NEARLY A WEEK after the Great October Snowstorm, thousands were still without power yesterday. Many blame the utilities for delays in restoring the juice, while the utilities argue that trees in full leaf caused unusually high damage.
The real problem, however, is the failure of the utilities to implement the maintenance and system upgrades that would have limited the damage in the first place. That failure includes insufficient preventive maintenance such as trimming branches and replacing old utility poles. It also includes failure to upgrade the grid to be more resilient so that local outages don’t cascade into massive failures like the great Northeast blackout of 2003.
It’s been over a year since we launched the Climate CoLab and held our first world-wide contest. Our goal was to create a site to harness the ideas and knowledge of thousands of people to find real solutions to climate change. Inspired by systems like Wikipedia and Linux, we wanted to collect the best collective intelligence to come up with proposals for what can be done about this problem.
MIT Sloan Career Development Director Jackie Wilbur
Sustainability is a hot topic these days, especially on business school campuses. At MIT Sloan, we’re seeing a strong and increasing interest among our MBA students in this area.
A recent survey of our incoming first-year MBA students showed that 15% of the class is interested in the social enterprise sector, including sustainable business, nonprofits and education. That is even higher than the year before.
To support these students – whose numbers are growing — we have many initiatives and programs in place such as the Sloan Sustainability Initiative, which offers courses like the MIT Sloan Sustainable Business Lab (S-Lab) where student teams work with organizations on specific sustainability projects. Through the Sustainability initiative, MBA students also can earn the MIT Sloan Sustainability Certificate. Building on the Institute’s tradition of interdisciplinary studies, the certificate combines core and elective courses in areas such as process improvement, organizational learning and adaptation, entrepreneurship and commercialization, and the dynamics of organizational and social change.
When I returned home to New York from this year’s MIT Energy Conference (MITEC), I was inspired, and, yes, energized. Colleagues and friends kept asking me all week what’s so great about “yet another” energy conference. Excellent question.
One thing that makes this conference so special is that it is completely run by MIT students, many of whom continue on as alumni to become future leaders in our industry. And because the MIT community holds together so well, and alumni keep coming back, the MITEC continues to get bigger and better every year. In only its sixth year, it has become a major event in our industry, selling out consistently. This year there were more than 1,000 attendees.