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Smeal Net Impact undergraduate chapter celebrates Sustainability National Championship

October 9, 2015


Net Impact & banner
Members of Smeal's Net Impact Undergraduate Chapter reveal their national championship banner.
When the Penn State Smeal College of Business Net Impact Undergraduate Chapter learned it had won a national honor, it chose to celebrate in a decidedly Penn State way — with Berkey Creamery ice cream. 

Members of the group dished news that it had been voted Undergraduate Chapter of the Year (2014-15 National Champion) along with scoops of ice cream Thursday in the Business Building Atrium.

Net Impact is a national organization founded 25 years ago to bring to business schools a focus on sustainability, integrity and corporate social responsibility.  A Net Impact chapter aligns perfectly with Smeal’s dedicated focus on these topics. 

Penn State Smeal finished ahead of two other finalists, Indiana and NYU, in just its second year of existence. It finished in the top three the year before.

“After finishing among top three in our first year, one of the goals for our next academic year was to be better, and as a result of that, become Chapter of the Year,” said Icy Trinh, the president of the Smeal chapter. “We looked at the results, asked for feedback from the nationals, and found areas of our operations we could improve upon, and took actions toward achieving it.” 

The finalists were selected from guidelines on programming designed to impact thousands of Smeal students. The Smeal Net Impact chapter held more than 50 events such as sustainability projects, volunteering initiatives, corporate guest speakers, integrity seminars, competitions and conferences. Smeal was unanimously selected tops in the nation from a panel of three Net Impact national judges and won a popular vote as well.. 

Among the chapter’s achievements throughout the year were:

  • Earning Gold status as a chapter (only 15 percent of chapter achieve this)
  • Winning the National Net Impact Earth Day Competition
  • Winning Small Steps Big wins for the third year in a row (impact more than 1,000 students each semester)
  • Finishing in the Top 10 of Up to Us
  • Holding the Smeal Corporate Citizenship Conference (2,000 attendees)
  • Past president Ethan Espina earned the Smeal Sustainability Student Award
  • Faculty advisor Ron Johnson earned the Smeal Sustainability Faculty Award
     

“The recognition is nice but our mission is to help all other schools get better at driving sustainability, social responsibility and integrity – not just Smeal and Penn State,” Johnson said.

“We have made presentations and given our ‘secrets’ to other schools on a routine basis. We want to impact Smeal, all of Penn State and the wider world of all business students. National champion comes with an obligation to share what we have learned.”

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