Carlson student leads green initiatives

Carlson School of Management student Mark Schiller is working to quantify and reduce the 
University's carbon footprint.

Chris Roberts

Carlson School of Management student Mark Schiller is working to quantify and reduce the University’s carbon footprint.

While most Carlson School of Management students spend their days dealing with dollars, University of Minnesota student Mark Schiller is working to raise awareness about a different kind of green. Schiller, a marketing and entrepreneurship senior, has been spending the last year working with a group he founded called the Green Team to introduce more sustainability initiatives and to reduce CarlsonâÄôs overall environmental footprint. In the past year, the group, comprised of students and faculty in Carlson, has introduced composting and double-sided printing initiatives, as well as working with staff and faculty to reduce CarlsonâÄôs energy consumption. For his efforts, Schiller was recognized with a Carbon Buster Award of Excellence by Sen. Amy Klobuchar in early January. The award is intended to acknowledge MinnesotansâÄô efforts in raising environmental awareness and to show what can be done to save energy and combat global warming, according to a news release. Even though SchillerâÄôs work has already earned him recognition, he is working hard to expand the Green Team and further reduce CarlsonâÄôs environmental impact. Schiller said one of his biggest goals is to transition the Green Team from being largely a faculty-run team to a group run almost entirely by students. The Green TeamâÄôs major goals for the current semester include creating a website to keep track of CarlsonâÄôs green initiatives and setting up an environmental event in Carlson to bring local businesses to the school to discuss their current sustainability programs. Schiller said he thinks itâÄôs important for students to be aware of what different businesses are doing in terms of saving energy and reducing their environmental impact. As sustainability issues become more critical, he said itâÄôs important that private businesses work with the government and other organizations to combat climate change and help protect the environment. âÄúWhen our generation is running the show, itâÄôs not going to be just the government studies students who are making all the regulations for the environment; itâÄôs not going to be just the CFANS kids that are with the nonprofits,âÄù Schiller said. âÄúItâÄôs going to be the business sector too, and itâÄôs important that we have all those groups working together for the same cause.âÄù Schiller also expressed concern that if businesses donâÄôt confront their own sustainability issues, they could be faced with government regulations that hamstring their operations. âÄúI think if we donâÄôt do something about it now,âÄù Schiller said, âÄúweâÄôre going to get hit way harder in the future.âÄù Alfred Marcus , a strategic management professor who has worked with the Green Team, said sustainability issues have crossed into the mainstream in the last year and have forced businesses to address them. âÄúThese are issues of public opinions and public relations, but there are also huge market opportunities,âÄù he said. With the rise in importance of sustainability, students who have experience dealing with it will become increasingly valuable to employers, Marcus said. âÄúThereâÄôs a general awareness of the environmental constraints and the resource constraints that we have and the need to do something about it,âÄù he said. As businesses become more interested in sustainability, entrepreneurial management junior Jamison Gillitzer said, heâÄôs noticed increased interest among students as well. âÄúItâÄôs picking up steam and more and more people are getting interested in it,âÄù he said. Schiller hopes to capitalize on this increased interest among students to make sure everyone in Carlson understands the importance of sustainability. âÄúThe environment is everyoneâÄôs business,âÄù he said.