Michigan Ross BBA shares business concept to achieve carbon neutrality at UM with President Schlissel

Working toward carbon neutrality is a top priority at the University of Michigan, and students at the Ross School of Business have risen to this challenge and are exploring business solutions to help the university achieve its goals.

For the Ross Integrative Semester (RIS) Challenge, Michigan Ross’s 625 juniors worked as a team to develop creative business solutions to help UM reinvent building standards, develop new models of energy use and transportation, and to improve sustainable food systems in university restaurants.

As part of the RIS Challenge, BBA student teams presented their ideas to a panel of expert judges in a competition sponsored by the Zell Lurie Institute in October, and the winning team had the opportunity to discuss of his business concept with UM President Mark Schlissel and Scott DeRue, Edward J. Frey Dean at Michigan Ross, in November.

The winning team, Greener Dining, consisted of Ross’ juniors Brenda Bekins, James Nedeltchev, Katie Xu, Keaton Berger and Maxwell Abrams. The team focused on increasing energy efficiency in university canteens. To achieve this, the team developed an automated device management system for the campus dining halls, allowing machines to be automatically turned off during periods when they are not in use and their energy consumption to be monitored.

“Achieving carbon neutrality at the University of Michigan is a tremendous opportunity and a challenge that will require rethinking and reinventing sustainability in almost every facet of the university,” said DeRue. “President Schlissel and I were very impressed with the creativity and innovation shown by the student teams, and in particular the Greener Dining concept. I am also proud that Ross’s students are playing an active role in solving this university-wide challenge, which reflects our desire to create motivated leaders who seek to make a positive difference in the world.

The RIS is an iconic experience of the Michigan Ross BBA program where all juniors follow the same highly integrated interdisciplinary course curriculum. During the RIS experience, students work as a team to develop business solutions to the great global challenges of our generation, such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This was the first year that the RIS Challenge focused on the impact on UM; in previous years, student projects addressed issues globally, nationally, and in Detroit.

“By connecting the RIS Challenge to UM’s carbon neutrality initiative, we have significantly increased the quality of the experience, as the projects have become even more meaningful and tangible for the students,” said Amy Young, RIS faculty coordinator and lecturer in corporate communication. “It’s a wonderful example of ‘think globally, act locally’. “

Last year, President Schlissel urged UM to establish a effective path to carbon neutrality for the university community and beyond. In February, the Presidential Commission on Carbon Neutrality (PCCN) was appointed to develop recommendations on how to achieve carbon neutrality for MU, as well as to develop scalable and transferable strategies that can be used by others. larger institutions and communities.

Proof of the importance of Ross BBA’s projects, the ZLI competition was included in the Fall 2019 Interim Progress Report that the BDJV released on December 2.

“The goal of the RIS Challenge is to get students to use everything they learn, throughout the Ross program, to recognize how their business knowledge can be applied to real business issues and important societal issues. Said Norm Bishara, associate dean of undergraduate programs at Michigan Ross. “We are delighted that the work of the juniors has been recognized by President Schlissel and the PCCN for their role in developing a creative business approach to pursue UM’s carbon neutrality goals. ”

Based on the success of the RIS Challenge 2019, Young said future challenges will also focus on sustainability at UM.


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