Ethical labor, sustainable supply chain among topics tackled in second Bronco Challenge

Contact: Erin Flynn
A group photo with a large cardboard check.

Full Disclosure team members Cloe Fetterolf, Victoria Loikits and Will Roosien stand with Drs. Timothy Palmer and Neil Drobny after winning first place in the Bronco Challenge for Sustainable Impact.

KALAMAZOO, Mich.鈥擜n interdisciplinary challenge to imagine solutions to sustainability problems drew innovative pitches from 六合彩开奖数据 Michigan University students at the second annual Bronco Challenge for Sustainable Impact.

The yearlong challenge culminated on Wednesday, April 17, with four teams competing for thousands of dollars in prizes. Ultimately, a student team focused on illuminating labor practices to help consumers make more ethical purchasing decisions impressed the panel of industry and University judges, taking home the $10,000 grand prize for their concept, Full Disclosure.聽

"They did such a great job There's so much enthusiasm, and you could really feel the passion through the diverse sustainability pathways they explored," says judge Laura Evans, director of environment, social and governance for Cirba Solutions. "I think there's a lot more to come from all of the students."

A student stands in front of a projection screen.

Ryan Stock presents SafeDi's innovative hazardous waste disposal kiosk.

Second-place entry SafeD won $6,000 for its new approach to hazardous waste collection, and tied for third were Green Cat, an Internet search companion that incentivizes sustainable purchases, and Copia, an aeroponics system, earning $3,000 each.聽

"I think the Bronco Challenge is an incredible, invaluable experience offered to students. Students are not only growing their network and are able to connect with folks in the industry but are also gaining practical experience," says judge Ali Leist, B.B.A.'16, sustainability manager at Novolex.

"While I have been curious about the broader world all my life, my experiences at 六合彩开奖数据 and my travel in Belgium have especially opened my aperture recently and inspired me to think bigger. This challenge was my first opportunity to do that in a career context, especially as I continue down a path toward international ethics and compliance work," adds Full Disclosure team member Will Roosien, who recently graduated with a bachelor's degree in business law and reflected on the project in his WMU Signature .

Sponsors supporting the challenge included Greenlink Engineering, Greif, Invenergy, Kalsec, Meijer, Owens Corning, Pfizer, 六合彩开奖数据's Office for Sustainability and the Haworth College of Business.聽

THE CHALLENGE

Initially launched in fall 2022, the Bronco Challenge is a co-curricular project that asks students to develop a transformative idea for a product, service, business or policy that addresses one or more of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

"We continue to see news about the escalating impacts of climate change and the social side of sustainability鈥攕ocial justice, human rights, even human trafficking; these are a big deal," says Dr. Timothy Palmer, professor of management and director of 六合彩开奖数据's Center for Sustainable Business Practices. "Our students understand that, and they're really passionate about how to use their profession, their skills and their intellect to try to think about solutions."

A student stands at the front of a classroom in front of a projector screen.

Brendan Moretnsen-Seguin presents Green Cat's virtual garden concept.

"What makes the (Bronco Challenge) special is that students have the opportunity to do whatever they want with it," Full Disclosure team member Cloe Fetterolf at its April meeting. "They're able to amplify their passions into objective attainable and meaningful action while receiving helpful and important feedback from a panel of industry experts."

Students are encouraged to collaborate with peers in varying academic disciplines to enrich their experience and more fully develop their concepts.

"We hope that students will take away an understanding of the need, opportunities and barriers to embedding sustainability practices into our personal and business lives," says Dr. Neil Drobny, adjunct instructor and program director of the Bronco Challenge for Sustainable Impact. "Also, through the interdisciplinary composition of the project teams, we hope they will experience and come to value the creative problem-solving power that comes from engaging with team members that have diverse backgrounds."

