The Dartmouth program has officially begun and is well underway! The past couple of days have flown by, and they have been packed with lessons about environmental entrepreneurship; guest speakers; and some time for team-building.
We jumped right into our programming on Monday morning when we visited the Dartmouth Ropes Course. Students worked on their team-building skills by solving challenges on both the low and high ropes courses. These courses are always a blast; students completed challenges by swinging from trees, balancing on giant seesaws, and elevating their team building skills! After dinner, we assembled for an evening symposium where students grappled with difficult questions challenging their understanding of holistic sustainability.
On Tuesday we switched gears and moved into an intellectual investigation of sustainability. We welcomed Rosi Kerr, Dartmouth’s Director of Sustainability who presented on the importance of energy systems and how institutions can take the lead in upgrading their facilities and operations to be more sustainable. Following her presentation, students also attended a lecture on the “green economy” and opportunities for environmental entrepreneurship. Students then self-selected into project teams tasked with understanding an early stage social venture, which they’ll present on later in the week. We have 10 teams researching companies and non-profits in the food, construction, carbon capture, energy, and other industries.
Wednesday was another classroom day filled with learning about sustainable businesses. Students started the morning with a workshop on mission-driven organizations, as well as organizational structures. This workshop helped students with their research projects as they look more closely at specific organizations and learning about business practices that focus on people, the planet, and profit.
They were later joined by Carey Underwood, the Director of Mission at King Arthur Flour, a highly successful local flour business that is a founding “B-Corp” that has been in business since 1790! Carey presented on Benefit Corporations and shared some fun facts about King Arthur Flour (KAF) that helped students get excited for their visit later that day! Students later visited KAF to attend a baking class where they learned how to make pizza and were able to enjoy their delicious creations for dinner. You can see students enjoying the pizza making process as they use locally-sourced ingredients and flour from the oldest flour company in the United States.
The topic of the day on Thursday was Environmental Economics and Econ for Entrepreneurs. We spent a few hours in a morning workshop looking at topics like price determination, social cost pricing, and negative externalities. Then we did some fun and interactive games designed to illustrate how a cap and trade system or a carbon tax would impact firm behavior and investment in emissions reducing technologies or practices.
We will continue learning and adventuring as we head into the weekend. Stay tuned for updates on our first round of student presentations as they share what they learned about sustainable business this week!