AT&T, UT Knoxville Team Up to Engage Students on Sustainability

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Sustainable business practices have the power to create tangible benefits for companies of all sizes by helping them reduce costs and boost efficiency while lessening their impact on the environment.

AT&T is looking forward to helping companies play a key role in creating an environmentally sustainable future—the company is always looking for opportunities to share its commitment with the next generation.

Keeping in mind the above thought, AT&T has joined forces with the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UT) to give a group of students an up-close look at the role business plays in a sustainable community.

AT&T Director of Sustainability Integration John Schulz worked with Tom Van Dorselaer, executive director of the Professional Sales Forum at UT, to develop a project plan for a class on corporate social responsibility. UT’s Haslam College of Business offered the class in the fall of 2018.

Rather than read textbooks and listen to lectures, the students experienced action-based learning, working directly with companies to research attitudes and initiatives around sustainability. They explored ways technology can help spur sustainability gains. The class engaged regional and national businesses in a wide range of industries, including healthcare, logistics, retail, consumer goods and chemicals.

Like a company, the students formed business units: research, analytics, design, marketing and communications, and sales. Each unit had specific assignments—from securing meetings with companies to developing a questionnaire to guide the interviews—and pursued them under the guidance of a student CEO.

After working with the companies and assessing the results of the research, the students identified key insights about how AT&T can support other companies’ sustainable business projects. The class shared these insights and recommendations by developing a written report and video, then delivering a presentation to representatives of AT&T and the other companies involved in the project.

AT&T’s work with UT is part of the company’s broader commitment to support students and environmental sustainability.