The Earth Institute is expanding its professional development program with the addition of mini-career workshops that focus on particular areas of sustainability. The first of these workshops took place on April 17, 2014, and it focused on energy efficiency. The purpose of the workshops is to provide opportunities to students to learn from faculty and alumni, who are practitioners in various sustainability fields. Offering these workshops was one of the recommendations of the Professional Development Task Force, which comprised students, faculty and staff in the M.S. in Sustainability Management program.
Prior to joining the M.S. in Sustainability Management program, current student Carolyn was working as a consultant for Perkins+Will, an architecture and planning firm, where she focused on green building and sustainability planning work. Carolyn chose the MSSM program because she wanted to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to transition into a career in sustainable investing – a goal that she has already accomplished during her time as a student. Carolyn credits the MSSM program with shaping the way she understands economics and sustainability’s crucial role in investment management.
Three Columbia students recently won the top prize in the Columbia Economics Review’s annual environmental policy competition, which challenged students from eight universities to make policy recommendations addressing climate change.
Prior to joining the M.S. in Sustainability Management program, current student Mikael Amar was working for the corporate culture reform and strategic business development efforts for the Abdul Latif Jameel Group, the largest independent distributor of Toyota in the world. While working for ALJ, Mikael witnessed how the economic climate can negatively affect people’s willingness to focus resources on sustainability. Mikael chose the MSSM program because he believed that its focus on quantitative, scientific, and managerial skills would allow him to achieve his ultimate goal which is to increase the awareness and endorsement of sustainability and long-term planning in organizations.
The word resiliency has emerged as the new gold standard for designing the built environment. Its meaning may be interpreted as design that not only maintains self-sufficiency throughout extreme environmental scenarios, (e.g. heat waves, power outages, extreme storm events, etc.) but also allows communities to quickly recover in the aftermath of such an event. It is within this context that a group of Columbia Alumni, including two graduates of the Master of Science in Sustainability Management program – Steven Burke (’12) and Erin McNally (’12) – banded together to collaborate on a resilient and sustainable design aimed at rebuilding a single-family home that was destroyed in the devastation that Hurricane Sandy wrought.
Current Master of Public Administration in Environmental Science and Policy (MPA-ESP) student Maureen Loman is no newcomer to the science world. Her undergraduate studies at the University of Maryland included research into subjects such as plant genetics, forest fragmentation, and bat acoustics, and for the past three years she has worked at the Bioacoustics Research Program at Cornell University studying whale and fish acoustics. This interest in oceans and ocean management led her to apply to Columbia, where she hopes to acquire a deeper knowledge of policy in the environmental world to complement her hard science background.
Master of Science in Sustainability Management alumnus Stephen Marlin (’12) has always been a “car guy.” Now, as the Senior Business Development Manager in the East Region for BYD Motors, he works to bring electric vehicles into New York City livery services. He credits the MSSM program’s integrated approach to sustainability with allowing him to better understand his partners and turn obstacles into solutions.
It seems logical that conserving energy is good for everyone: reducing carbon pollution is good for the environment, and conserving resources makes financial sense. Yet, getting customers to participate in cost-saving, energy-efficient programs is not as straightforward as one might think. To examine this issue further, on March 13, the Earth Institute co-hosted, with the Center on Global Energy Policy, a panel event with energy experts from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut (and across public and private sectors), who discussed energy efficiency and what needs to happen to encourage people to take part in these programs.
Working on real-world sustainability projects for actual clients is integral to the Master of Science in Sustainability Management program. Students made presentations earlier this week about projects that they are conducting on renewable energy, climate resilience, sustainable investment, urban agriculture, and environmental management systems. The clients range from the Federal Transit Administration to the Newark Water Group, a grassroots organization.
On March 5, students in the Master of Public Administration in Environmental Science and Policy presented their initial findings for the Workshop in Applied Earth Systems Policy Analysis to fellow students, staff, and invited guests at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs.