What Happens If You Get Caught With a Fake ID at a Bar?

November 2023 Newsletter


Design Equitable Enterprises in the Winter +Impact Studio Course

Professors: Cat Johnson, Jerry Davis |  Credits: 3
Winter 2024

The +Impact Studio graduate course (BA670) prepares students to be architects of an equitable, just, and sustainable future. In Winter ’24, this award-winning course will focus on the green energy transition.  We will be engaging with neighborhood partners in Detroit to design equitable and feasible business models for innovative green energy models that support communities. The course is 3 credits and will be offered to all graduate students on Wednesday mornings during the Winter semester.  This course received an Aspen Business & Society Ideas Worth Teaching Award in recognition of its expansive purpose, innovative thinking, and integrated, multi-disciplinary approach.

Read a new Medium Post about the Winter ’24 +Impact Studio course.


Working in the ESG Space – A Panel Discussion

Mon, Nov. 27 @ 5-6 pm ET

Join us for a panel discussion about working in ESG. Ross alums and leaders in the ESG space will share their experiences, insights, and recommendations around working in ESG and tips for recruiting.


We are proud to announce our 2023-24 B+I Student Ambassadors — graduate and undergraduate students from the Ross School of Business and other peer schools who represent the student voice for the B+I initiative. Many of these students have participated in our programs or received funding or scholarships from us, and have been actively involved in the numerous impact activities at U-M.




B+I’s New Executive-in-Residence

Business+Impact  is proud to announce our newly-recognized Executive-in-Residence, Dr. Neil C. Hawkins! Neil Hawkins has spent a career collaborating to define a positive and impactful role for business in global sustainable development and public policy. For 31 years, he was a key leader at Dow, ultimately serving as Chief Sustainability Officer and CVP for Environment, Health, and Safety. He has also served as President of the Erb Family Foundation currently is interim CEO and President of the World Environment Center. B+I staff and students are excited to engage with and learn from the wealth of experience Dr. Hawkins brings to this position.


Sea Spider

Almost half of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a floating island of trash twice the size of Texas, is made up of discarded fishing gear. This gear, called ghost fishing nets, strangle marine life and block sun from contributing to the underwater ecosystem. Sea-Spider uses artificial intelligence, in conjunction with existing technology, to predict when and where nets can be found and ultimately removed.

Read more

Ross Events:


Impact Gala

Mon, Dec. 4 @ 6-8 pm
University of Michigan Museum of Art

Community Case Competition, Net Impact @ Ross, and Detroit Impact @ Ross invite you to celebrate the conclusion of our Fall Impact Cases and build community with one another! Co-sponsored by Business+Impact.

RSVP on CampusGroups


Highlights from DNEP

The Detroit Neighborhood Entrepreneurs Project is now part of the B+I stable of offerings, bringing together small businesses in Detroit with UM faculty-supervised student teams to provide a learning experience for students and solve business’ legal, financial, marketing, operational, and design challenges. Below are some highlights.

DNEP Holiday Market

Fri, Dec. 15 @ 3-8 pm
Jam Handy
2900 E. Grand Blvd., Detroit

Shop from a variety of local minority-owned businesses, including apparel, food, jewelry, artisans, and more at DNEP’s Holiday Market!  Support local Detroit Businesses while finding unique gifts for this holiday season. There is a shortage of affordable indoor market spaces available for micro-businesses, making it hard for businesses who do not have a brick and mortar to participate in #ShopSmall campaigns.



InterMission – An Action-Learning Expedition (MO 330)

Professor: Kevin Thompson
Credits: 3 | Winter 2024

Presented in cooperation with B+I, InterMission is a self-leadership course for students adrift in a sea of expectations who are exceptional at fulfilling goals set by others but find themselves too busy to reflect on whether they are the right thing to do.  The course includes a one-week wilderness expedition in Utah’s Canyonlands with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). The wilderness expedition is strenuous and has an incremental cost.  InterMission has 10 classroom sessions of 90 minutes each and 7 intensive days on the wilderness expedition, which runs at the conclusion of winter term before summer internships. The classroom sessions will utilize and apply three rigorous, science-based frameworks developed at Harvard Business School, Virginia’s Darden School, and Michigan Ross.

View the syllabus


See All of the Impact Courses Offered in Winter 2024

Continuously updated for current students, our listing covers hundreds of impact undergraduate and graduate courses for impact at Michigan Ross, across campus, and online. Courses in social impact and sustainability, as well as social justice and world issues are shown. Constantly updated, the list shows the most up-to-date courses actually available to students currently registering for the Winter ’24 semester. It’s just a part of our larger Impact Gateway.


Image of Impact Gateway homepage.

A Searchable Platform for All Things Impact at Ross and Across Campus

The Business+Impact Gateway provides you with a single location for all things impact. Here you’ll find all of the activities, people and key partners working to use their learning to make a real impact in the world. 


Impact News and Notes

At the University:



Diversity Alliance: Pathways to Public Policy

Tues, Nov. 14 @ 8-9 pm ET
Virtual Event

Topics of discussion with our alumni will include Unique pathways into careers in public policy; diversity, equity, and inclusion in the public policy work place; policy implications of current events; and mentorship and impact opportunities.

More Info


Start-up and Intern Applications

Startup Applicaton Due
Intern Application Due
Tues, Nov. 14

Join the Desai Community! We look for early-stage companies founded by upcoming or recent University of Michigan – Ann Arbor graduates. We prefer companies with demonstrated product-building capability, market validation, and an exceptional team dynamic with the ability to execute quickly.

Start-up Application    |    Intern Application


Social Work Events

Drawing on an interdisciplinary faculty within a public university seated in a region of enormous need and promise, School of Social Work events share education, research, and service that fosters progressive change for students, faculty and staff.

