Ithaca College’s School of Business will be hosting the second annual Sustainability Case Competition this spring. The competition will focus on marketing new and improved ideas of sustainability to businesses.
The competition, which is open to all students, is meant to develop a marketing plan for the New York Sustainability Education Working Group. Last year’s competition had an emphasis on business management, while this year’s competition will focus on marketing new business strategies.
Participants will create marketing strategies to encourage colleges and universities in New York state to implement curriculum plans that teach graduating students about business sustainability.
The first-place winner will receive a prize of $5,000, and the second- and third-place teams will receive a prize of $3,500 and $1,500, respectively.
Mary Ellen Zuckerman, dean of the School of Business, is overseeing the competition, which is sponsored by the dean’s office.
“This competition is about ensuring that when students graduate they are literate in sustainability for businesses and companies,” Zuckerman said.
Over eight weeks, teams of three to five students from the college will develop marketing plans that focus on teaching college students about sustainability. These marketing plans will include strategies for analysis, planning, implementation and assessment.
Three meetings will be held in March, where students will be able to update advisers on the status of their projects. The registration deadline was Feb. 11, but the competition is ongoing and the three final teams will be chosen April 5. The winning team will be announced April 11.
Sophomore Zach Briggs, marketing director for the competition, said the initiative will provide students with an outlet for creativity and innovation outside of the classroom.
“This is the students’ opportunity to develop a market plan for sustainability,” Briggs said. “It’s a good way to get involved in teaching and learning about sustainability.”
Junior Anna Isachenko will be competing in the Sustainability Case Competition with a group of four people. Isachenko said she is most looking forward to learning more about the marketing side of the business world.
“I’m a business administration major, so I’m not well-versed on the marketing side of things, but through this competition I hope to learn more about it,” Isachenko said.
Competing students will be required to research and come up with their definition of sustainability. Students will also be required to identify appropriate markets for their campaign. They will develop objectives for researching each of the markets and then describe how to evaluate the effectiveness of their campaigns.
Briggs said students will be required to submit innovative plans for the judges.
“The students have to hand in an original plan to the judges, and the top three teams will then come back and give a presentation on their marketing plan,” Briggs said.
Isachenko said her team’s strategy will be to research ahead of the competition.
“Our goal is to figure out what the colleges and universities are looking for, then we will do the best that we can to give an effective sustainability plan,” Isachenko said.
By the Feb. 11 deadline, 21 student teams had registered for the competition. Zuckerman said there were 11 teams last year.
The panel of judges, which includes Zuckerman, will also consist of staff from the School of Business, the New York State Sustainability Working Group and other experts on sustainability issues.
Briggs said since the competition is relatively new, they put in a large amount of work to raise awareness and recruit interested students.
“It was a challenge coming up with ideas on how to market the strategy, but I made a lot of posters and talked to a bunch of different classes,” Briggs said.
Briggs said that if he were to give the participating students some advice, he would suggest they take advantage of an adviser and make sure they know the rules.
“We will invest a lot of time in these teams and make sure that they have all that need to move forward in the competition,” Zuckerman said.