The VCU School of Business last year piloted the Certificate in Sustainability. Now it’s making the program, which teaches business people how to cut costs by looking into alternative energy, transportation and waste consumption, more permanent.
During the course, local business people will host presentations at their company headquarters and talk about what sustainable changes they are making in their companies.
Students will then be asked to do a project to address a problem they’ve found in their business and try to come up with a solution.
For example, Catherine Warner, principal of environmental consulting firm One Environmental Group, studied waste management last year.
“I am an environmental consultant, and I was hoping to learn more about sustainability,” she said.
Warner said she came up with a waste management project for the class to apply in her business.
“I have been working with a client in the food and beverage industry on composting,” Warner said. “I’m taking waste [from the company] and sending it to a composting facility instead of a landfill.”
Chris Durrer, director of regulatory affairs for licensure for the Virginia Department of Health, took the course to take surveys of local and out-of-state hospitals.
“I regulate hospitals now, so I looked at health care and what hospitals have been doing with their buildings,” Durrer said.
Of the eight hospitals he surveyed in Virginia and North Carolina, three no longer exist, two had been torn down, and several others were restructuring.
“I was looking at the architectural structure and how they had reconfigured to be sustainable,” he said.
Durrer said he’s looking to conduct surveys for hospitals in the future on their sustainability needs.
Last year, six graduate students and 29 business people took the course.