A group of 24 undergraduate business students trekked to Montréal, Québec over spring break for a Global Immersion Elective (GIE) to study sustainability and business with Jeff Mittelstadt. Sustainability is guided by the inextricable link between social, environmental and economic impacts. The human aspect of the social and economic, and often the environmental, are strongly connected to the culture and history of place and society. The class studied the sustainability frameworks, history and cultural aspects of Montréal that potentially influence how sustainability is viewed and applied in business there.
Once we were in Montréal, the class explored sustainability in a personal, professional and cultural manner. The students immersed themselves in the food, experienced an art tour of the city’s world-renowned murals, visited a hydropower dam, and much more. The class explored different sustainability topics and business opportunities through visiting with organizations like Bixi Montréal (a non-profit bike-sharing organization), Hydro Québec (a government-owned power utility), Montreal International (driving economic development and working with entrepreneurs), the Center for Sustainable Development and more. They enjoyed a networking dinner at a vegan sushi restaurant (Bloom Sushi) with Marlene Puffer, CEO of CN Investments, and Lenka Martinek, Managing Partner of Sustainable Market Strategies.
The entire class experienced Montréal as a team and learned about sustainability unique to this location and people. Each student grew in their own unique way. In order to capture this individual learning, students submitted final projects which reflected their personal development and understanding of sustainability gained during the class and immersion. Jeff said, “I am deeply moved by how all of the students expressed themselves and shared their personal stories throughout the course and, especially, in their final projects. Their submissions ranged from short videos, representative cooking videos and recipes, a rap song and a physical scrapbook to a violin piece, multimedia projects, a cartoon, a podcast and slide decks. I learned so much from each and every student.”
Everyone enjoyed an enlightening group excursion along with an individual personal growth opportunity. We look forward to the next sustainability GIE to learn how culture and location influence sustainability and business.