Spring 2018 Events

Data Visualization Workshop

On March 31, 2018 current SUMA student Lucas Piazza,  conducted the “Data Visualization for the Everyday (Wo)Man” workshop in which he drew upon his experience turning data into visual stories to teach the easy-to-employ secrets of good data visualizations. This workshop emphasized practicality over theory to ensure every attendee walk away with the knowledge that can be immediately used.

As a communications professional for a NYC-based data startup, Lucas Piazza knows the power of data visualizations. Design, done correctly, is a universal language that has the power to make highly complex information relevant to an audience.

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Spring 2018 Projects Mid-Term Review

On March 21, 2018 we conducted a mid-term review of the four projects for Spring 2018. Each team presented their findings and next steps to complete their project.

Project #1 Data analysis for life cycle assessment of products

Project # 2 Waste management strategy for Columbia University

Project #3 Sustainability strategy for Town of Lenox, MA

Project #4 Solar project development and communications strategy for craft brewery


Climate Drawdown Innovation Workshop

On March 3rd, 2018, we had an incredible workshop led by Of Course Global, where we learned about design thinking and how to apply it to climate change solutions for Net Impact‘s Drawdown INNOVATE challenge! A contest that gave winners an opportunity to further develop their concept through an accelerator program in San Francisco, internship, or cash prize.

Participant feedback:

“Thanks a bunch for putting on one of the best workshops I have attended here at Columbia.”
-Evan Carfagno
“Thanks to SUMA Net Impact for hosting events like the Design Thinking Workshop that allowed us to use our creativity and to learn methodologies to maximize it. This workshop is an excellent tool for sustainability professionals that aim to tackle the current world’s challenges. “
-Andrea Gomez Vesga

 

Update: We’re so excited to announce that one of the teams from our Design Thinking Workshop a few weeks ago won a finalist spot in Net Impact’s Drawdown INNOVATE challenge! They will get to attend the 2018 Net Impact Accelerator in Oakland, CA and compete with other finalists for a cash prize. Good luck to Jenna Lewein, Matt Akins, and Merlyn Mathew!


Waste Management Workshop

On February 27, 2018, SUMA Net Impact invited project teams to learn about current SUMA student’s, Aharon Kestenbaum, professional work with the NYC Department of Education’s zero waste initiatives.

It was allowed our Columbia Environmental Stewardship project team to discuss their current project findings and future deliverables.

Watch video of the event HERE

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Spring 2018 Projects

Spring 2018 Projects 

We have four exciting projects in Spring 2018 that will offer the chance to gain hands-on sustainability experience, boost your resume, and make new friends in the process.

Project #1 Data analysis for life cycle assessment of products

Project # 2 Waste management strategy for Columbia University

Project #3 Sustainability strategy for Town of Lenox, MA

Project #4 Solar project development and communications strategy for craft brewery

 

Stay tuned for our team updates on these projects on Facebook!

 

 

Marina Dirks of S&C North America

Marina Dirks, the Principal at S&C North America, a corporate responsibility and sustainability consulting firm, spoke with SUMANI’s Aksheya Chandar about her experience getting to her esteemed position and her perspective on corporate sustainability at large.

Hi Marina, thanks so much for your time today. Why don’t we start off by you telling us a little about yourself and your background?

I grew up in Germany and at some point decided that I wanted to pursue an education in business and economics and quickly got interested in sustainability. I started in 2005, at a time when very limited standardized sustainability management education, like what you guys have, existed. For example, you could study environmental engineering, but it lacked the management perspective. I studied business and economics, and within that field, I tried to do things that have to do with sustainability. While trying to build my business background, I did internships in accounting and business development and worked with multi-national corporations (MNCs). I also tried to apply for scholarships and competitions in the field of sustainability and did an internship with the United Nations. I wrote my thesis on global governance – specifically, about public-private partnerships with the UN. I basically was forced to find creative ways to bring sustainability into my studies since there were no programs on sustainability management offered back then.

Was there a specific area of interest within the broad realm of sustainability?

I think in the end it’s all closely linked, but I was mostly interested in the management perspective of sustainability: How do you shape your business strategy and make your product portfolio to be more sustainable? Basically, general questions which one learns at the business school, from a sustainability angle. I think one of the first theories I learned about within sustainability was Porter’s value chain analysis (Strategy and Society: The Link Between Competitive Advantage and Corporate Social Responsibility, 2006) which talks about how to incorporate sustainability into the core business of a firm, instead of only adding corporate citizenship activities on the side. Another paper addressing the sustainability of a company’s business model that I worked with during my studies is Marketing Myopia by Theodore Levitt. It looks at long-term market trends and looks at how business models might get outdated over time. I find this very relevant for sustainability because I feel it encompasses the environmental, social, and governance aspects of a business and calls for ideas on how to make a business more sustainable. I am very passionate about looking at sustainability from a business perspective. Continue reading “Marina Dirks of S&C North America”

SUMANI Trendster: Editor’s Note

Since a particular day in early November, my classmates and I have wondered (or lamented) aloud how we will move forward with our sustainable efforts while the Federal Government tries to tear them down.

Just last week, budget proposals were abuzz and one, in particular, was decried as… misguided (a mild synonym for many other adjectives I heard). Earth Institute Director Steven Cohen stated it clearly in his Huffington Post spot from last Monday.

While cuts to the EPA and research programs housed at universities like Columbia would reduce funding to important studies, I am confident in the ability of my classmates and my own abilities to develop a free market that will drive sustainability.

Continue reading “SUMANI Trendster: Editor’s Note”

Trendster: Smart Receipts and Sustainable Shopping

What if, with every purchase you made, you got a receipt indicating not just the price you paid, but the energy that was used to get that product to you? Chirayu Belthur, senior analyst at Ugam Solutions, in conjunction with SUMANI’s own Aksheya Chandar, briefs us on an emerging concept in retail analytics.

On her way back from work at a consulting firm in New York City, Lisa decides to swing by the nearby Walmart in North Bergen to pick up groceries for the family as well as cup of yogurt on the go. She swipes her credit card for $48 and heads on home, happy that she was able to make the most of the everyday low price deals. But does $48 account for everything Lisa and her family have consumed?

Continue reading “Trendster: Smart Receipts and Sustainable Shopping”

Trendster: Big Data and Sustainability

Decision Scientist and current SUMA student Aksheya Chandar sheds light on the connection between massive data sets and sustainable development in business and beyond.

Sustainability entails decisions that are socially, environmentally and economically equitable. This isn’t a new concept, but rather a different way of approaching traditional decision making at the residential, commercial, industrial, and political levels. Once we are able to appreciate this fact, it naturally follows that information is critical to enabling sustainability in the same way it has traditionally been used for decision-making. The question then is- what information is required for sustainable development and where is it available?

Continue reading “Trendster: Big Data and Sustainability”

SUMANI Trendster: Editor’s Note

To SUMANI Readers

My first year of college, I was so bewildered by the madness of finals that I walked into an Anthropology final after having reviewed my English Literature notes all morning. As it turns out, few bridges can be built between Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure and technical explanations of Genus Homo.

Continue reading “SUMANI Trendster: Editor’s Note”