Student Projects Fall 2013


 In January 2014, Yumbutter will be launching YumbutterGO!, the world’s first mobile superfood nut butter. YumbutterGO! will be built on the platform of helping customers “Fuel Your DreamTM.”

They are looking for recommendations on how to successfully launch the product and recommendations for marketing approaches. The recommendations are to detail possible launch plans from Guerrilla approaches to more traditional national media exposure to help share the story of Yumbutter.  Some of the work this project may entail: researching successful (and non-successful) product launches for other social enterprises, studying viral and social media successes, helping us understand how PR works, brainstorming “Guerrilla” campaigns (e.g. Matt and Adrian bike across the States with YumbutterGO! in their trailers…etc), or help identify trendsetter groups and their interest in our food.

 Final Project

Lands’ End Project

Provide an implementation strategy and timeline for utilizing the BlueSign rating at Lands’ End.  Lands’ End has made the strategic decision to investigate the Bluesign textile rating system as a way to identify and measure the sustainability of our product offerings. We need to understand more fully what the rating system is and how to best incorporate into our current product development and sourcing systems.

Provide analysis and recommendations for the most appropriate steps for implementing the Bluesign system. The goal is to start small and do gradual steps until our entire product lines and brands are measured and represented in the index.

Final Project


Earth Day Award for Most Sustainable Corporate Leader

Design an Earth Day award for the most sustainable corporate leader at a WI company.  Develop a name for the award, which might be tied to a funding source.  So, part of your job is to find a funding source for the award.

At a minimum, design the application, the judging criteria and the number of awards (Big business, medium sized business, small business?).  Also, design the website and the application process and timeline.  Develop a Mission and Vision statement for the award, what kind of physical aspect of the award will be presented (piece of paper, framed award, something of substance?), promotional language, etc.

Final Project

Clean Downtown Project

The Downtown Madison Incorporated (DMI) Quality of Life Downtown (QOLD) committee is interested in developing a “Clean Downtown Madison” initiative to reduce littering in the central downtown area.

We hope to engage a team of students to develop a campaign to decrease littering downtown. Target audience is people under 30.  We are looking for recommendations on developing a branding and marketing program for the Clean Downtown Project.

  Final Project

Madison’s Green Apartment Network

Rental property owners in Madison have founded a Green Apartment Network, an association aiming to transform the residential rental industry so it is environmentally and financially sustainable.  We’re looking for a market analysis of what green renters value and what green attributes are driving decision-making. We propose that “brand recognition” of the Green Apartment Network will be of value.   We’ve created a website ( and a Facebook page.

The project would help us answer questions such as:

1) Tenants: What proportion of tenants would be more likely to rent a place with a “green apartment” brand?  What physical green or sustainable apartment features and attributes do tenants in Madison actually look for and value when selecting an apartment?

2) Landlords – owners – property managers. Who is already appealing to this market? What are they doing? What products and services do they want?

 Final Project

Appleton Coated

Appleton Coated would like to expand their market into document destruction, and create a closed loop system where pulp from document destruction is used to make paper for clients.   Current roadblocks to success of this project are legal concerns on confidentiality of product in transportation,  logistics and cost of moving the product and sometimes the contaminants that may be in the product to be recycled.

We are looking for assistance in how to sell providing document destruction options to others or how we could possibly enhance what we have to offer in order to be more acceptable and attractive.

 Final Project

Cool Choices

Cool Choices partners with private companies and public entities to implement an innovative game-based employee engagement program that encourages participants to adopt environmentally sustainable practices.  The game’s emphasis is on an employee’s personal life, with the logic that these practices will carry over into the workplace.

We think it is plausible that the game is having a positive impact on employee productivity but we need help figuring out how to measure that impact. We are looking for recommendations relative to how we might modify our survey instruments and/or collaborate with corporate partners to assess the game’s impact on employee productivity.

 Final Project

Union Cab

Union Cab is a worker-owned and -operated cooperative.   In 2012 we received a $10,000 grant from Green Madison, and contracting assistance from MadiSUN, to install a 5 kWh photovoltaic solar array. For FY2013-14 (July – June fiscal year), we have budgeted $20,000 to expand the system. We want to maximize our investment, and are looking for help in the following aspects of the project:

1. Cost analysis for solar expansion options at our site, either on the roof, or possibly as solar stalls in the parking lot.

2. Identify financing opportunities, including but not limited to:

o Identify the potential of a group solar buying program with neighborhood residents and businesses. Do a feasibility study, survey of the appropriate “group,” and a plan of action to move forward.

o Identify a member investment program to support expansion of the coop (whether solar, fuel-efficient vehicles…). Determine member interest, obstacles, and identify financial models within a worker-owned cooperative model.

o   Locate city, state or federal grants that we could apply for.

 Final Project

Jack Links

Jack Link’s is the fastest-growing meat snack manufacturer in the world, and sells more than 100 different meat snack products in more than 40 countries.  In 2013, they will release their first Corporate Responsibility Report, in which they commit to many metrics, including  “Sustainability is a key deciding factor in supplier selection”. This will require vendor qualification through an audit, and vendor reporting. They are looking for recommendations on what to include in the vendor survey/audit?  What are other companies in similar businesses asking of their suppliers? What would be a best in class list of questions/metrics that would meet our needs while also satisfying customers like WalMart?

 Final Project

Wisconsin Academy of Sciences Arts and Letters

The Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters, an independent, nonprofit organization since 1870 with the tagline, “We connect Wisconsin people and ideas for a better world”.  They are working to develop a climate change mitigation and adaptation “road map” – a summary of best opportunities – for Wisconsin business and civic leaders.  They are looking for a team of students to recommend state of the art or best in class actions in efficiency improvements, process changes and system level change.

There are businesses, utilities, and agencies leading the way in thinking differently and implementing systems-level changes with an eye to Wisconsin’s climate and energy future. What are the state of the art system changes and who is leading this charge? What were the drivers for making these changes? Were there policies that helped to make this happen?

 Final Project

Plan and Coordinate the Sixth Annual Wisconsin Sustainable Businesses Conference

For the last five years, a team of students create a conference that over 300 people attended.  The students are responsible for inviting top speakers, organizing the conference, and marketing the conference to business people from around the state.  Your task would be to work with Tom on the planning and coordination of the conference.  We have established an identity as the leading (and largest) conference bringing businesses together to learn about sustainability.  The conference will be held Friday, Dec 13th in Dodgeville, at Lands End.  You would be responsible for making this conference a success.  Given how many people are involved in planning conferences such as these in the real world, having this experience under your belt could be a great resume builder.

WSBC Conference Report 2013