ENGAGE Community Engagement Showcase – Wed, Nov. 15

Unity in Diversity Dinner – Thurs, Nov. 16

A Microaffirmation Approach Toward Understanding Mental Health and Well-Being Among Black Male College Students – Thurs, Nov. 30

Community and Social Change Info Session – Wed, Dec. 6

Exploring a Social Justice Career Path – Thurs, Dec. 7

Promoting Action for Intersectional Social Justice – Mon, Dec. 11


Sustainability Honors Cords

Orders Due
Fri, Nov. 17

The Excellence in Sustainability Honors Cord program is designed to recognize students who went above and beyond to advance their knowledge, skills, and practice of sustainability ethics while studying at the University of Michigan. The acceptance to the Excellence in Sustainability Honors Cord program will allow students to receive an Excellence in Sustainability Honors Cord for graduation, join an exclusive alumni LinkedIn network, and be part of a sustainability spotlight series.

Learn More


Global Scholars Applications

Fall & Winter 2024 Deadline
Sun, Dec. 3

GSP is an interdisciplinary living-learning community that brings students together from around the world to engage in social justice education on a global level. We invite applications from students of all backgrounds and levels of intercultural experience and from any college or school at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.

More Info


James A. Kelly Learning Lever Prize

Propose Now

The James A. Kelly Learning Lever Prize is a competition designed to challenge University of Michigan students to invent digital tools with the potential to significantly improve student learning. This prize encourages a culture of innovation in education, and rewards the creative, interdisciplinary work of University of Michigan students.

More Info


Community Engagement Grants

Apply By Fri, Dec. 8

The Ginsberg Center provides multiple forms of financial resources for student groups and organizations to engage in positive change through social justice education, leadership development, and meaningful service experiences with the community. The Community Engagement Grant program allows us to deepen our partnerships with student organizations and support community-based initiatives. Community Engagement Grants are offered on a rolling basis until funds are depleted.

Apply Now

In the Impact Community:



Nov. 15-17
Dallas, TX

Upswell Summit 2023, powered by Independent Sector, will advance our singular mission by offering thought leadership that wrestles with issues plaguing our nation, workshops and panels that will strengthen your institutional, personal, and professional development, as well as time to invest and care for the most important person in the work – you.  

Registration Information


John R. Lewis Case Competition

Application Due
Fri, Nov. 17 at 11:59 pm ET

All undergraduate and graduate students are invited to apply as teams for the free John Lewis Case Competition this month. The preliminary round consists of an industry-generic PowerPoint statement on intention. Semifinalists will be assigned to a corporate sponsor on December 11th and given a specific case prompt based on that sponsor’s racial justice/equality goals. The overall winning team will receive $20,000, with $7,000 for second place and $3,000 for third place.

More info


Volunteer for VITA and Help Others with Tax Returns

Training in November

VITA stands for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance. Join a community of over 80 volunteers in working to complete federal and state tax returns for low to moderate income families in Washtenaw County. Volunteer to help clients save on costly tax preparation fees, and put over $1.4 million of refunds into the hands of those that need it most. No experience? No problem! United Way’s comprehensive training process will give you the skills and knowledge necessary to prepare basic tax returns.

More Info


MBark 2 Boulder

Jan. 3-6
Boulder, CO

Academic institutions are only now beginning to provide instruction in relevant disciplines such as authentic leadership and sustainability.  Meanwhile, natural foods companies have seldom recruited MBA students, so many of the best management practices, analytical tools, growth strategies, and latest research on organizational development are simply not present in the ranks of their leadership. MBArk was created to bridge that gap, bringing the “hearts” of natural foods together with the “smarts” of business education.

Apply Now

Social Enterprise Spotlight: Sea Spider

Joe Huang with 4Ocean team members, pulling ghost nets from the ocean shoreline.

Business+Impact has introduced a series on U-M alumni who have created social enterprises and continue the work of entrepreneurship after graduation. For this edition, we are shining the light on  Sea Spider, founded by Joe Huang.

Joe grew up on the ocean’s edge and developed an early awareness of ocean pollution. He initially started investigating trash cleanup in waterways and quickly discovered the larger issue of discarded fishing gear. Soon Joe has assembled a team with passionate designers and diverse skill sets: Adam Zhang, Flora Luo, Joseph Vogelpohl, and Rim Bououdina. The team started by looking to create a robotic spider that crawled on the ocean floor looking for nets — inspiring the team name.  But after several stakeholder interviews, the team eventually settled on building additional software to retrofit autonomous, underwater drones already in use with artificial intelligence that can predict when and where nets can be found. 

What inspired you to create Sea Spider?

My inspiration for founding Sea Spider is deeply rooted in my lifelong connection to the ocean. Having spent a considerable part of my childhood living near coastal regions, my perspective was profoundly influenced, particularly during my time in Guam for a year and a half. It was there that I had the privilege of exploring the Pacific Ocean through snorkeling adventures, marveling at the extraordinary marine life thriving beneath the waves. The sheer beauty and diversity of these underwater ecosystems left an indelible mark on me. In the summer of 2022, Adam and I flew to Hawaii to work with three organizations that we interviewed in the past to understand their challenge and experience that in person.

Describe what Sea Spider does.

Sea Spider specializes in enhancing the identification and removal of abandoned fishing nets in delicate coral reef ecosystems. Leveraging advanced Computer Vision technology and GPS tags, our goal is to streamline the process for conservation organizations. Our approach reduces the time spent searching for these nets, which are detrimental to marine wildlife and coral reefs. Our mission is to facilitate more effective and efficient conservation efforts in protecting these vital ecosystems.

What is your biggest recent discovery about founding your business? 

I started by trying to solve the issue of plastics around the beach. But then I realized that the ghost nets are much larger than they expected, thousands of pounds each, and require large boats and labor to remove successfully. Marine litter poses more significant threats to marine ecosystems than I imagined, and ghost nets are especially deadly to plant and animal life alike:

  • 500,000 to 1 million tons of ghost nets are lost every year (Ghost Gear Report, n.d). 
  • 650,000 marine mammals are killed by ghost nets every year (Smith et al., 2014)
  • Millions of other fish, crustaceans, and high-value species are killed yearly as a result.
  • Important marine ecosystems, including coral reefs, seagrass beds, and mangrove forests are damaged as the nets travel and drag across the ocean floor.
Adam Zhang, BS Environment ’23; and Joe Huang, CS ’22 celebrate winning the 2023 Michigan Business Challenge–Seigle Impact Track.

What business school courses or UM entrepreneurship programs have helped you the most in building out the business?

I credit the University of Michigan’s Innovation in Action Competition with providing the initial foundation for this idea. It was in this program that I gained valuable insights about creating a user-centered solution. Additionally, the Michigan Business Challenge-Seigle Impact Track played a pivotal role in honing my understanding of the business aspects of this concept. Through both programs, I was challenged to assess the viability of my business and refine my vision, pushing me to consider the business’s self-sustainability. These experiences have been instrumental in shaping the trajectory of our business.

How much data on ghost nets have you gathered, and how is it stored for analysis?

Gathering a substantial dataset specifically tailored to ghost fishing nets has been a significant challenge. We initially utilized the “TrashCan 1.0” dataset, which included underwater images with various types of debris. Processing this dataset for our Box Detection and Convolutional Network approaches was demanding. We invested substantial time and effort in fine-tuning and preparing the dataset, as well as partitioning the data for Deep Learning purposes.

However, the dataset lacked available validation images, necessitating the creation of our own, using provided JSON files with image labels. This process involved extracting relevant information and generating accurate bounding boxes and binary semantic segmentation masks to train and assess our neural network.

In our quest to amass data on ghost nets, we encountered limitations. To supplement our dataset, we turned to other underwater databases and manually selected images and videos containing abandoned fishing nets. Additionally, we reached out to volunteer organizations in Hawaii to obtain further data. Our approach has encompassed Net Detection, Object Detection, Box Detection, and Deep Learning Semantic Segmentation methods, all contributing to our ongoing efforts in addressing this challenging issue.

Loading ghost nets for transport through 4Ocean.

What new ideas are you looking to pursue next, or what connections are you looking to make in the near future?

My next venture differs significantly from Sea Spider, focusing on land safety rather than ocean conservation. It addresses the pressing issue of drowsy driving, a major concern for truck drivers. Trucking accidents involving drowsy driving tend to result in more severe injuries compared to typical accidents, especially given the size of the vehicles involved. In 2021, over 100,000 drowsy driving accidents were reported in the US, with drowsy driving contributing to 40% of semi-truck crashes.

This issue arises from the demanding schedules and long working hours that truck drivers endure. They are often required to drive up to 11 hours a day, with shifts lasting 14 hours. Finding suitable overnight parking is a challenge, resulting in an average of only 5 hours of sleep per night for drivers. Due to these challenging arrangements, 64% of drivers report feeling drowsy while driving, and 18% admit to having fallen asleep at the wheel.

Addressing this problem will be a priority for my next endeavor, as it aims to enhance safety for truck drivers and reduce the risk of drowsy driving accidents.

Read another Social Enterprise Spotlight:

Great Lakes Seminar Series: Bridging Western and Indigenous knowledges through University-Indigenous Community research partnerships: Sharing guidance from the “Seasons of Research” Framework

woman standing in the snow

woman standing in the snowThis seminar provides guidance on creating and navigating the pathway to equitable, inclusive research partnerships. What is considered to be ‘normal’ research is in the midst of transformation as participatory, community-engaged research is no longer the exception but the expectation. With the realization that a diversity of stakeholders, rights holders, and research sponsors require more than can be accomplished by the solo investigator, how might one engage in this work in a good way? In this talk, I begin by explaining the term ‘bridging’ as an adaptable/adoptable concept and practice between Western and Indigenous knowledge systems. Then, following a brief description of my research foundations in fish, risk, and health, I outline our current research landscape with/by/as the Anishinaabe Ojibwa. As an example, I emphasize one project in particular that relies on guidance provided by the “Seasons of Research” framework, created in partnership with the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Lake Superior Band of Ojibwa. In this socio-ecological systems research project (NSF AWARD #2009258), we are examining tribal landscape system (TLS) dynamics impacted by anthropogenic toxic contamination and climate-related changes. I conclude by proposing future directions and good relations for strengthening research partnerships as a shared priority commitment.

Weiser Center for Real Estate x UCREW Speaker Series

Weiser X UCREW Speaker Series Promo Poster

Weiser X UCREW Speaker Series Promo PosterThe Weiser Center for Real Estate and the Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Network have teamed up to bring you our 2023 Speaker Series. Join us for a candid discussion on Tuesday, November 7th, from 4:30 PM – 6 PM located at the Ross School of Business (Room R0320). Moderated by Kristen Armstrong, this accomplished panel of leaders will discuss this year’s topic, focused on sustainability’s impact on the industry’s most important asset: the people we serve and the places we provide for them to inhabit. Register your interest below! Speakers include:

  • Sara Hammerschmidt: Director of Sustainability, Community + Regional Planning at THRIVE Collaborative and Michigan Alum
  • Lizz Spearman: Workplace Strategist at Stantec
  • Chris Heine: Sustainability Strategist + Architect at Smith Group
  • Sydney Filippis: Studio Director at SYNECDOCHE and Michigan Alum


Design Equitable Enterprises in the Winter +Impact Studio Course

ANN ARBOR – October 27, 2023 – The +Impact Studio graduate course (BA670) prepares students to be architects of an equitable, just, and sustainable future. In Winter ’24, this award-winning course will focus on the green energy transition.  We will be engaging with neighborhood partners in Detroit to design equitable and feasible business models for innovative green energy models that support communities.

Taught by Cat Johnson and Jerry Davis, the course is 3 credits and will be offered to all graduate students on Wednesday mornings during the Winter 2024 semester.  This course received an Aspen Business & Society Ideas Worth Teaching Award in recognition of its expansive purpose, innovative thinking, and integrated, multi-disciplinary approach.

Registration opens in early November 2023 and closes in January 2024.


Impact Courses You Won’t Want to Miss in Winter 2024

Below is our special listing of highlighted impact courses being offered in Winter 2024.  For a complete listing of all impact courses available to students in Winter 2024, please look at our Impact Gateway Course listing, where you will find over 500 impact courses!



