Student Projects Spring 2017

 This semester the students in Systems Thinking and Sustainability completed 8 service-based learning projects. The students chose these projects and worked on them over the course of the semester.

Wisconsin Microfinance Dinner Gala 2017
Wisconsin Microfinance is a nonprofit organization that funds microfinance loans in Haiti and the Philippines. After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, millions of poor people were left with almost nothing to their names. 6 years later, the people of Haiti are still poor, and still live with little hope for the future. WI Microfinance provides funds for loans to a single community in Haiti. Last spring, they hosted dinner galas in both Madison and Milwaukee. They will repeat these events in April of this year.  A team of students will be responsible for coordinating both events, including soliciting items for the silent auctions.

Bounce Milwaukee

Bounce Milwaukee is a family entertainment center located in Milwaukee’s Bay View Neighborhood. They offer laser tag, rock climbing, adult-sized inflatables, vintage arcade games, and a full bar and restaurant. In addition to birthday and other celebrations for both kids and adults, we offer team building and corporate events.  In the last several years, they’ve “smartened” our building, added food delivery (exclusively via fully-electric vehicles) and become a Tesla charging destination, offering free charging and valet for electric vehicles. Students will be exploring the feasibility of adding a solar array to Bounce’s facilities.

Wisconsin Sustainability Report

For the last six years a group of students put together a report on the status of business sustainability efforts in WI This annual report is valued by the business community and other decision makers in the state. Wisconsin is the only state to prepare a triple bottom line sustainability report, modeled on the reports prepared by businesses. Students will be responsible for designing and producing the content for the report.

Simply Native Foods

In 2017 Simply Native Foods will be developing a new product line. They will be using all ingredients that are indigenous to North America. They want to be using the highest quality, most sustainable and most ethically grown ingredients in our new product line. Students will research potential ingredients and where to source them.

ATC: Environmental Performance in the Utility Industry

American Transmission Co. was founded in 2001, as the first multi-state, transmission-only utility in the United States. Unlike most other utilities, they have a single focus: transmission. They operate our system as a single entity, providing comparable service to all of our customers. ATC is committed environmental compliance in all aspects of our business. A group of students will identify a list of appropriate leading indicators of environmental performance and compliance for a utility. The team will research leading indicators within the utility and other industries that may be appropriate for our business. The team will then develop leading indicators, and recommendations on how to capture, measure and report on those indicators.


Kohl’s is headquartered in the Milwaukee suburb of Menomonee Falls, WI and is a leading specialty department store with more than 1,100 stores in 49 states. Kohl’s is committed to living its company values and working to make a positive impact in the communities where Kohl’s Associates live and work. As Kohl’s evaluates its sustainability program, what initiatives can it choose that truly provide meaning to customers? How can it craft a message that is clear and relevant regarding the environment and sustainability? Students will research these questions and report back to Kohl’s.

American Family: Engaging Employees Around Zero Waste

American Family has a Dream for a Zero Waste Future and would like to garner more employee interest in this project. A group of students will benchmark other successful zero waste communication and outreach programs. The team will then create a communications strategy, content, infographics, signage and storytelling.

American Family: Green Teams

American Family Insurance (AFI) has approximately 7,000 employees nationwide and a highly engaged workforce. AFI is interested in creating a green team model to support the strong appetite to engage around projects with socially and environmentally sustainability purposes.   AFI would like to learn about current best practices for green teams in large sized businesses. The team will develop a S.W.O.T, research benchmarking summary, and interview other organizations doing this well.