University Faculty Join Industry Professionals on Green Business Panel

Philadelphia University faculty and industry professionals discussed corporate sustainability efforts and the challenges companies face in going green at the green business panel discussion, entitled “Can You Be Green and Make Green? Sustainable Practices and Research in Business,” held Nov. 19 in The Kanbar Campus Center Performance Space.

Panelists included Philadelphia University faculty member Cathy Rusinko, associate professor of management; Jay Carlis, vice president for sales and marketing at Community Energy; and Nikki Ciaccio ’07, co-owner of The Environmental Homestore.
Russ Kershaw, dean of the School of Business Administration, offered welcome remarks.  The panel discussion was moderated by Tom Schrand, associate dean of the School of Liberal Arts and Environmental Sustainability program director.

Many topics concerning sustainability were discussed by the panelists, including their company’s relationship with the green movement and the special challenges they face in going green. Getting people to accept something new and different was the biggest challenged, all agreed. The ultimate question:  “can you be green and be profitable?” was answered with a resounding “Yes!”by the panelists.

Rusinko used The Tuttleman Center at Philadelphia University as an example. She said that carpet in the building is made out of recycled carpet made into tiles. Because the product is recycled, the cost is less. Plus, the glue used doesn’t cause any health problems, doesn’t have a smell, and is environmentally friendly. Considering these advantages, buyers will most likely buy the carpet tiles due to its financial and health advantages.

Ciaccio compared two orthodontist offices to drive home her message to the audience. One office is green, the other isn’t. When prospective patients learn that the green orthodontist is in a clean environment, free of toxins, and the other orthodontist is in a toxic dump, the decision of which orthodontist to see is easy. Those who have green businesses have recognition and marketability.

Carlis said that in his own business, solar power is very expensive, but he knows there are tremendous benefits in the long run. Working with renewable resources, Carlis said that there are things his company doesn’t have to worry about like price spikes in natural gas, for example.

“[Going green] is the way to go, and in ten, twenty years, it will be the only way to go,” Ciaccio added.

The event was jointly sponsored by the Office of Student Development Programs, School of Business Administration and the School of Liberal Arts, in conjunction with the 2009 FYE summer reading fall program series, and as part of the University’s commitment to green education.

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