+Impact Studio Course (BA 670)

Professors: Cat Johnson, Jerry Davis |  Credits: 3
Winter 2024

The +Impact Studio graduate course BA670 prepares students to be architects of an equitable, just, and sustainable future. In Winter ’24, this award-winning course will focus on the green energy transition.  We will be engaging with neighborhood partners in Detroit to design equitable and feasible business models for innovative green energy models that support communities. The course is 3 credits, and will be offered to all graduate students on Wednesday mornings during Winter semester.  This course received an Aspen Business & Society Ideas Worth Teaching Award in recognition of its expansive purpose, innovative thinking, and integrated, multi-disciplinary approach.


LBLE – Living Business Leadership Experience (BA 655)

Professor: Mike Barger  |  Credits: 3
Winter 2024


LBLE – Living Business Leadership Experience (BA 455)

Professor: Mike Barger  |  Credits: 3
Winter 2024

Living Business Leadership Experience (LBLE) is a 3.0 credit-hour Ross elective course where graduate and upper-level undergraduate students from across the University collaborate to shape, implement, and lead high-impact business initiatives alongside company founders and senior leaders. Whether you’re interested in learning business by doing business, working in a cross-functional team, or navigating complex and ambiguous business environments, this course will give you the chance to develop your leadership skills and dive headfirst into the challenges of business.

Learn How to Join. To learn more about upcoming Winter 2024 enrollment, email rossactionlearning@umich.edu.


Social and Environmental Responsibility and Marketing (MKT 470)

Professor: Burcu Tasoluk
Credits: 3 | Winter 2024

This course will cover interactions between society and marketing and marketing’s role and responsibility (in both environmental and social issues) in society. We will take a triple bottom line (People, Planet, Profit) perspective when evaluating these interactions. As such, the impact of social and environmental concerns on marketing actions, consumer behavior and company performance will be discussed in detail. Diverse perspectives from business ethics, strategy, economics, psychology, and sociology will help students adopt different lenses while analyzing a complex array of contemporary marketing issues. We will be using case studies throughout the course and students will have the opportunity to work collaboratively with peers and to discuss a broad set of interesting topics. Course topics will include Social Sustainability, Environmental Sustainability, Consumer Attitudes toward Sustainable Marketing, Social Influences on Responsible Consumer Behavior, Corporate Social & Environmental Initiatives, Marketing & AI, Brand Activism, and Brand Purpose.


InterMission – An Action-Learning Expedition (MO 330)

Professor: Kevin Thompson
Credits: 3 | Winter 2024

InterMission is a self leadership course for students adrift in a sea of expectations who are exceptional at fulfilling goals set by others but find themselves too busy to reflect on whether they are the right thing to do.  The course includes a one-week wilderness expedition in Utah’s Canyonlands with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). The wilderness expedition is strenuous and has an incremental cost.  InterMission has 10 classroom sessions of 90 minutes each and 7 intensive days on the wilderness expedition, which runs at the conclusion of winter term before summer internships. The classroom sessions will utilize and apply three rigorous, science-based frameworks developed at Harvard Business School, Virginia’s Darden School and Michigan’s Ross School.

View the syllabus



Sustainable Operations and Supply Chain Management (TO 560)

Professor: Ravi Anupindi
Credits: 2.25 | Winter 2024(A)

Firms today face increasing pressure from activists, investors, and customers, to reduce the environmental impacts of their operations and supply chains as well as uphold basic human rights and labor standards for the people who produce the materials / components / products.  How is responsibility (for ensuring sustainability) apportioned across the extended value chain that includes the end consumers? This course examines how to design and manage environmentally and socially responsible operations and supply chains. This course is actually 2.25 credit hours, although it may be listed as 1.5.


Systems Thinking for Sustainable Development and Enterprise (STRAT 566)

Professor: TBA
Credits: 3 | Winter 2024

Challenges to a sustainable human future such as climate change, population growth, biodiversity loss and persistent poverty are characterized by extraordinary detail and dynamic complexity. This course fosters the skills of systems thinking and systems dynamics modeling necessary for understanding global environmental and social change. This holistic and dynamic understanding is employed to chart pathways for sustainable human development and business.



Human Trafficking Lab (Problem Solving Initiative),
(LAW 741.001)

Professors: Elizabeth Campbell (Law), Courtney Petersen (Law), Chavi Nana (Law)
Credits: 3 | Winter 2024

The Human Trafficking Lab is a social justice innovation space where multidisciplinary student teams use design thinking to research, incubate, and build replicable, scalable, and disruptive solutions to reduce vulnerability to trafficking.

The Lab takes an expansive approach to addressing vulnerability. As such, projects cover a wide range of topics, and they vary each semester. Some examples of topics might be helping job seekers expunge their criminal records when they apply for a job, combating misinformation in anti-trafficking narratives, and addressing forced labor in supply chains. Geared towards creating systems level change at policy, service, and industry levels through collaborative partnerships across the nonprofit, corporate, and governmental sectors.


Roadmap to Clean and Equitable Power in Michigan (Problem Solving Initiative), (LAW 741.002)

Professors: Andrew Buchsbaum (Law), Mike Shriberg (SEAS)
Credits: 3 | Winter 2024

Extreme heat. Severe storms. These climate change impacts are accelerating a spiraling crisis: driving higher power demand while degrading reliability and increasing costs, especially for underserved communities. At our current tipping point moment, this multidisciplinary problem-solving course will analyze alternatives to investor-owned electric utilities in Michigan, creating a roadmap to solutions ranging from adjusting incentives to a full public takeover. Students from across campus will apply to partner with climate and energy justice advocates to publish and present their findings.



Socially Engaged Engineering & Design (SEED) Capstone (ENG 490.33530)

Professors: Charlie Michaels, Erin Moore
Credits: 3 | Winter 2024

The Center for Socially Engaged Design (C-SED) is excited to announce the new Socially Engaged Engineering & Design (SEED) Capstone course for the 2024 Winter semester. This 3-credit, elective course will provide students the opportunity to explore complex challenges, engage with real stakeholders, and design people-first solutions.

