From a trip to Zion National Park over the holidays. The park was kept open temporarily with funds from Zion Forever, a local non-profit.
Happy New Year! Here is to a healthy, productive 2019 for you and yours. (Note: I do say that conscious of the fact that funding has lapsed for 800,000 employees from nine Cabinet departments and various smaller agencies and 380,000 of them have been furloughed without pay due to the government shutdown, a fact that affects all of us...e.g. 80% of food supply is inspected by FDA, one of the impacted agencies)
In addition to looking forward the shutdown ending, here are five things I look forward to this year:
1. Attracting 20 Founding Member companies for Smeal's new Center for the Business of Sustainability (working name). We aim to launch this new center in July 2020 whose mission is to engage current and future business leaders in solving the world's toughest problems. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will heavily influence our thematic focus and our work with companies will be highly cross-disciplinary as we work with colleagues in agricultural science, information sciences and technology, engineering, materials science, climate science, etc. We will be making an exciting announcement soon on our first Founding Member!
2. Speaking at the Penn State Sustainability Showcase on January 18th. All talks are recorded and available on their website. Title of my January 18 talk is Serious Business: Four Ways to Restore Nature, Respect People and Repair Our Economic System. There are some terrific people speaking this semester. Definitely check it out.
3. Speaking as part of Materials Research Institute's Cafe Series "Cradle to Cradle: Designing for Sustainability". Penn State is regarded as an international leader in materials science research. We also happen to be #1 in supply chain education. Hmmm...I wonder if we might combine these in some interesting ways in service of sustainability? My talk on February 12th is followed by Daniel Guide, Smeal Chaired Professor of Operations & Supply Chain Management, a renowned expert is closed-loop supply chains.
4. Penn State Net Impact Corporate Citizenship Conference organized by the Smeal Undergraduate Net Impact chapter is April 3rd. This event has engaged over 6,000 Smeal undergrads to date and brings together companies, thought leaders and students every year as the largest student sustainability event at Penn State.
5. 6th Annual Smeal MBA Sustainability Case Competition which hit a milestone this year of reaching over 1,000 MBA students from around the country. Supported by the Smeal Sustainability Advisory Board and participating companies (such as last year's CNote, the impact investing company), this has become a signature annual.
And many more things are coming as well. I look forward to working with you and wish you the very best of success this year.