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Student Sustainable Business Association implements sustainable practices

Paulina Levi
Charlie Bourne, senior sustainable development major and vice president of the SSBA, discusses the club Jan. 31, 2024. The SSBA meet bi-monthly and have projects like creating a sustainable certification program for local businesses.

The Student Sustainable Business Association was established this past semester to equip students with the resources to implement sustainable practices in their professional lives and the opportunity to implement these practices within their communities.

“The founding process honestly went off without a hitch. We got off the ground, gathered partners and this semester students to come along with us” said Matthias Von Feilitzsch, founder of the SSBA and a senior management major.

Von Feilitzsch said he thinks the process was successful because of the vision for the association and members are enthusiastic about the goals.

“The purpose of SSBA is to empower the next generation with the knowledge, resources and networking opportunities necessary to integrate sustainability into their current and future endeavors by providing experiential learning through the real-world application of the best sustainable business practices,” Von Feilitzsch said.

Von Feilitzsch said the association aims to offer opportunities for students to learn and engage in hands-on sustainability projects within App State and Boone.

Nicholas Poggioli, an assistant professor of management and an adviser of the SSBA, serves on the SSBA’s board and assists in advising the association as part of his work to integrate sustainability into App State’s education.

“How I’d describe the organization is empowering the future generation with knowledge and networks for careers in sustainability through real-world, experiential learning,” Poggioli said.

Von Feilitzsch said the association will also provide members with the opportunity to network with faculty in the university as well as people in the Boone community.

“As a sustainable development major, I know the sustainable development department has a lot of motivated students who are incredibly well-versed in issues in environmental degradation and a range of political and social issues,” said Charlie Bourne, vice president of the SSBA and a senior sustainable development major. “The college of business here has a seemingly more practical, tools-based, and solution-driven approach.”

Bourne said the use of these strengths in both departments will make more tangible solutions available for issues that hold importance to students.

“This semester, we’re excited to embark on developing a sustainable certification program for local businesses, essentially attempting to create a ‘Local B-Corp Status’ that local businesses can occupy,” Von Feilitzsch said.

B Lab is a nonprofit organization that is currently working to spread “B Corporation” to more companies across the globe. Gaining the certification of B Corp means that a company has positive practices towards social and environmental issues.

“We are defining what that certification might look like this semester,” Von Feilitzsch said. “Essentially it is a more pragmatic and achievable certification that would be catered to our local environment, benefiting both the community around us, and the businesses within it.”

The association, Von Feilitzsch said, is currently talking with local businesses about what they expect with the B Corp certification and what they can achieve in regards to sustainability.

The association will meet biweekly on Thursdays at 5:30 p.m. in Chapel Wilson room 206, with the next meeting on Feb. 29.

Students can follow @SSBA_AppState and join their Engage page for more information regarding meetings and current projects.

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About the Contributor
Samantha Salvador
Samantha Salvador, Reporter
Samantha Salvador (she/her) is a freshman Spanish and political science major with a concentration in international and comparative politics from King, NC.
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  • K

    Kevin GambleFeb 18, 2024 at 9:08 am

    Very cool, I’m always delighted to see the awesome work our students do!!

    But let’s not forget about the Sustainable Technology program! That’s literally what we do: implement sustainable technological solutions and engage in hands-on projects and learning. If a student is interested in “solutions-driven approaches” look no further than ST, that’s the entire purpose of our program.

    Absolutely nothing against the important and essential work done by students and my esteemed colleagues over in the SD department and business school, but for those students that are specifically looking for opportunities to be directly involved in the transition to clean tech, working hands-on with sustainable technology systems, and quite literally building the very technological foundations that will be essential in powering our society while combating climate change, look no further than the Sustainable Technology program!