In the course, you will engage with stakeholders, perform primary and secondary research on contextual factors, learn and practice interviewing skills, present a solution idea and summary of your process and possibly continue your work in a funded Summer Fellowship program! How does it work? The SEED class will be hosted in a hybrid format, is group-project-based and requires significant independent teamwork outside of course hours. You will work on a team in this course. Project topics will be provided; there will also be an opportunity to propose your own team-based project as part of this course. 

Are you interested in joining the SEED Capstone course? To get course registration notifications and more information, please complete this brief interest form.

+Tech Literacy Download: AgTech as Climate Solution

AgTech as climate solution flyer

AgTech as climate solution flyerElevate your impact on the environment with the power of AgTech! Discover the critical role of agricultural technology (AgTech) in combatting global greenhouse gas emissions. Join the Food, Beverage, and Agriculture Club for an exhilarating discussion that delves into how AI breakthroughs and precision data collection are driving a sustainable farming revolution.

Unveil the potential of AgTech to not only curb emissions but also enhance yields and profitability for farmers. Explore the transformative pathway toward a greener future and witness how advanced technology can shape the landscape of agriculture. Be part of this essential conversation that sparks change and accelerates the adoption of AgTech across industries.


– Meredith Reisfield (M.A. Natural Resources & Environment), Director of Sustainability Policy & Strategic Partnerships

– Jack Roswell, Co-Founder & CEO of Perennial (2023 Forbes 30 under 30)


Sixth Annual Business+Impact Showcase Highlights UM Impact Organizations

Ann Arbor, September 7, 2023 – Part of Business+Impact’s mission is to make students aware of all the impact opportunities across the University of Michigan campus, so B+I welcomed incoming and returning students to its sixth annual Business+Impact Showcase on Thurs, Sept. 7 from 11 am – 1 pm at Michigan Ross’ Tauber Colloquium. New and returning students from across campus had the opportunity to meet with 34 exhibiting organizations from U-M in areas of interest like social justice, diversity,  sustainability, social entrepreneurship, and economic development.

Students visited booths for student clubs, Ross centers, and U-M-wide initiatives. A complete list of exhibitors appears at the end of this article. Ross’ new dean Sharon Matusik attended the event, and B+I Faculty Director, Jerry Davis was on hand as emcee for a series of “Impact Trivia” giveaways.

The event also promoted the Impact Gateway (http://rossimpact.com), basically the online version of this event, available 24-7 throughout the school year.  This gateway lists clubs, colleagues, current events, courses,  and more for all student changemakers across the University of Michigan.

At the event, attendees enjoyed brunch and lunch finger foods and mocktails, and made mission-focused buttons, among other things.

The Business+Impact initiative hosts this event annually in order to provide new students with a roadmap for work in sustainability, social issues, poverty, economic development, human rights, and other important causes. Michigan Ross, as the home of the Erb Institute, the Center for Positive Organizations and the William Davidson Institute,  among others, opens it’s doors to students across campus and shows that business can be a force for good in the world. Business+Impact institutionalizes this goal with research, practicum and partnerships.

Exhibitor List (click tiles for more info)

The +Impact Studio at the Ross School of Business is a campus hub for impact creators and innovators. Launched within the Business+Impact Initiative in 2019, our mission is to bring impactful ideas to life using business knowledge, design tools, and research expertise. The +Impact Studio encompasses a collaboration space, an interdisciplinary graduate course, a design lab for impact-focused ventures and projects, and workshops and events. Our model activates the vast expertise and research insights from across campus to support the development and launch of powerful, impactful concepts.

180 Degrees Consulting is the world’s largest consultancy focusing on social enterprises, nonprofits, and international focused Fortune 500 companies. We provide organizations around the world with high quality and affordable consulting services. 180DC works with organizations to develop innovative, practical, and sustainable solutions for the challenges they face.

At the 180DC Michigan branch, we are driven by a passion to help these organizations solve unique challenges so they can make the greatest social impact in their respective communities. Our members share a common goal of taking part in consulting work that is not only challenging, but meaningful and rewarding. Finally, more than a student organization, we are a family that spends time together through a variety of social events throughout the year.

We accept applicants at the beginning of both Fall and Winter semesters. To learn more about joining, please visit our website!

Michigan Ross seeks to build a better world through business. Business+Impact is the central hub for these efforts, providing ideas and solutions to address the global challenges of our generation. We aim to embed impact deeply into every core activity of Ross, including teaching, research, and outreach. As such, impact is not a silo, but an integral part of the DNA of our business school. 

Ross already has a strong reputation for impact, with centers and institutes focused on worldwide challenges, and one fifth of incoming students expressing an interest in impact careers. But as we go forward, in addition to our existing programs and Impact Gateway, we will pursue the creation of a new +Impact Studio for coworking, a social innovation series to disseminate impact research, and deeper engagement with Detroit.

Business+Tech is building a stronger and more connected tech community at U-M and beyond. We generate innovative context to expand tech literacy and curate action-based learning opportunities to advance tech competency. Open to students from all schools/colleges, our programs incorporate competitions, panels, speakers, and networking events that support those looking to pivot into tech or start a career at a tech company. Interested in learning more? Email Emilee Studley, Business+Tech Program Manager at studleem@umich.edu.

The Center for Positive Organizations is the leading global center for the science of designing and sustaining thriving organizations. Located in the Ross School of Business, we are the launchpad for those looking to build thriving organizations and careers. We offer world-class curriculum, learning experiences, and programs that lead to work filled with meaning and positive contributions. Our students gain the knowledge, tools, and resources to change the business world for the better. We are a Center of visionaries and revolutionaries.

 To learn more about our student programs, visit the Students section on our website by selecting “Students” from the “Learn” dropdown menu.

We are the UM student chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby. CCL is a nonprofit, grassroots-focused international organization. Its mission is to create the political will to pass climate policies, such as the Carbon Fee and Dividend, which we see as the best first-step to solving climate change. (Read more about the national organization and its policy proposals here.)

