremendous growth over the years. What has remained consistent is that the participants represent really diverse backgrounds and interests in sustainability. Each year, I look forward to getting to know such an interesting and fun group of folks!”
Lukens echoed Robinson’s sentiments. She said, “We’re so glad to have all this year’s Fellows and Ambassadors on board. They make me hopeful for the future! Sustainability is so broad…encompassing everything from recycling to issues of human rights and social justice. We anticipate that by the end of the year, the students will have a deeper understanding of the deep complexities involved in solving sustainability issues.”
Throughout the 2021-22 academic year, Fellows and Ambassadors are working on a total of 13 team projects that address real-world challenges being faced by on-campus and external partnering organizations. A sample of this year’s projects includes the following:
- Two teams are working on projects related to Drawdown Georgia, a state-specific roadmap for carbon reduction that includes 20 high-impact solutions. The first team is working with RCE Greater Atlanta to advance equity in business engagement. The second team is working on the Center’s initiative, the Drawdown Georgia Business Compact, a consortium of businesses working to achieve net-zero carbon emissions in Georgia by 2050. The team will develop an actionable plan for partner firms to fulfill goals while also ensuring equitable distribution of solutions to historically marginalized communities.
- The Lifecycle Building Center, a nonprofit that captures building materials from the waste stream and directs them back into the community, is the focus of two projects. The first team is researching how to improve the material donation evaluation process and to redesign the data collection and donation process such that the carbon impact for reusing reclaimed building materials can be better measured and understood. The second team is working on a project to improve the matching program for nonprofits to request materials.
- Two teams are working on projects related to the University Global Coalition, an international group of higher education officials and institutions with the shared goal of implementing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals at all levels of higher education. The first team will develop a strategy for engaging UGC member organizations and summarizing their input in the strategic planning process. The second team will work with the UGC to help with the development of their strategic plan, with specific focus on developing goals, objectives, and a unique value proposition for the group.
The remaining teams projects focus on the following organizations and/or topics:
- Atlanta K-12 Sustainability Curriculum
- Daya (a Houston nonprofit)
- Georgia Tech Vertically Integrated Project (VIP): National Parks: Diversity and Sustainability
- Georgia Tech Vertically Integrated Project (VIP): Peace Engineering & SDG 9, 16
- Right to Repair: Circular Economy Research Project
- Sustainable Newton
- United Methodist Church Global Ministries
In Spring 2022, Fellows and Ambassadors will share project outcomes in videos that will be posted to the Center’s website. (To see videos from last year’s cohort, click here.)
Several Fellows and Ambassadors shared how they look forward to following in the footsteps of visionary sustainable business leader Ray C. Anderson. Fellow Paroma Chakravarty said, “Like Ray, I believe sustainability is not just the right thing to do, but the smart thing to do in business. As climate change causes global disruptions, the supply chains we depend on will need to be resilient and adaptable to continue functioning. I am getting my MBA to help build resilient supply chains.” Fellow Adriane Rogers, who has spent over 15 years helping organizations comply with environmental regulations, stated, “Over my career, sustainability has come to encompass more than simply complying with environmental regulations. My decision to pursue an MBA hinged on a desire to integrate sustainable solutions into business operations in order to (as Ray said) ‘do good...not just no harm.’”
The Center is proud to introduce the next cohort of “Ray C. Andersons of tomorrow!"
2021-22 Scheller College Graduate Sustainability Fellows
2020-21 Scheller College Undergraduate Sustainability Ambassadors
View all profiles of Ambassadors here.
Written by Jennifer Holley Lux