Two SPC alumni and two professors made their mark in Kent State University’s 2nd Annual International Symposium on Sustainable Value Chains earlier this summer in Cleveland.
From left: Lynn Grinnell, Rachel Cooper, Greg Nenstiel
Rachel Cooper and Cheryl Little, recent Sustainability Management bachelor’s graduates, received the Certificate of Achievement for Symposium Best Student Paper. Their paper, “A Sustainability Survey for the Assessment of External Manufacturing Suppliers,” was a variation of their senior capstone course project, which focused on the sustainability efforts of a local undisclosed corporation.
“We had to change it a little bit from when we did it for the school and make the paper a little more generic to submit it for the conference,” said Cooper, who graduated Magna Cum Laude in the spring. “(The company) wanted to make sure they weren’t identifiable in the paper for the symposium because quite a bit of the information they gave was proprietary to them.”
The women were competing with students from major universities – several of whom were Kent State University graduate students.
“I just couldn’t believe that we’d actually won,” said Little, who works in supply chain management. “That’s awesome – to beat people from Kent State. It’s such a well-known college.”
“It was nice to see our students not only perform at this level, but win this award for their hard work,” said Wende Huehn-Brown, SPC professor in the College of Business who participated in the symposium. “They truly did a great job on this project and it showed in their paper.”
Huehn-Brown, who holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in industrial engineering from the State University of New York at Buffalo and a doctorate in engineering management from the University of Missouri-Rolla, presented a paper at the conference with Deborah Eldridge, professor of law at the Clearwater Campus.
The paper, “The Legal Impact of Sustainable Value Chains” takes an in-depth look at the international regulations driving sustainable innovations and improvements in the supply chain, said Eldridge, who received her bachelor’s degree in international affairs from Florida State University and Juris Doctor degree from Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law.
“Because the laws in the European Union are so strict with regards to disposal and recycling uses for a product, the whole idea is that from the time you decide to create a new product, you have to start looking at the start and end costs, and how to increase the net income of a product while also making it a sustainable product that complies with the laws,” she said.
“That’s where the value chain of the supply chain comes in,” Eldridge said. “If you’re using suppliers that also are sustainable suppliers and they fall within the green category, then that obviously is going to decrease the end-use issues – or disposal issues – with regard to your product.”
Huehn-Brown said the paper will be used in SPC courses to help students understand the process and thinking that occurs in the supply side and the legal side.
“Those are two different classes that we teach in this field,” she said. “We’re going to use it in the classes, but we’re more into applied research and looking at the practicum side of how we can take this knowledge and help companies be more competitive in the global market place.”
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