The goal of our student chapter is to create the political will on campus for climate change solutions. We accomplish this through grassroots outreach, education, partnerships, media, and lobbying. Our approach to advocacy centers around nonpartisanship, respect, and pragmatism. 

Ultimately, we use these advocacy efforts to build positive relationships with our elected officials so that we can move the needle on climate action at all governmental levels.

As a member of this student group, you can be part of the solution to climate change while gaining experience as a politically active citizen. 

Find more resources and sign up for our mailing list here.

The Community Case Competition (formerly known as the Community Consulting Club) is one of the Ross School of Business’s most unique and popular student clubs. 

Each year, CCC oversees 5 to 10 consulting projects involving UM students to utilize their business acumen to help local social enterprises and non-profit organizations address challenges such as strategic planning, marketing, operations, financial management, and human resources.

Teams of- 4-6 students from different backgrounds will work through a 10-week engagement for their nonprofit partner. Students will gain invaluable experience working together to understand the client’s problem, define the scope of the project, conduct research and analysis, and generate valuable recommendations while local non-profits receive expert business advice that they otherwise would be unable to afford.

The CCC provides a unique combination of training and education, practical consulting experience, and the opportunity to make an impact on the local community.

Club Benefits:

  • Participants have gone on to secure internships at McKinsey, Deloitte, Strategy&, and other consulting firms
  • Mentors from Deloitte and Strategy&
  • Team Leadership opportunities
  • Develop critical consulting skills in a safe environment ahead of consulting interviews
  • Celebratory Gala in early December 

Contact information: 

Slack channel: #ccc-2023

Email: communitycc@umich.edu

The Design + Business (D+B) Club is a Ross student organization focused on education, practical application, and career development in design thinking fields.  The mission of D+B is to provide a multidisciplinary community for graduate students interested in using design methodologies to lead organizations and facilitate innovation.

Launched by Ross School of Business MBA students in 2010, the Detroit Initiative at Ross connects University of Michigan students with Detroit’s vibrant and evolving business landscape. Through on- and off-campus events, an annual Impact Conference, student-run consulting projects, and a mentoring program, DIR promotes the city’s assets and encourages University of Michigan students to experience, engage with, and commit to the revitalization of the Motor City.

The Detroit Neighborhood Entrepreneurs Project is a university-wide program that connects neighborhood-based Detroit businesses with University of Michigan faculty-supervised student teams from 7 U-M schools to help students learn critical consulting skills while providing minority-owned businesses with free legal, financial, marketing, operational, design, and technology services. Through semester-long courses, an internship program, and year-round programs, we give students a chance to apply and grow their skills while supporting business owners’ visions for their communities. 

The Energy Club at Ross (ECR) is a group of University of Michigan students who share an interest in energy. ECR promotes career development by providing a forum for education about all aspects of business in the energy sector. ECR offers opportunities for students to discuss and learn about subjects such as Solar, Wind, Utilities, Energy Finance, Energy Consulting, Sustainability, Energy Efficiency, Energy Policy, Cleantech, Energy Storage, EV Charging Infrastructure, and Transmission within both traditional and renewable energy sectors. Members receive counseling on career paths, access to career treks, opportunities to participate in consulting projects and VC fellowships, access to energy talks and panels, and additional opportunities to meet with a variety of energy companies seeking to recruit top MBA, BBA, and other University of Michigan graduate students. Click here to join.

The Erb Institute is a partnership between the Ross School of Business and the School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS) at the University of Michigan. The institute’s mission is to create a socially and environmentally sustainable world through the power of business. We do that through research, teaching and business engagement—all focused on preparing and supporting bold business leaders who can adeptly transform companies, industries and entire economies for systemic sustainability.


The institute was founded 25 years ago as a dual-degree program in which graduate students receive their MBA from Ross and their MS from SEAS. In 2020, the institute expanded its educational programming to undergraduate students with the creation of the Erb Undergraduate Fellows program. Today, the institute has grown to include scholarly and applied research on business sustainability, as well as direct business engagement to turn ideas into action through on-the-ground projects with companies, social enterprises and nonprofits committed to business sustainability.

The Ginsberg Center is a community and civic engagement center with a mission to cultivate and steward equitable partnerships between communities and the University of Michigan in order to advance social change for the public good. Based upon this mission, our vision is for inclusive democracy; thriving, diverse communities; and equity and social justice.

Since 2006, the Graham Sustainability Institute has worked to mobilize the passion of scholars, partners, and decision-makers, bringing world-class research to real-world sustainability challenges. Today, with a focus on climate change and water resources, we continue to facilitate engaged research, develop sustainability leaders, and inform policy and practice. Our emphasis on interdisciplinary, cross-sector partnerships leads to well-informed solutions that are practical, measurable, and widely applicable.

Graham’s Dow Distinguished Awards Competition provides student research funding of up to $30,000 over one calendar year for interdisciplinary graduate student teams to pursue applied solutions to sustainability challenges at the local, national, or global level.

The Graham Sustainability Scholars Program is a competitive sustainability leadership development program open to U-M undergraduates. Graham Scholars learn to incorporate sustainability into the campus, their lifestyle, their discipline, and the broader community through rich co-curricular experiences that include managing an interdisciplinary sustainability project with a local organization, honing leadership, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills, and completing a sustainability-focused summer field experience.

Graham will be accepting applications for both programs soon! Please contact ahaddad@umich.edu for details.

Socially Engaged Design is human(ity) centered – not just user centered.   We consider broad contexts through an equity-centered lens that impact the practice of engineering, including social, cultural, political, economic, and environmental factors that can completely change the design of solutions.  Further, we push designers to analyze how their own identities and cultural context shape their approach. The Center for Socially Engaged Design provides students the necessary space and tools to think more critically about design. Whether you’re currently in a course, working solo, or on a co-curricular team — or you have an idea you’d like to explore, C-SED can help.

MESA strives to promote student development and empower the campus community around issues of diversity and social justice through the lens of race and ethnicity.

