The process of a major proposal is long and had many iterations along the way. After countless meetings, consultations, and hard work, I created the final version of my major plan.
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Sustainable Management and Environmental Consciousness
According to IPCC, if we don’t reduce emissions in the next 12 years, we won’t have chance of recovery. The emerging of “environmental entrepreneurship” has brought a new dimension for ventures and a drive for changes in consumer behavior. There are already big groups, like the Green Belt Movement, and grassroot organizations that work on climate issues, as well as for profit businesses that focus on nature, environmental technology, and environmentally friendly products. They do not only shift the gear in production and value-system of entrepreneurs, but give examples of different solutions to our current problem. This major is a compilation of theories, responses, and practices, that will create a holistic approach to prevent climate change from worsening and will transform theories into action and content. It will include organization and practicality of management courses, the theories, and outcomes of the environmental courses, and the behavioral responses from philosophy, anthropology and psychology. This major is a call for action that needs to happen now and by the hands of everyone.
- How can small businesses contribute to sustainability?
- How can innovation contribute to businesses in the sustainable field?
- To what extent is sustainability a new ‘business statement’?
- What impact do big corporations have on the “culture of environmentalism and sustainability”?
- Is “zero-impact” possible for small businesses?
- How do the current zero-waste trends contribute to environmental racism?
- Who and what is needed for an effective change?
Ever since I was young, I have always been interested in making sense of different things and new environments. Growing up in rural Ukraine, I was always exploring the nature arounds me, being that the transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly or the cycles of a dandelion. Moving countries and finding myself in new environments, I was always thrilled to discover new places and their specialties. In Italy, I learned new things, including a new language, that gave me a new perspective not only on the life I was living but also on the one I lived in Ukraine. I always loved making sense of people’s behaviors, their ways of saying or doing something, and connecting that to the culture, groups, and behaviors. Clearly, I did not know all the words for it yet but it was all building up towards something bigger.
Growing up in a low-income family taught me to use all I had to the fullest of its potential. My creative drive mde me explore how I could reuse things like a shoebox or an egg container. In modern terms this is called upcycling; in my terms, I was finding a new value to old things. My passion for discovery gave me the possibility to explore, expand, and communicate with those who I was different from. Ultimately, this quality got me into the United World College (UWC), a boarding school where I was able to interact with people from around the world and have a roommate from a different continent. Additionally, I was able to find commonalities with people and engage with several different views. I gladly discovered that I was able to bring together people and make them discuss topics that would not have been discussed openly otherwise. This experience taught me that different perspectives are not only interesting but also very powerful when brought together and reiterated through dialogue.
Being the middle child often put me in a spot of mediation that required communication skills that are able to reach everyone. Being in the role of peacemaker between my sisters, I learned how to approach different personalities and brought that skill with me across the world. This skill revealed itself very valuable in friendships, relationships of any sort, and academics. I am able to engage with members of different fields and communicate my point to them in the way it is most perceptible to them. It is important to craft the language to every person, as the connection becomes stronger and more valuable for both. The same communication happens in my mind when I look at disciplines across all the departments I have taken part in these past three years. I am able to see much more than just the disciplines like Environmental Studies and Business. The interconnectedness of each and every single one of the courses I have taken so far is worth of a further reflection.
When thinking about my future, I see myself developing the connections in this major and being able to bring the new skills I learn through this major to the workspaces. I care for the environments that are around us as well as about the access of it for everyone. We all need to act and if we have the privilege of being the first ones it is our responsibility to uplift and empower those who do not hold the privilege. All together, we will be able to create a better and safer place for everyone.
Three Pillars of My Majors
The courses in these are give me the basis of overview, analysis, and explanation of certain human needs. (Biophilia, Social Psychology, Stats for Science). With the basic understanding of definitions, human behavior,and decisions, this section has given me the right preparation for the following areas.
The courses in this section are focused on the actions that have been taken historically and are being taken now. The analysis of what was done well and no so well gives me a perspective on the possible iterations on the processes currently in place in order to solve the problems humans came to cause.
Taking a humanistic approach to business, philosophy, and society, this section is meant to aid me in the exploration of the results that have come with certain mindsets and decisions. This section is teaching me how to approach some of the pressing environmental issues with an empathetic approach, first and foremost.
