Student Projects Fall 2007

TerraSource Gourmet Chocolates

TerraSource Gourmet Chocolates is a new, soon-to-be web-based business offering chocolates whose primary feature is the sourcing of local, organic and fair trade ingredients to the greatest extent possible while making these chocolates available at prices similar to other chocolatiers. The focus is on bioregionally specific edible fruits and flowers along with organic and fair trade ingredients.

What might we do to minimize our carbon footprint in sourcing raw materials, manufacturing our product, packaging our product and transporting our product to our customers? What data should we be thinking about collecting to make sourcing and shipping choices that take us in the proper direction? Please provide recommendations to us based upon what other companies are doing, best practices, and outside the box thinking.
Model State Environmental Quality Act

Senator Mark Miller is interested in working with a group of students to develop the next generation of environmental protection acts. A group of students would both develop recommendations for what could and should be included in such a law, and would also propose some initial language. It is expected that this project would produce an aspirational, comprehensive and forward-looking law that would incorporate:

* aspects of the precautionary principle,

* development of the public trust,

* consideration of future generations,

* consideration of cumulative harmful impacts, and

* fair treatment of all people of all races, cultures, incomes, etc.

Springs Window Fashions

Springs Window Fashions is the largest provider of residential window coverings in this country. The appeal of working with Springs is that they are right at the point where they are struggling to figure out what sustainability or greening means to them. You can help them shape their understanding. They are looking for a group to develop recommendations on how to green their offices. What are the best practices from ten local companies?

* How do they measure and report results internally? Externally?

* How do they document their company data, who owns this?

* Create a survey of local companies and then see where we stand.

* Develop list of tactics and prioritize them.

* How to implement??

Atlas Improv Green Building

Atlas Improv is interested in a group doing research into remodeling a building in a green manner and running it that way too. As part of this project, the group would need to develop the business case for integrating green components into the remodel and operation process.

The Natural Heritage Land Trust

The Natural Heritage Land Trust protects natural areas, wildlife habitat, working farms, healthy lakes and streams, and recreational land to provide a high quality of life in the Dane County, Wisconsin region. The project would involve improving their marketing in order to develop a compelling message that can be efficiently delivered to the right audience. The goals of this project are to:

* retool their message to make it compelling,

* identify likely supporters, and

* find the appropriate media to deliver the message,

so that more people, businesses, and communities will become annual financial supporters of our organization.

Envest Microfinance Services

Envest is a local organization that is committed to supporting microfinance in Latin American companies. They are looking for a team of students to recommend to Envest whether microfinance institutions (MFIs) perceive that there is a market for microfinance in communities adjacent to national parks. The team will also recommend which MFIs are the most likely partners for a business relationship. The students of the team would provide recommendations for questions to be included in a questionnaire to (1) determine whether microfinance services are available in communities near national parks or to ecotourism projects in a few selected countries, (2) if so in which areas or parks they have taken place, and if it has not happened (3) explore what would be the potential interest in such area of investment.

Old Vine Property Group

Old Vine Property Group is a private equity real estate investment group established in 1988 and headquartered in Denver, Colorado. 1800-1850 Deming Way is an 11-acre site containing two interlocking facilities: a four-story, 87,648 square foot office building (1800 Deming Way) and a single story, 65,150 square foot manufacturing space (1850 Deming Way). The buildings have been used as credit card processing facilities since their construction; hence, the security and power infrastructure exceeds what is found in most office buildings today.

Old Vine group is looking for a group of students to recommend design themes and redevelopment changes that are consistent with the notion of sustainability. Design themes should be taken from the natural area and sustainable materials / concepts should be considered. In addition, Old Vine is looking to explore sustainable concepts as part of the redevelopment.

Roth Käse Sustainability Project

With roots in Switzerland that reach back almost 150 years, Roth Käse USA Ltd. is a company steeped in tradition. They have a keen interest in examining and improving the sustainability of their operations. They are looking for a team of students to provide recommendations on how to proceed with developing an ISO 14001 Environmental Management System. What sort of investment (both financial and temporal) would be required to seek ISO 14001 certification? What would be the benefits?

Fair Indigo New Store

Fair Indigo is the nation’s first mainstream fair trade apparel brand, providing stylish, high-quality clothing, jewelry and accessories while paying a fair wage to the producing vendors and the people they employ. Started by a small group of industry insiders with the goal of changing the way the apparel industry works, Fair Indigo provides “Style with a Conscience” by paying a fair wage to the people who weave every fiber and sew every seam of its collection.

Fair Indigo’s flagship store opened in Hilldale Mall in Nov. 2006. We are now planning our store rollout to the rest of the country. This project entails analyzing the geographic distribution of catalog and internet sales for the past year, thinking through the logistics, and determining in which cities (and in which order) Fair Indigo should open stores.