Fun: We hope to weave celebration, laughter, and joy into our environment.

Collective Community: We build relationships with and beyond our circles so that we can work collaboratively to positively impact our environment, wherever that may be.

Trust: We trust individual and collective narratives and experiences. Some narratives sit in complement and other in contrast. Each engagement is an opportunity to extend and preserve trust by actively listening and demonstrating empathy and compassion.

Integrity: We will be honest, authentic and transparent; our decisions, actions and words will match what and who we say we are.

Intersectionality: While race/ethnicity is our foundation, we recognize that identities coexist to create a multi-dimensional person.

Transformation: We believe social change starts with the individual. We are committed to creating experiences and spaces that grow knowledge and take us to our learning edge.

A club dedicated to ESG education, students have the ability to connect with professionals working in impact-related fields and those who use ESG metrics in their daily work. This club organizes a symposium which hosts these professionals at the Michigan campus to facilitate meaningful conversations regarding the role businesses can play in combating climate change and also progressing the use of ESG reporting.
Bio on maize pages: The Michigan Impact Investing Symposium provides Ross School of Business, School of Public Policy, Program in the Environment, and all other interested undergraduate students at the University of Michigan a space to learn about impact investing and the career opportunities that exist within it. For the past 2 years, we have put on a symposium featuring industry leaders to speak on panels, hold coffee chats, and provide other networking opportunities throughout the event. This year, in addition to the symposium, we aim to hold biweekly educational meetings to inform and empower our general members during the Fall 2023 semester.

Net Impact @ Ross is a professional club and community for Ross students committed to driving social change. We are part of a broader international network of business leaders committed to responsible business models, policies and practices. Net Impact members seek to integrate this commitment into the mission, values, strategy and operations of organizations in which they are involved.

Planet Blue represents U-M’s deep commitment to sustainability in education, research, and operations. Together, we are advancing a universitywide culture of sustainability.

optiMize is a student-led community that offers workshops, mentorship, and funding for students to work on projects that make a positive impact. optiMize is open to all U-M students, regardless of college or campus. Get involved at optimizemi.org!

Poverty SolutionsUniversity of Michigan Poverty Solutions logo. Image is of the University of Michigan big block letter M in yellow and the words Poverty Solutions below. is a university-wide presidential initiative at the University of Michigan that partners with communities and policymakers to find new ways to prevent and alleviate poverty through action-based research. In confronting the challenges of poverty, we know scholars don’t have all the answers. Yet we have an important role to play. We can bring data, evidence, and analysis to identify critical issues and evidence-based solutions. Working in partnership, we can inform concrete action that empowers families to live healthy and productive lives.

The Law School launched the Problem Solving Initiative (PSI) in Winter 2017.

What Kinds of Class Challenges do Students Work on?

  • PSI classes allow students to learn about topics like Sustainable Food Systems, Connected and Automated Vehicles, Human Trafficking, “Fake News,” Firearm Violence, New Music Business Models, and more 
  • PSI classes allow students to learn about and apply tools, such as problem reframing, practicing empathy, and prototyping, which they will continue to apply in other classes, collaborative efforts, and the workplace

Students in PSI classes:

  • Develop creative problem solving tools
  • Lend their expertise and skills to a multidisciplinary team
  • Learn human-centered design thinking skills
  • Conduct research on, and engage in, advancing solutions to real-world challenges
  • Collaborate with a range of U-M graduate and professional students and faculty experts

PSI classes:

  • Are open to all U-M graduate and professional students, fostering cross-campus collaboration
  • Combine substantive learning and hands-on skill development
  • Change every term, offering new challenges and teaching teams
  • Have been taught by Law School faculty and faculty partners from units that include Architecture and Urban Planning, Business, Economics, Engineering, History of Art, Information, Kinesiology, Nursing, the Medical School, Music, and Sociology

What is the format of PSI Classes? 

  • PSI classes are taught by two faculty members (one from Law; a second from another U-M unit)
  • Students participate in guiding their own experience, while collaborating alongside 1) students from other units, 2) faculty experts, 3) stakeholders, 4) guest speakers 
  • During class sessions:
    • students collaborate with team members 
    • faculty members lecture about the class challenge
    • guest speakers present information and address student questions
    • students report out about their findings
    • students apply problem-solving techniques and work on their capstone project

Who Should Take a PSI Class?

Students should consider taking a PSI class if they:

  • are interested in developing problem-solving skills
  • want to work with people from different disciplines
  • are motivated to tackle a pressing challenge facing the world 
  • want to learn about the causes, consequences, and potential solutions to a challenge from a variety of perspectives
  • want to acquire skills that they can apply in the real world

The Program in the Environment (PitE) offers both a broad liberal arts education in environmental topics and the opportunity for students to pursue various lines of individual interest in considerable depth.  Broadly speaking, PitE’s curriculum focuses on the complex interactions of human beings and their environment.  To understand these interactions and learn how to create more rational and equitable forms of human habitation on this planet, PitE students develop a multidisciplinary perspective integrating the methods and approaches of the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities.

School for Environment and SustainabilitySituated within the nation’s top public research university, the University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS) has been a pioneer in environmental education, research, and activism for more than a century.

SEAS offers the nation’s most integrated and comprehensive environmental education for graduate students.  Equity and justice are at the core of all that we teach, and all that we do, at SEAS. We recognize that mainstream environmentalism has its roots in racist ideologies and practices, which have caused irrevocable harm to Black, marginalized, Indigenous, and underrepresented peoples.  Taking a holistic approach, we foster partnerships, initiatives, and projects that tap into the vanguard expertise of faculty across campus. 

Project RISHI (Rural India Social & Health Improvement) is a nonprofit organization aiming to
promote the sustainable development and growth of rural Indian communities. We work with
Indian communities to identify and address pertinent issues impacting quality of life. Through
extensive field research (on the ground in India) and on-campus initiatives, we are able to
support our community partners. If you are interested in joining Project RISHI at the University
of Michigan, please find more information about our specific projects and application process on
our website. We’re excited to hear from you!

