Last spring, the pressing issue of water prompted a passionate group of Columbia graduate students across a variety of disciplines to band together and form the Columbia Aquanauts. As the only club on campus focusing on water management, the Aquanauts aim to build a space where students can not only discuss their views and knowledge on the topic, but can also develop solutions for sustainable water use and share this knowledge with the campus community and surrounding environs.
Prior to completing the M.S. in Sustainability Management program in spring 2013, MSSM alum Nick Turchak and current MSSM student Sally Paridis developed a corporate communication platform for sustainability and life cycle assessment (LCA) data as part of their independent project. Both students drew on skills learned from the Industrial Ecology course, taught by adjunct Professor Christoph Meinrenken that focuses primarily on the scientific methodology behind conducting an LCA.
“One of the ways that climate change is going to manifest is through warmer temperatures. … What we are seeing, in line with our projections, is that even if you assume constant precipitation, the temperature effects are so large that it is going to dry things out. This is going to have really big impacts on soil moisture, reservoirs and stream flow for irrigation and drinking water. The availability of water is going to decline into the future, and the challenge is adjusting for that, and what that means for agriculture and development.”
MSSM alums JD Capuano, Eileen Quigley, and Ryan Meinke have gone on to make businesses more sustainable, adaptive and innovative through their work as consultants. This September, the group will take their passion for sustainability one step further when they ride 320 miles from New York City to Washington, D.C. to raise awareness and support for the Earth Institute.
MS in Sustainability Management faculty member Phil LaRocco spent twenty years with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, ending his career there as the Director of World Trade and Economic Development. In 1990, he founded E+Co, a non-profit investor in over two hundred energy enterprises in over twenty developing countries, with offices and staff on five continents. After retiring as CEO of E+Co in 2009, LaRocco began teaching courses at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. He joined the MS in Sustainability Management program in Fall 2012, where he teaches SUMA K4150 Energy and Sustainable Development. He has just launched a start-up distance learning company focused on (what else?) energy entrepreneurs in developing countries. This start-up (www.embarkenergy.com) began operations in Tanzania in 2013.
On Aug. 6, students in the Master of Science in Sustainability Management program presented the results of their capstone project to fellow students, program faculty, and colleagues at Columbia University.This summer, students enrolled in the capstone workshop undertook a project to develop a high-impact cleantech innovation program for The Climate Group.
The White House “Champions of Change” program identifies innovators across the country who are doing extraordinary work in their field of practice. This summer, the White House honored eleven people as “Champions of Change” in the Public Health and Climate arena. The 11 honorees included Kizzy Charles-Guzman, a faculty member in the M.S. in Sustainability Management program.
In 2010, two professionals set out to make a difference by joining Columbia’s M.S. in Sustainability Management program. Just over a year later, Samuel Abbay and JD Capauno founded the New York based consulting company Closed Loop Advisors. Today, they’ve taken another stride along that path by getting their company certified as a B Corporation.
Two Sustainability Management projects offer solutions that reinforce the business and development goals of the yard’s Development Corporation while also creating positive interactions with the environment and neighboring community.
Four students have teamed up to create re:HARVEST, a food-sharing website and companion mobile application allowing users to notify each other when they have food available for pickup that would otherwise be wasted.