SRU School of Business signs UN’s sustainability compact


business man in suit

March 15, 2016

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - With an eye on creating the next generation of global citizens that will "work to embrace the values of a sustainable lifestyle and business practices," the Slippery Rock University School of Business has become a signatory institution with the United Nations Global Compact's Principles for Responsible Management Education program.

SRU is just the third university in Western Pennsylvania - joining the University of Pittsburgh and Duquesne University - and the first State System institution to join the program.

Launched at the 2007 UN Global Compact Leaders Summit in Geneva, Switzerland, the PRME initiative is the first organized relationship between the UN and business schools around the globe. The mission of PRME is to inspire and champion responsible business management education, research and thought leadership on a global scale.

"The United States uses two times as much energy as any other civilized country," said Frances Amatucci, associate professor of business. "Through our involvement with PRME, we're hoping to not only increase the awareness about sustainable options in business practices, but in everyday living as well.

"We want to change the lifestyle of our students...change their mindset and focus them more on the world around them and the conditions that exist. Many believe we're in crisis right now. Even from the smallest of things, such as whether or not your bottle water container belongs in the trash or in the recycle bin. It all adds up. We need to increase awareness.

"It starts with individuals. If individuals buy in, when they enter the business world, they can help foster change."

According to PRME, the organizations six principles provide an engagement structure for academic institutions to advance social responsibility through incorporating universal values into curricula and research.

Those principles are:

Purpose: Developing the capabilities of students to be future generators of sustainable value for business and society at large and to work for an inclusive and sustainable global economy.

Values: Incorporating into academic activities and curricula the values of global social responsibility as portrayed in international initiatives such as the United Nations Global Compact.

Method: Creating educational frameworks, materials, processes and environments that enable effective learning experiences for responsible leadership.

Research: Engaging in conceptual and empirical research that advances the understanding about the role, dynamics and impact of corporations in the creation of sustainable social, environmental and economic value.

Partnership: Interacting with managers of business corporations to extend knowledge of the challenges in meeting social and environmental responsibilities and to explore jointly effective approaches to meeting these challenges.

Dialogue: Facilitating and supporting dialog and debate among educators, students, business, government, consumers, media and civil society organizations and other interested groups and stakeholders on critical issues related to global social responsibility and sustainability.

Amatucci said that by educating the current generation of business students, the hope among educators is to stem the tide of "out of touch" business practices and develop a crop of global citizens that will help raise awareness and stand better prepared for the future.

She added that this preparation isn't merely for just SRU's sustainable management majors, but includes all majors within the School of Business.

"Social responsibility and sustainability aren't new," Amatucci said. "We just need to make sure they are at the forefront of teaching and imbed them into the curriculum...the movement has to be faculty driven."

According to Amatucci, business faculty are able to access a discussion board within D2L to contribute and share with other faculty what they are currently doing in class that is in synch with the six principles.

Additionally, the school is collecting information from across the web to create a "resource repository" of materials that will allow faculty to not only gain a better understanding of current sustainable business measures and practices, but also how to incorporate those into their curriculum.

"We are seeing a lot of students buy into a sustainable way of thinking already," said Amatucci. "The key is to get everyone to have these things come about automatically, not as an add on or extra.

"If they contribute now, that will spread organically and globally as time goes on. That's our job to make sure it happens."

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