Student Projects Fall 2004

Mt Meru Coffee Project

This project will involve students gathering information on who makes purchasing decisions for each of the university areas that serve food, and developing an outreach plan to convince these purchasers to give Mt Meru coffee a try. The final project will be as much a marketing approach as it will be a business case. And, if successful, the students will have the satisfaction of knowing that they will have introduced “better than fair trade” coffee to the university community.

Tanzanian Export Import Project

This project will involve students gathering information on small scale exports from Tanzania in order to provide recommendations on best methods (cheapest and safest) to bring Tanzanian clothing and crafts into this country for resale. As part of this project, students will be expected to understand various shipping options out of Tanzania and recommend one that will work. They will also need to understand Import requirements so as to get the items through customs. This would be a good project for students interested in international development, especially first world support of third world development.

Haba Na Haba

Haba Na Haba is a for-profit business that desires to establish a framework for the continuing development and enhancement of Tanzania’s economic and social well being. We plan to accomplish this by assisting in training and partnering with the local Tanzanian workforce, specifically young women orphaned by the AIDS pandemic and HIV positive women. They will produce a variety of sewn products to sell to US-based companies. One of our challenges is to establish what a fair wage in Tanzania is. In Tanzania, as in many third world countries, there is no minimum wage designation nor an established “living wage.” Haba Na Haba desires to pay its workers a fair and living wage, but does not know how to determine it. The project would be to establish criteria on what to base a living wage upon and try to calculate it for workers in Tanzania’s largest city, Dar Es Salaam. In addition to pay, what other requirements should be expected (such as minimum age for working, health and safety conditions, breaks, hours, benefits, etc.)

Sustain Dane – Developing the Eco-Tour Capacity of Dane County

Every year there are tours of the Madison, and surrounding Dane County area on such topics as Raingardens, Solar Homes, Green Building, etc. Sustain Dane, in conjunction with the Madison Visitors Bureau, is interested in developing a coordinating infrastructure for “eco-tours” in the county. The group will be responsible for identifying all potential tours that might fit under this umbrella, identifying ways to stage a coordinated promotion of these tours, and recommending ways to bring these various tours together under one umbrella effort, perhaps with the outcome of generating money for SustainDane.

Dairy Gateway Project

Dairy Gateway is a sustainability project in 3 counties along the Lake Michigan shoreline. Its purpose is to build relationships between farmers and their neighbors so as to avoid pitting agriculture against the environment. It was originally funded by the Joyce foundation to get the project up and going. However, in order for it to continue to develop, additional sources of funding will be required. Students will be asked to recommend various funding alternatives, and to prepare initial funding pre-proposals to a small subset of the most likely funders.

Supporting Sustainability Efforts in the Business School

The focus of this team will be to secure long term funding for sustainability initiatives in the business school. Students will be asked to look at sustainability efforts (departments, programs, etc) in business schools, and determine how these efforts were originally funded. The final report will present the business case to the business school (ultimately to be presented to the Dean) for developing more classes and expertise on corporate environmental and social responsibility.

Fair Trade Coffee Project

An owner of several convenience stores/gas stations in the Milwaukee area is interested in offering Fair Trade Coffee in his stores. However, as part of the decision to market fair trade coffee, he would like a report that addresses the following questions. Will ordinary customers of varied demographic backgrounds be willing to pay a higher price for a cup of coffee to support more ethical business practices? What percent more are they willing to pay? Does the amount vary with the depth of understanding of the more ethical business practices? If so, how can a depth of understanding be developed in the 5 seconds or so that it takes to choose and pour a cup of coffee? Basically, you are developing a business case for selling fair trade coffee.

Baxter Healthcare and Water Consumption

Baxter uses a tremendous amount of water at virtually all of its facilities. With the growing concerns with water consumption, Baxter is interested in a corporate goal of reduced water consumption. The team will be asked to develop the business case for a water consumption reduction goal. In other words, why is it in Baxter’s interest to reduce the amount of water that it consumes? Based on social issues surrounding water availability and reliability, as well as relevant business issues, put together a sound argument that expending corporate resources to set and reach a water reduction goal makes good business sense and fits in with the company’s path to sustainability.


Students will be asked to design a marketing plan and materials to promote the street level cafe that L’Etoile is opening. Research into potential clients, how to appeal to them, and what competitors are doing will be required. The final project should be ready to be implemented, so students should plan on developing some of the marketing materials that they will recommend.