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The Wharton School is getting greener.

Next week, the Wharton Student Sustainability Advisory Board will officially launch its efforts for the year, beginning its push toward sustainability and environmental awareness throughout the Wharton community.

Formed in 2010, the board is a collaboration among student leaders, Wharton’s undergraduate and graduate divisions and Wharton Operations. SSAB serves as an opportunity for students to interact directly with the administration regarding issues of operational sustainability, behavior change and student engagement.

In addition, the board’s committees will organize student-run events throughout the year focused on educating and promoting sustainability within businesses.

Wharton Operations Associate Director of Sustainability Rafael de Luna described a few unique aspects of the board.

“The board is unique because it is one of the only Wharton boards made up of both undergrads and MBAs,” he said in an email. “Further, their deliverables have a direct impact on Wharton’s environmental footprint.”

The board consists of several committees designed to serve different roles. According to de Luna, “some will help spread the word among the student population on recycling and composting processes, green event guidelines and other behavior change activities,” while others will collaborate with Wharton Operations to recommend and support other projects.

Previous SSAB projects have included lighting studies in Huntsman Hall to determine the amount of electricity that can be conserved, as well as Wharton Computing recycling programs. Planned initiatives for this year include energy conservation, waste reduction and water conservation efforts, among others.

Wharton and College sophomore Carpus Tin, one of the new members of this year’s board, believes that SSAB will allow him to make a tangible difference in the student body.

“I really want to reach out to the student body through working with this board and I really hope that the board will be able to make that impact,” he said. “We have to get the word out there and show a large number of students how important these issues are.”

For first-year MBA student Rachel Waszkewitz, the board aligns nicely with one of her interests in business.

“I’m very interested in corporate sustainability,” she said. “I think it needs to be an integral part of every business, whether that be an institution like Wharton or an actual business.”

Waszkewitz, who will serve on the board’s innovation committee, looks forward to analyzing how Wharton can improve its sustainability efforts and practices.

“My expectations are really to evaluate what we’re doing here at Wharton and to see if there’s a better way to make and improve our social footprint,” she said.

Given that the board is a joint initiative between undergraduate and graduate students, for some board members this provides a good opportunity to meet people whom they would normally not have had the chance to interact with on a regular basis.

“The fact that you get to work across the school with undergraduates and other MBA students and the administration is a perfect opportunity,” first-year MBA student Ailyn Fun said. “You come out of the MBA bubble as you get to meet and work with other people in Wharton and in other capacities.”

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