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New business sustainability track launches with Arbor Day tree planting

SUNY New Paltz students Ryan O’Hara ’18 (Management: Sustainability) and Martin Dearaway ’18 (Management: Sustainability) originally just wanted to plant a tree on campus for Arbor Day.

“Our fraternity first set out to do this as a way to get involved and do something green,” O’Hara said. “When we brought the idea up with the sustainability office and with the School of Business, it became something a lot bigger.”

The Arbor Day event grew into a collaboration between the students of New Paltz’s Pi Alpha Nu chapter, the Office of Campus Sustainability and the School of Business, and April 28, dozens of students, faculty and staff came out to celebrate not only the planting of a new tree on campus, but the launch of a new line of business courses designed for students interested in applying green practices to their future careers.

“Today marks the official beginning of the Sustainability Track in our Management major; today our program begins to establish roots in our School and our community,” said School of Business Dean Kristin Backhaus. “I want to say thank you to Pi Alpha Nu, to Michael Sheridan and to everyone in Facilities for all the work that went into this event – especially the people who dug that hole and picked out this tree.”

The new track is shepherded by Assistant Professor Michael Sheridan, who in a short time has created new courses and helped the School of Business forge partnerships with regional businesses and organizations concerned with sustainability.

For students, this means access to unique opportunities working with local companies on sustainability assessments – comprehensive, real-world evaluations in high demand by companies of all sizes that are looking to achieve cost savings and reduce their environmental footprints.

“The business community has a major role to play in solving sustainability challenges, especially with climate change,” said Campus Sustainability Coordinator Lisa Mitten. “The community is stepping up, alongside governments and public citizens across this world, and students in this track are positioning themselves to join those companies and push them to continue this important work into the future.”

The enthusiasm for the new track among students at the Arbor Day celebration was as easy to see as the symbolism of planting a new tree and launching a new sustainability track on the same day.

“The sustainability track shows that the School of Business is embracing a green future, and we’re really excited about that,” O’Hara said. “We hope that as this tree grows, the program will grow with it.”

Visit the School of Business and the Office of Campus Sustainability online to learn more about their programs, or contact Michael Sheridan at sheridam@newpaltz.edu for information about the Sustainability Track in the Management major.