Propel’s mission is to educate students at the University of Michigan on the intersection between positive business and social impact; and to work alongside local organizations, developing initiatives to maximuze their impact.

The Career Development Office (CDO) at Michigan Ross is charged with delivering world-best career services to its students. CDO partners with recruiters, academic programs, alumni, and clubs to help Ross students prepare for recruiting, develop connections, and leverage the power of the Michigan alumni network. Dedicated CDO Career Coaches are available to support students explore careers with impact and help them navigate and strategize for the internship and job search.

The mission of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Michigan Ross is to create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive Ross community. We work to fulfill this mission through direct engagement with Ross faculty, staff and students and partnerships across the University of Michigan and beyond.

Launched in September 2009 by a group of MBA students, the SVF invests in and supports innovative companies that place social impact at the heart of their business model. SVF fosters the growth of enterprises responding to societal needs that traditional markets have insufficiently addressed. As the first student-run social venture fund in the country, SVF provides an unparalleled action-based learning experience, which places equal importance on maximizing financial returns and socially/environmentally-driven venture investing and entrepreneurship. The fund is housed within the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the Ross School of Business.

SVF invests in early-stage (Seed, Bridge, or Series A), for-profit enterprises within four circles: Climate, Community Development, Education, Health.

The Student Sustainability Coalition (SSC) promotes a sustainable campus culture at the University of Michigan by bringing people together to achieve social and environmental change. SSC is not a club or member organization—rather, we are a small group of students who work closely with the Graham Sustainability Institute, the Office of Campus Sustainability, Student Life, and the many student organizations across campus to advance sustainability. We are here to build connections, foster new partnerships, and amplify initiatives.

The Detroit Partnership seeks to connect the students at the University of Michigan with Detroit-based community partners by facilitating service-learning opportunities and on-campus events.  Beginning in 2018, The Detroit Partnership is now a student organization sponsored by the Ginsberg Center at the University of Michigan. Additionally, The Detroit Partnership is a government registered 501(c)(3) organization.

Our organization has two main service parts, our weekly programs and our major events. For weekly programs, we organize transportation for students to travel to Detroit once per week. Programs can range from tutoring children to teaching squash to helping adults get identification to apply to jobs! We have a program for everyone’s interests and aim to foster sustainable, educational relationships with our community partners. Our fall programs are now open!

For major events, we organize the largest single day of service at the University of Michigan. Detroit Partnership Day, also known as “DP Day,” occurs in late March or early April in second semester and brings hundreds of students and their respective clubs to Detroit to volunteer for a day. Additionally, we help put on “One Stop Shop” where we hold fundraisers to purchase toys and winter clothing for families in Detroit. While a member of the community shops, we help hold bags and guide them through the many sections of the store created inside of a Brightmoor church. Our internal planning team also participates in RCDC Day where we work on community revitalization projects such as weeding and gardening for one day.

The University of Michigan Detroit Center (UMDC) provides a visible symbol of our 200-year relationship with the City of Detroit. Conveniently located in the heart of the city’s cultural center on Woodward Avenue, the Center is a gateway for University and urban communities to mutually enrich each other through service, education, research, and cultural exchange.

The University of Michigan Solar Car Team is an entirely student-run organization that designs, builds, and races solar electric vehicles. Since its establishment in 1989, the team has built 17 vehicles, won the American Solar Challenge nine times, placed in the top three in the World Solar Challenge seven times, and won one international competition. The team is recognized as the most successful team in North America, and one of the most successful teams in the world. We accept all years and majors with no experience required, and have three non-engineering divisions where members can make an impact. The Business Division is responsible for fundraising, budgeting, and sourcing. They also work to develop and maintain sponsor relations with corporations around the world, large and small. The Operations Division works to ensure the team has the materials and resources required to build a cutting-edge electric vehicle. The Communications Division handles marketing, public relations, and produces media dedicated to generating interest in our team, solar racing, and renewable energy technologies.

At the William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan, unlocking the power of business to provide lasting economic and social prosperity in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) is in our DNA. We gather the data, develop new models, test concepts and collaborate with partners to find real solutions that lead to new opportunities. This is what we mean by Solving for Business—our calling since the Institute was first founded as an independent nonprofit educational organization in 1992. We believe societies that empower individuals with the tools and skills to excel in business, in turn generate both economic growth and social freedom—or the agency necessary for people to thrive.

The Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at Michigan Ross advances the knowledge and practice of entrepreneurship and innovation through academics, competitions, symposium, and global community outreach. The Zell Lurie Institute is the foremost resource for students as they pursue entrepreneurial endeavors and private equity careers.   

In Conversation with Shalanda Baker: Equity & Justice in the Energy Transition

Shalanda Baker Portrait

Shalanda Baker PortraitThe Honorable Shalanda H. Baker is the Director of the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity at the U.S. Department of Energy and Secretarial Advisor on Equity. Prior to her Senate confirmation, she served as the nation’s first-ever Deputy Director for Energy Justice. Before joining the Biden-Harris Administration, she was a Professor of Law, Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University.

Moderated by Liesl Eichler Clark, U-M Director of Climate Action Engagement

This event is FREE event and open to the public. Although you may have a ticket, it does not guarantee you a seat. We will be seating ticket holders first and recommend you are in your seat 10 minutes before the start of the event. We will start to let in general public seating 10 minutes prior to the event.


HarvestFest 2023

Harvestfest 2023

Harvestfest 2023The University of Michigan Sustainable Food Program and the Campus Farm invite you to the HarvestFest 2023 on Sunday, Sept 24 from 1-4pm. This celebration of all things sustainable food at U-M is located at the UM Campus Farm and Matthaei Botanical Gardens (1800 N Dixboro Rd). Join us for games, music, food, farm tours, and connections to many organizations on campus and in our local community working to make our food system more just and resilient.

This event is FREE and open to the community so bring your friends and family.

Free bus transportation will run every 20 minutes from the Central Campus Transit Center to Matthaei Botanical Gardens / U-M Campus Farm and back again.