Over the past couple of years I have seen a significant increase in business school partnerships with government, and in particular local government. These partnerships are becoming more structured and focused, engaging not just faculty but students and staff, providing meaningful learning opportunities for students while contributing to moving the city’s sustainability strategies and policies forward. Here we feature a few such partnerships from Turkey, Brazil, Australia, US, UK and Latvia.
Yalova University in Turkey and the local Yalova Municipality recently signed an agreement to work more closely together. The local Municipality now funds and sponsors thesis projects related to issues of particular interest to the city. In Brazil, the National Service of Industrial Apprenticeship in Parana is working with the City of Curitiba, and a range of universities in the city to provide and share knowledge, innovative ideas and skills around how to create a more sustainable city. This provides an exciting opportunity for the university to connect students with planning and decision-making processes in sustainable urban management.
University of New South Wales in Australia signed a Sustainability Agreement with its local city council, Old Randwick City Council, one of the only continuing agreements of its kind between a local council and a university in Australia. The Agreement is intended to establish a formal working relationship between both organisations for the express purpose of progressing, sharing and collaborating on joint projects or initiatives intended to deliver key sustainability outcomes or changes of mutual benefit to both organisations, within or adjacent to the area comprising Randwick City. George Washington School of Business (GWSB) in the US partnered with the Office of the Mayor of Washington, D.C. to provide consulting services, including a first of its kind project to research and develop an economic development strategy for the city of Washington. The months-long project resulted in a highly regarded economic development plan, developed by 17 MBA students under the guidance of GWSB faculty.
Several schools are also engaging with their local city councils around special, sustainability-focused events. For example Royal Holloway School of Management in the UK has taken over the hosting of the Commission for Sustainable London 2012 website. The Commission was an independent body that monitored and assured the sustainability of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games—the first of its kind for an Olympic Games. In Latvia, Riga International School of Economics and Business Administration participated in Riga European Capital of Culture events, which took place throughout 2014. The school joined forces with the city council and local organisations to prepare and participate in the events and activities of the year.
Bristol Business School in the UK is a key partner in Bristol European Green Capital 2015. Students and staff will be playing a role in a range of initiatives and events planned around the year. The University itself played an active role in securing the prestigious designation for the city. Students on Bristol’s Green Internship Scheme on placement at the Bristol Green Capital Partnership, which submitted the original proposal) supported the bid. The US Government has recently selected Berkeley-Haas Centre for Responsible Business to host one of four national dialogue sessions to help develop a National Action Plan for responsible practices by American corporations operating in other nations. The purpose is to spur robust discussions by stakeholders from business, labour and civil society.
Does your school have projects with your local government? Share your experiences in the comments below.