Beedie MBA students present sustainable commuting solutions

Aug 05, 2014

Greenest City 2020 VancouverBeedie School of Business MBA students partnered with the City of Vancouver and CityStudio Vancouver to develop innovative solutions aimed at encouraging sustainable modes of commuting among City employees.

The assignment – designed to help the students understand the systematic nature of organizational change towards sustainability – was part of assistant professor Stephanie Bertels’ sustainability class in the full-time MBA program. By partnering with the City of Vancouver and CityStudio, the students were granted the opportunity to pitch ideas that could assist the City in reaching its Greenest City 2020 goals.

“Partnering with both the City of Vancouver and CityStudio Vancouver meant that our MBA students were able to provide the City with high quality research to support their Greenest City 2020 goals,” said Bertels. “It was gratifying for the students to see that the City has shown interest in following up on several of their ideas.”

The winning team consisted of Raman Grewal, Saleem Husain, Abby Lin, and Jamie Wlodarczak, who suggested the use of gamification to increase employee engagement. Their proposal utilized the gaming platform WeSpire to incentivize sustainable transportation and promote behavioral change.

Due to the high caliber of presentations, two teams ultimately tied for second place. While one recommended a park and ride program, where employees would carpool to strategically located parking spots and use public transportation for the remainder of their commute, the other team presented a revenue model that would help to support current and incoming sustainable commuting programs.

The students were critiqued by a guest panel of judges, including City of Vancouver employees Christina Medland, Director, Organizational Development and Strategic Initiatives; Hugo Haley, Senior Sustainability Specialist; Dale Bracewell, Manager, Active Transportation; Monika Prohl, Car Share Coordinator; as well as JoAnn Woodhall, Transportation Demand Management Officer at Translink.

“The ideas from the sustainability class student presentations opened our eyes to some new possibilities for our program, and the fresh approach to our challenge was incredibly insightful,” said Sue Goddard, Employee Engagement Lead at the City of Vancouver, who supported the students as a project contact. “I appreciated their rigorous use of the data, and the obvious time and attention they put into creating the presentations.”

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