"My team consisted of majors such as business law, human resource management, biochemistry and digital marketing. By teaming up, we were able to utilize each other's skill sets to tackle a multifaceted problem we all felt individual passion for. This collaborative effort brought forth the most important characteristics of our specialities and allowed us to learn from each other," adds Fetterolf. Furthermore, "working alongside teammates who are studying different disciplines helped me to better understand the real-world work environment that I'll soon be entering."

The Bronco Challenge is working to expand its reach on campus and incorporate more students from a greater variety of majors. Through an Experience-Driven Learning Venture Grant, the program has hired Fetterolf to boost marketing efforts and increase student engagement.

Evans sees immense potential in growing the program and its impact on students鈥攁nd the future businesses they will work for. "It's broadening their horizons. It doesn't matter if you're going into finance or engineering or human resources, sustainability will touch your role, one way or another," she says.

While students are only required to ideate and thoroughly vet their concepts rather than produce or build anything, Drobny hopes within the next few years to see some of the ideas move toward commercialization or implementation. He'd also like to see artificial intelligence incorporated into some of the projects.

THE PROJECTS

  • Full Disclosure: Team members Seth Byrne, chemistry; Cloe Fetterolf, digital marketing; Victoria Loikits, human resource management; Will Roosien, business law

An innovative data collection reporting tool designed to incentivize businesses to integrate ethical labor practices into their international supply chains, Full Disclosure incorporates the use of Universal Product Code scanning to create a hub for conscious consumerism.

  • SafeDi: Team members Royce Claspell, product design; Mila Mitovski, industrial engineering and data science; Agnes Nyanamba, industrial engineering; Ryan Stock, product design

This innovative hazardous waste kiosk system encourages safe disposal of liquid hazardous waste by partnering with businesses to increase accessibility and awareness.

  • Green Cat: Team members Makena Bodzianowski, leadership and business strategy; Cathryn Goodrich, marketing and environmental and sustainability studies;聽 Alison Martin, political science and environmental and sustainability studies; Brendan Mortensen-Seguin, political science and environmental and sustainability studies

A student presents in front of a projector screen.

Wesley Banks, of Copia, presents his team's innovative aeroponics system design.

Operating as an internet browser extension, Green Cat empowers consumers to make sustainable purchasing decisions by educating them on the sustainability ratings of the companies behind the products they are considering. It also incentivizes socially responsible and eco-conscious purchases by employing an interactive garden the user can cultivate as their sustainable purchases increase.

  • Copia: Team members Wesley Banks, aerospace engineering; Shekinah Mbwambo, mechanical engineering; Hung Quy Tran, aerospace engineering; Ahmad Al Saadi, aerospace engineering

Creating a scalable aeroponics system for indoor or outdoor use, the Copia team envisions a user-friendly and automated setup so that customers can efficiently and sustainably grow their own produce at home.

PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE

Haworth College of Business is a signatory of the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Management Education, an initiative that engages business and management schools to ensure they provide future leaders with the skills they need to balance economic and sustainability goals. As a result, the college has implemented a required sustainability course for all of its graduates and integrated sustainability into its curriculum. The Bronco Challenge amplifies the initiative's goals and extends them to all student participants. Judges say it gives them a competitive advantage when they enter the workforce.

"Regulations are changing so fast that it's easy for us industry professionals to fall behind," says Evans. "These students are going to graduate and be lightyears ahead. I think colleges like 六合彩开奖数据 that can get in front of that cutting edge and really help inform this next generation are going to be so important to our sustainability efforts in the future."聽

It's also a resume-building experience that has proven transformative for many student participants.

"It's really nice to be able to add to my portfolio for product design and show that I can adapt to different disciplines. Having sustainability along with furniture design or household product design鈥攊t's nice to kind of be that 鈥楽wiss Army knife鈥 professional who can adjust and be ready for anything," says SafeDi team member Ryan Stock.

"By engaging in this competition, I have now begun the process of merging my passions and study interests into a career track that will carry me into the rest of my life," Roosien adds.

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