This is the major plan and the class layout according to the three pillars
ENVST 281 Biophilia (Spring 2019)
Students study topics related to the environment. This course is focusing on the loss of connectedness to nature that humanity is experiencing and how it affects mental and physical health, as well as limits the connection to nature to the younger generations. The topics include the theory of biophilia hypothesis, created by E. O. Wilson, race and place, biophilic design and children development. The interdisciplinary approach to the definition of nature is helping me with the understanding of the different approaches that can be taken when dealing with sustainable management and how to engage different populations with environmental consciousness.
PSYCH 249 Social Psychology (Fall 2017)
Why are people prejudiced and how can we reduce prejudice? Why do people help others? What is self-esteem and how do we defend it? How does romantic attraction develop? What are emotions and how do they influence us? In this introduction to the ways people interact and think about each other, students design their own theories of social behavior. I know, that from now on I will be working with people, whether it is a team or a client; it is important to understand human behavior and find reasons for it. This course will help me understand motives, behavior and human nature better, which will help me better to understand the world of management and policy making.
STAT 212 Statistics for Science (Fall 2019)
A first course in statistical methods for scientists, this course addresses issues for proposing/designing an experiment, as well as exploratory and inferential techniques for analyzing and modeling scientific data. Topics include probability models, exploratory graphics, descriptive techniques, statistical designs, hypothesis testing, confidence intervals, and simple/multiple regression. Statistical methods will give me the technical skills for further studies, analysis, and designing.
ES/PS 201 Global Environmental Politics (anticipated Fall 2019)
Population growth, industrialization, and the consumption of fossil fuels have increased global environmental problems. The course examines the ways in which nation-states and/or international institutions have addressed these environmental concerns. This course is especially valuable when analyzing the action, or lack of it, that the countries have taken when tackling environmental issues. Taking examples of what has been done right and noting what can be done better will give me a better understanding of the processes of internal and global environmental politics.
ENVST 232 Env. Policy and Regulation (Fall 2017)
This course analyzes environmental regulation in the United States with respect to its historical evolution, its ability to achieve environmental targets, its efficiency or cost-effectiveness, its distributional impact on jobs, people, and industries across the country, and its international ramifications. Through this course, I will explore the process of policy making and its many challenges and possibilities. It will help me in the future in decision making and resource taking for my projects.
MGMT 383 Mgmt Policy and Strategy (Fall 2018)
This is a capstone course for students with a management studies concentration or management area of emphasis in the economics major. Students have the opportunity to further develop their planning and decision-making skills through a focused study of the management literature and case analysis exercises. Emphasis is given to identifying, analyzing, and solving organizational problems, which are strategic in nature and cut across all functional areas of the organization. Being closely related to the policies that determine the possibilities to business to expand, an entrepreneur has to always make sure what they can bring in their business. This course will show me some of the skills to make decisions and to learn more about planning.
MGMT 250 Marketing (Fall 2018)
This course introduces the key elements of marketing principles. Topics include evaluating market opportunities; buyer behavior; market segmentation, targeting, and positioning; market strategy and planning; development of marketing mix; and marketing organization and control. Students are challenged to apply the principles learned in class to current and real-world marketing issues. The course includes readings, case study analysis, in-class exercises, and group projects. Working with people, and for them, it is to understand better what works and what does not in the development of a new project. This course will teach me how to transfer and communicate my projects and ideas into the real world, and introduce it to people.
MGMT 251 Management (Fall 2017)
This course familiarized me with the major management functions of planning, organizing, leading, and controlling. The study of management theory is linked with application exercises. Students begin to develop the management skills necessary in any organization, whether it be a for-profit or not-for-profit venture, a small business, or a large corporation. This course will give me a basic understanding of the real skills I need to have in a corporation or a small business.
MGMT 256 Entrepreneurship (Spring 2019)
This course introduces students to the principles and importance of entrepreneurship, covering both the theory and practical aspects of the subject. Students acquire a greater understanding of the entrepreneurial process: a process of opportunity recognition, resource marshaling, and team building driven by communication, creativity, and leadership. Discussions focus on the relationship of liberal arts disciplines to the entrepreneur, the role of entrepreneur in society and history, the risks and rewards of entrepreneurship, and the elements of the entrepreneurial behavior. Study concentrates on the entrepreneurial process from idea creation to ultimate business or other organizational activity. A leadership theme permeates these discussions. A variety of instructional techniques are used including group projects, guest presenters, and practicing entrepreneurs attending the class.
