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Wharton Alliance, a student organization dedicated to creating a supportive community for LGBT students interested in business.

Penn’s Wharton Alliance will host its annual Diversity Case Competition today in collaboration with Natives at Penn. 

The event will be held virtually from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will focus on solving problems at the intersection of environmental sustainability and Indigenous issues. The main competition will include undergraduate teams from across North America who will present their proposals in front of a panel, according to the competition's co-directors. The event’s other activities are open to all undergraduates.

Established in 2005, the Wharton Alliance is a pre-professional student organization dedicated to creating a supportive community for LGBTQ students with an interest in business. It aims to generate a more inclusive environment for LGBTQ employees across different sectors of business.

This year’s competition theme is based on the Barnhart v. Peabody Coal Company case and the Biden administration’s pledge to clean up coal mine pollution, according to Wharton sophomore Heather Bernstein and Wharton junior Jack Franklin, who serve as Wharton Alliance’s executive vice presidents and co-directors of the case competition. 

While developing the case, the pair said they realized a partnership with Natives at Penn would be essential in order to fully grasp all aspects of the situation.

“As soon as we became Case Competition Presidents, our first step was to partner with Natives at Penn because we knew we couldn’t write a case about these issues if we weren’t partnering with people from the community,” Bernstein said.

At the event, participating teams will present their recommendations for the case to a panel of judges composed of Wharton Alliance’s corporate sponsors.

“Every year, our case is based on a real world event or real world company that has issues related to diversity, and we challenge participants to solve the problem from a hypothetical standpoint. It’s really exciting, especially this year [with the topic of] Indigenous issues,” Bernstein said.

According to the organizers, the event will also include a career fair and a keynote speaker — Matthew Yazzie, a behavioral scientist and equality advocate who strategizes in diversity and inclusion programming.

Bernstein and Franklin said that the annual Diversity Case Competition exemplifies the Wharton Alliance’s commitment to bringing conversations about inclusion into the business space, adding that it creates pertinent scenarios based on current events. 

The pair said that they have also reached out to a variety of schools, such as historically Black colleges and universities, in order to include a wider range of diverse perspectives. Past themes have included the gentrification of West Philadelphia and Chick-fil-A’s use of homophobic corporate messaging.

“[We] feel like a lot of case competitions will sort of just focus on [the] financial or operational piece [and so] we’ve really tried to include the diversity aspect as well,” said Franklin. “We really want teams to consider what role diversity and inclusion play when [business leaders] make those major business decisions.”

The full schedule for the day can be found here.