This post was written by Jackson Berman ‘20. Connect with him on Linkedin.
The Sustainable Innovation MBA Class of 2020 will be hosting a virtual Sustainability Summit on April 22, 2020 in collaboration with The Gund Institute for Environment. This summit, organized by SI-MBA students themselves, is a golden opportunity to apply Appreciative Inquiry (AI) and World Café tools learned in Professor Dr. Ante Glavas’s course, Driving Sustainable Change. The Sustainability Summit will kick-off with opening remarks from Sanjay Sharma, Dean of the Grossman School of Business, and include keynote speakers Taylor Ricketts, Director of the Gund Institute, and Patty Prelock, University of Vermont Provost.
I had the opportunity to chat (virtually) with Ante and ask him the story of how this summit came to be. “The Gund Institute for Environment and I realized the 50th Anniversary of Earth day this year was a perfect opportunity for SI-MBA students to organize a summit centered around creating lasting sustainable change and solving environmental issues.”
The Sustainability Summit will take a bottom-up approach to build cross-sector stakeholder-led initiatives which will contribute to the future of sustainability at UVM. We will measure UVM’s strengths in the sustainability space and co-create scalable strategies for driving future change.
Ante mentioned that “students are able to apply the tool of Appreciative Inquiry to map techniques for creating lasting sustainable impacts.” The summit will feature workshops and world café-style breakout groups to tap into the collective wisdom of all summit participants.
In this new time of COVID-19 and social distancing, SI-MBA students have truly gone the extra mile, stepping up to quickly transition the summit into a virtual experience. Although originally Ante feared the summit would be canceled, the overwhelming feedback was that now more than ever is a crucial time for people to connect. “SI-MBA students recognize the importance of preserving a bottom-up, co-creative environment,” Ante said. Hosting this Sustainability Summit despite the new virtual learning circumstances provides such an opportunity to contribute towards building a better, more collaborative, and more sustainable future together.
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