This course is a response to the question: “How can innovation contribute to small businesses in the sustainable field?” It is giving me the skills and understanding of making a business and how to apply it in different contexts.
Understanding of the Consequences
Chicago Business and Industry (Spring 2018 – ACM Chicago)
This course is about the development of Chicago industry and the effects of ongoing economic change and globalization on Chicago business. Business and industry are key elements to the success and well-being of urban America. Chicago is a case study in historic business transformation. The class will experience, evaluate and determine how business change works and the direction it can go. We will examine market needs as well as look at how Chicago history, cross-cultural roots, and urban planning contribute to the process. We will also examine current Chicago businesses and institutions that contribute to and drive reinvention in a globalized world. This course will give me the opportunity to look at real-life examples, and give me the chance to experience it on my own while gaining insight from businessmen and current organizations. This will give me the possibility to explore what exactly I want to do and give me an understanding of what I need to do in order to succeed.
PHIL 258 Ethics, Economics & the Marketplace (Fall 2018)
Markets are guided not only by economic goals but also by moral values of freedom, fairness, justice, and ideals of the good life itself. Through readings in economics and philosophy, this course explores the relationship between moral and economic values in the marketplace from the ancient world up to the present. Characteristic topics include the status of wealth in a virtuous life, fair trade, economic freedom, pricelessness, and the tension between public and private values. Because management and economics are social sciences, it is important to understand the role of ethics in the marketplace. This course will show me some insight of how to better see people’s motives that guide them through decisions in economics and the marketplace.
ENVST 381 Seminar in Environmental Studies: Race, Environment, and Art (Spring 2019)
This course looks at the relationship between environmental justice and race and artists inquiry into these matters from a diversity of ethnic and racial perspectives. The course starts with background information about key issues and an introduction to the work of artists in this arena such as the Onaman Collective. The in-depth analysis of the intersection of race and environment gives me the critical perspective of the western approach to nature versus the indigenous one, specifically in the United States.
SOAN 297 Environmental Anthropology (Spring 2020)
This course introduces some of the main theoretical approaches and some practical applications of environmental anthropology. Students examine cultural and social aspects of the human-environment interface, such as different belief and value systems relating to the environment, resource conflict and management, conservation and biodiversity, agriculture and food security, and the environmental justice movement. The course also addresses methods and problems of applying research in environmental anthropology to related development, conservation, and human rights issues. Looking at the issues of environmental justice and practices from the anthropological aspect will give me an insight that is more that quantitative data. It will allow me to experience it through a lense that observes societies and the reasons why they work a certain way. The expansion of anthropological views on people and their relationship with the environment will make my perspective richer and more well-rounded, when combined with other theoretical courses.
Other relevant courses
ECON 121 Principles of Economics
CHEM 124 A Matter of Environment
ART 104 Foundation New Media
PSYCH 125 Introduction to Psychology
Connecting my subjects to the values of the college:
The liberal arts education at St. Olaf has not only allowed me to explore different fields, but it has also given me the chance to find the connection among the commonly independent subjects. Taking classes from different departments and seeing the connection among them showed me that it is possible to combine them towards a bigger end. St. Olaf’s goal of letting its students explore meaningful vocation resonates deeply with me: I am finding my path through learned knowledge, interaction with like-minded people and highly skilled faculty. Envisioning my future through the path on the Hill is allowing me to see the broader picture of how I can help my communities and give back to it with the acquired skills.
Inclusivity is one of my biggest goals in the attempts of reshaping the notion of sustainability in business. Environmental injustice creates economic barriers for low-income and minority communities to be able to live more sustainably. This gives me more motivation to work towards inclusion and more effective ways to help the community and development, based on their needs and customs.
The global experience of living and studying in several parts of the world has given me many insights into the intersectionality of culture, history, community, and environment.It showed me that each culture approaches things such as organization, celebrations, and definition of nature in their own particular ways. These differences are also the chance to take different perspectives and using their strengths in order to uplift everyone.