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Smeal Hosts Sustainability Research Workshop

Penn State University’s Smeal College of Business recently hosted a Sustainability Research Workshop, in which faculty from several different business disciplines had the opportunity to share research on topics related to sustainability. Faculty members from other Penn State colleges also attended, including representatives from the College of Engineering, the College of Agricultural Sciences, and the College of Communications.

The workshop featured a morning session in which student researchers and faculty from Smeal gave ten short presentations about ongoing research projects. Topics included how corporate accountability reporting influences misconduct cases, how consumer perception influences the market for remanufactured products, and how corporate responsibility initiatives influence consumers. During the afternoon, participants attended breakout discussion groups that were intended to facilitate collaborations between faculty and lead to new research ideas.

The director of the Smeal Sustainability Council and the sustainability workshop facilitator, Gerry Susman, believed the workshop could facilitate further sustainability research at Smeal, saying “my hope is that this workshop has served as a catalyst for research collaborations among Smeal faculty and also among colleges to advance our understanding of business issues in sustainability.”

As part of the Smeal College of Business’ five year strategic plan, the college formed a new Smeal Sustainability Council which promotes the study of sustainable business practices. The council includes more than fifteen faculty members and administrators from Penn State Smeal. The John and Becky Surma Dean of Smeal, Charles Whiteman, has also committed to supporting sustainability-related research proposals from Smeal professors, and hopes that proposals will include cross-college or cross-department collaboration.

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