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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Last modified: Thursday, October 21, 2010

Socially responsible nonprofit Net Impact says IU Kelley School's chapter is golden

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Oct. 21, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Net Impact, an international nonprofit organization of students and professionals that uses business to create a more socially and environmentally sustainable world, has selected the Indiana University Kelley School of Business' undergraduate Net Impact chapter as a Gold chapter.

This Gold level designation is bestowed only on Net Impact's top student chapters, and the chapter at the Kelley School's undergraduate program was just one of three such chapters at that level, joining Net Impact chapters at the University of California-Berkeley and the University of Texas.

Net Impact has more than 260 professional and student chapters, representing about 200 campuses and cities in 23 countries worldwide. The organization offers a portfolio of programs and initiatives to educate, equip and inspire more than 20,000 members to make a positive impact through business.

"Gold chapters are the most outstanding chapters in the Net Impact network, which includes 163 graduate student chapters, 48 undergraduate chapters and 56 professional chapters across the world," said Liz Maw, executive director of the San Francisco-based organization. "They play an integral role in helping Net Impact achieve our mission to inspire, educate, and equip individuals to use the power of business to create a more socially and environmentally sustainable world."

The Net Impact Kelley School chapter will be recognized at Net Impact's 2010 conference, "2020: Vision for a Sustainable Decade," Oct. 28-30 at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. It also will be featured in Net Impact's annual Business as Unusual: Student Guide to Graduate Business Programs.

The Kelley MBA program also has a Net Impact chapter. About two dozen students from both student chapters will be participating at the Net Impact conference.

"The Net Impact group at Kelley is a productive group of student leaders, who are coached by faculty member Steven Kreft, who truly cares about advancing the ideals of corporate social and environmental responsibility," said Kelley School Dean Dan Smith. "We know our school and campus are impacted by the projects they take on and the inspiration they provide to others."

Alexis Suskin-Sperry, a senior from Ithaca, N.Y., said she helped co-found the undergraduate chapter three years ago "because we believed the connection with the global network of like-minded business students and professionals would help us leverage the club and make it more valuable for students and for our campus.

"That connection has been one of the highlights for me," added Suskin-Sperry, a past co-president who is double majoring business economics and public policy and international business. "Net Impact has never ceased to amaze me in showing me the most innovative and powerful ways individuals and companies are using business to do good and make a difference in the world."

"I was drawn to Net Impact because I am very interested in the way business, the environment, and our communities are intertwined," said Lauren Newkirk, co-president of the undergraduate chapter and a senior from Indianapolis. "Oftentimes, I see social responsibility and environmental stewardship set on the back burner as companies focus on increasing profits. I believe our generation is the first to try to resolve this issue on a large scale and reprioritize business goals.

"We are starting to realize that our personal quality of life is deeply connected with the quality of our environment and our communities, and Net Impact focuses on this," the marketing major added. "We discuss how we can use business to implement solutions to environmental issues, and how we can encourage others to follow our lead."

The undergraduate chapter today has about 40 student members. It recently organized its first local Net Impact case competition, which focused on implementing sustainable solutions for Bloomington Brewery Co. It works with local businesses to consult on what sustainable practices they already have in place and what areas they can be assisted with.

Nirupam Khanna, a member of the Kelley MBA Net Impact chapter, worked this summer for Alcatel-Lucent as part of a Net Impact/Environmental Defense Fund fellowship. The purpose of the EDF project was to search out energy savings at 47 of America's top companies. Overall, the EDF Climate Corps fellows uncovered energy efficiency opportunities that represent net operating savings of more than $350 million and more than 400,000 metric tons of annual greenhouse gas emissions. He was the first Kelley student to be a fellow.

Spanning six continents, Net Impact's membership is one of the most influential networks of students and professionals in existence today and includes current and emerging leaders in corporate social responsibility, social entrepreneurship, nonprofit management, international development, and environmental sustainability. Learn more at

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