Student Projects Spring 2011

Sustainability, as you will see, is a broad and multi-faceted issue.  This semester we will be working with a wide range of “clients” on projects that will support their efforts to move in a more sustainable direction. As part of these projects, students were required to create a promotional video. Not all projects warranted a video, however, so some groups made videos on other topics. A full viewing of all the videos from this semester can be viewed here.

Springs Window Fashions

Springs is the largest provider of residential window coverings in this country.  Develop recommendations on how to define the carbon footprint for a generic wood blind manufactured in Asia vs. one manufactured by Springs in North America.  Project would require speaking with wood experts to define all the steps in the supply chain from harvesting of trees to final assembly and shipping.

Revise and Expand the 2011 Wisconsin Triple Bottom Line Sustainability Report

Revise and expand the first report that was done in 2010.  You would need to either author the substantive sections, or find authors that would be included.  Start with reviewing other organizations’ sustainability reports to determine if the state is tracking and reporting on the right metrics.  You may want to consider whether the report would contain advertisements, and how we would approach potential advertisers.  You would be responsible for both the substance and the production of the report.  Given how many companies are now producing sustainability reports, having this experience under your belt could be a great resume builder.

Johnson Health Tech North America

Since 1975, Johnson Health Tech (JHT) has specialized in the design, production and marketing of award-winning fitness equipment. Johnson Health Tech North America (JHTNA) is headquartered just outside of Madison, Wisconsin.  As a global business in a competitive industry, Johnson Health Tech has been asked to answer questions from customers about Johnson Health Tech’s environmental credentials.   The team would be asked to research competitors and the sustainability claims that they are making and to develop a list of recommendations on areas that Johnson Health Tech should address in its own branding approach.

Sustainable Stay

Sustainable Stay proposes to develop a retirement community, perhaps complete with an assisted living component, that is characterized by green attributes.  The primary market for this facility would be the Baby Boomer generation. The team would be asked to develop a comparison of the generational differences in the demand and understanding of Sustainability. Then make recommended marketing approaches based on these differences.

School District of Westfield

The School District of Westfield is in the central part of Wisconsin and was recently admitted into the Green Tier program.  One of the requirements of the program is to develop an Environmental Management System (EMS) that either complies with ISO 14001, or is deemed to be functionally equivalent (guidance from the department is available on developing a functionally equivalent EMS).  The project team would develop recommendations on how to develop an EMS for the school district.

Central Waters Brewing

Central Waters has been brewing since 1998, and is built on the solid reputation of producing the finest quality beer in Central Wisconsin.  They are looking for ways to increase the amount of beer brewed while decreasing the environmental footprint.  They are looking for a team to research the use of a life cycle assessment methodology at other breweries in the country (or internationally) and to recommend likely areas where energy use could be reduced or the environmental footprint of a brew could be reduced.

We Conserve

We Conserve, the University of Wisconsin’s Environmental Stewardship Program, began in 2006 as an energy initiative, and the focus quickly grew to encompass eight areas of sustainability.  One area of concentration is usage reduction and recycling.  In Spring, 2011 compost from pre-consumption food wastes will be finished and ready for distribution.  We Conserve would like to be involved with a project that would develop recommendations on what to do with completed compost, create a marketing plan for how to brand campuses compost, what the demand may be and what rate can be charged for the completed product.

Red Clay Designs

Red Clay designs, manufactures, and sells to consumers and retailers an array of home décor items that allow consumers to decorate their homes in a manner that suites their style and budget.  We are looking for your team to help create our company’s product sustainability guidelines.  The guidelines are intended to be a map to guide the team in making environmentally and socially conscious decisions.  Specifically, Red Clay is  looking for assistance in:

  • Understanding industry standards for sustainable in this category in terms of materials and manufacturing,
  • Determining what language/terminology to use to describe our sustainability, and
  • Shaping how/where to communicate sustainability (on products, website, etc)

Conscious Capital Management

Conscious Capital Management is a “sustainable” or “social responsible” investment management and planning firm. The firm is unique to the marketplace in that it applies a sustainable set of metrics for investment models and strategies for clients. They are looking for a group of students who will play a critical part in helping to develop the proprietary evaluation system of sustainability factors to determine what investments will be offered to clients. This team will use the following four major themes to create our evaluation criteria for investments:

  • Economic
  • Environmental
  • Social/Humanity
  • Progress (i.e. education or innovation)

Webcrafters Inc

Webcrafters is a nationally recognized book printer.  Webcrafters is a large energy consumer and our on-peak charges account for close to 1/3 of our monthly electric bill year round.   Webcrafters will replace the outdated T-12 light fixtures with more energy efficient light fixtures. There are 60 to 80 fixtures in the south plant offices between the two floors.  The team will provide recommendations on ways to meet current lighting needs.  Include in your recommendations both initial costs and costs to operate as well as maintenance costs (the costs to have someone replace the light bulbs when burned out).