Seidman business college in sustainable spotlight

Ellie Phillips

With 75 undergraduate and 37 graduate-level classes related to sustainability, Grand Valley State University’s Seidman College of Business takes the stage as February’s Sustainability Spotlight. The college also has many sustainability-related projects, most spearheaded by professor Star Swift of business law, and three of the college’s professors have authored books on sustainability, as well.

Swift has implemented several projects, many of which involve the program ooVoo, a free video-chat and instant message platform that allows video conferences for up to 12 people. By using ooVoo, Swift has saved the Athletic Department over $11,000 by conducting interviews and meetings virtually, rather than requiring travel.

Graduate student Kristin Travers was involved in the ooVoo use, as well. In her last year at GVSU, she completed the original website for ooVoo at the university, and she assisted with ooVoo interviews. She also created a video in which she played the role of a job applicant, demonstrating things that students should not do when interviewing virtually.

For his part in the sustainability initiative, Norman Christopher, director for GVSU’s Sustainable Community Development Initiative and faculty member in the College of Business, wrote the book “Sustainability Demystified!” Christopher has over 30 years of global management experience, including responsiblities as president, CEO and COO outside of GVSU. His book was developed as a practical guide for business and organization leaders about the best sustainability practices, using West Michigan as an example.

Another participant is Ashok Kumar, professor of management and the E. Seidman Endowed Chair for the college, who has edited two journals with recent sustainability-related publications: “Sustainability Reporting Parameters and Practices in Construction and Real Estate Industry – A Comparative Study of US and India” and “Corporate Sustainability: A Strategic Imperative.” Kumar has been invited as a guest lecturer on sustainability to various places internationally.

Jaideep Motwani, the current Seidman College of Business chair and professor of management, co-authored “Lean Sigma Methods and Tools for Service Organizations: The Story of a Cruise Line Transformation,” which details sustainable business practices.

Perhaps the largest sustainable effort in the college is the construction of the new L. William Seidman Center, which will be Seidman’s new Leading in Environment and Energy Design certified home. This will be GVSU’s 16th LEED-certified building and will be ready to use for the fall 2013 semester.

The college will also host sustainability leader Ken Robinson, who will deliver a presentation to the general public on “Leading A Culture of Innovation” as part of the Frederik Meijer Lecture Series.

According to the event webpage, Robinson is “an internationally recognized leader in the development of education, creativity and innovation.” He is also the best-selling author of “The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything.” The presentation will be held at the Fieldhouse Arena on the Allendale Campus at 9 a.m. March 27.

For more information about the College of Business and what it has been doing in the area of sustainability, visit the February Spotlight page at:
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