State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School


Tune in to the Fall 2020 Integrative Capstone Workshop Presentations

The field of sustainable development centers the question: how can we develop our societies in a manner that is economically viable without compromising environmental and social needs for future generations? Graduates of the Columbia University M.S. in Sustainability Management (SUMA) program are equipped with the skills to answer this question and implement sustainability management values within organizations, teams, communities, and governments. They are well-groomed to bring sustainable solutions to scale and engage with some of the toughest development challenges through the distinctive SUMA program curriculum. Areas within the program focus on topics such as business management, public policy, environmental science, social sciences, and economics.

The Integrative Capstone Workshop serves as the culminating educational experience for SUMA students, putting their sustainability consulting skills to the test in order to service real-world high-profile clients. The workshop is designed to integrate specific fields that comprise the program curriculum, which range from solar, waste, and water management to sustainable urban development. Successful consultants draw from the practical skills and analytical knowledge they have gained in order to address dynamic and critical sustainability management issues posed by clients.

There has been significant evolution in the clients and projects that have sought out support from SUMA consultants. From year to year, the capstone projects engage with a wide array of complex tasks and opportunities to utilize sustainability management strategies. No single project is exactly like another, and each requires a unique combination of skill sets.

Projects in previous years have included developing a sustainable and resilient downtown area, assessing the impact of international bauxite mining, innovations in urban sustainability, youth and city climate action planning, and greenhouse gas cap and trade. Clients have included intergovernmental organizations such as the United Nations; public sector and municipal boards such as the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection; and non-governmental organizations such as New York League of Conservation Voters Education Fund; and private companies such as Bloomberg Associates. Clients from all over the world contract SUMA consultants, and have even included Columbia University offices.

The final briefings for the Fall 2020 Integrative Capstone Workshop in Sustainability Management will take place on Tuesday, December 8th, from 6:10 to 8:00 PM, online via Zoom. Registration is required in advance.

This semester’s projects include:

  • Advancing the Installation of “Cooler” Roadways | Client: Global Cool Cities Alliance
  • Electrifying Medium and Heavy-Duty Vehicles: Policies and Barriers | Client: ElectrifyNY
  • Evaluating Climate Resiliency in Coastal Cities: U.S. Case Studies | Client: Urban Ocean Lab
  • Clean Flying – Can Municipal Solid Waste Power Airplanes in Washington State? | Client: The Port of Seattle Sea-Tac Airport
  • Stakeholder Engagement and Federal Funding Best Practices for NYC Department of Environmental Protection Amid Climate Change and COVID-19 | Client: New York City Department of Environmental Protection

The final briefings schedule is as follows:

6:10 – 6:15: Introduction by George Sarrinikolaou 

6:15 – 6:30: Stakeholder Engagement and Federal Funding Best Practices for NYC  Department of Environmental Protection Amid Climate Change and COVID-19 

Client: New York City Department of Environmental Protection Faculty Advisor: Natalie Unwin-Kuruneri

Presenter: Olivia Morgan

6:30 – 6:45: Electrifying Fleets in Hunt’s Point  

Client: ElectrifyNY

Faculty Advisor: Thomas Abdallah

Presenter: Nicole Lim

6:45 – 7:00: Advancing the Installation of “Cooler” Roadways 

Client: Global Cool Cities Alliance

Faculty Advisor: Kizzy Charles-Guzman

Presenter: Jillian Loe Yuting

7:00 – 7:15: Clean Flying: Can Waste Power Planes in Washington State?

Client: The Port of Seattle Sea-Tac Airport

Faculty Advisor: Susanne DesRoches

Presenter: Laura Shutack

7:30 – 7:45: Quantifying Air Pollution Heterogeneity in New York City 

Client: Upward Bound and New York City Public School System Faculty Advisor: Benjamin Bostick

Presenter: Daryush Nourbaha

7:45 – 7:55: Conclusion by George Sarrinikolalou 

Celebrating its tenth anniversary in 2020, the M.S. in Sustainability Management program, co-sponsored by the Earth Institute and Columbia’s School of Professional Studies, trains students to tackle complex and pressing environmental and managerial challenges. Visit the website to learn more.

Banner featuring a collage of extreme heat images.

Recent record-breaking heat waves have affected communities across the world. The Extreme Heat Workshop will bring together researchers and practitioners to advance the state of knowledge, identify community needs, and develop a framework for evaluating risks with a focus on climate justice. Register by June 15

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