Eleven years ago, CESR Fellows was born at the Leeds School of Business with a mission to drive positive social and environmental impact across campus as a community of passionate changemakers and emerging leaders. From their weekly meetings of inspiration to their experiential and educational programming, they have continued to live out the purpose of connecting students with the resources that enable them to translate action into reality. The club is affiliated with Net Impact, and with the Center for Ethics and Social Responsibilty (CESR) at Leeds.
This year, CESR Fellows has pivoted to become more action-oriented through new initiatives, interests, and opportunities. It has always been a great place to cultivate community, but it has turned activist with a renewed focus on taking action. A couple of projects in the works include a program to increase diversity in the outdoors in collaboration with the Outdoor Club, an MBA student club, and doing an assessment of waste and environmental sustainability on campus. I recently connected with CESR Fellows executive board members: Renner Skidmore (BS'25), Lola Lichtenstein (BS'25), and Leda Sugnet (BS'25) to talk about the Club's priorities for the year, and where they see the Club going in the future.
Read my interview with Renner, Lola and Leda below.
CESR Fellows drives action across campus on environmental and social issues. What two or three actions are being taken by the club this year to transform certain goals into initiatives?
Renner - We have been trying to buy food more sustainably and give a platform to a variety of different initiatives, events, and organizations that reflect CESR values around campus, within the business school, and in our surrounding community.
Leda - One of our biggest goals for this semester was to grow the club through recruiting more members. We’ve accomplished this through organizing and marketing exciting events such as guest speakers like Mick Freeman, CEO of B-corp, Boone Supply, and Michael Leeds. Another action our club has focused on is revamping Ralphie’s Closet to provide affordable access to business professional clothing for students and community members.
Lola - One goal CESR Fellows has is to educate more people on the sustainability industries within the business school. We took action on this by creating a meeting with stations representing different industries that students visited to learn more, and then playing a trivia game about what everyone learned.
What does being a member of CESR mean to you?
Renner - Being a member of CESR Fellows means I care: I care about doing the right thing, having a positive impact in and out of my community, and striving to lead others to take care of the world and each other with compassion.
Leda - Being a member of CESR Fellows allows me to explore how ethical leadership and sustainability can be incorporated in business. I am constantly learning about different initiatives around CU and how various companies implement ESG values.
Lola - I have always had a passion for the environment, and being in Leeds, I joined CESR Fellows because I love to see all the opportunities for sustainability in the business world. From being a member of CESR Fellows I’ve learned new ways of how business can cultivate environmental sustainability where it is usually ignored.
What are your hopes for CESR Fellows, 11 years from now?
Renner - I hope that CESR Fellows is a thriving community that has grown to be one of the most fun and informative social clubs in the business school. CESR Fellows drives action across campus on environmental and social issues.
Leda - I hope that in the next 11 years, CESR Fellows develops a larger presence in the community by implementing task-specific projects that drive change in Leeds and the greater Boulder community. In the past, a lot of these specific projects have been initiated and executed by the Carbon Neutrality Committee (CNC) which is why I hope our club can continue the CNC. A lot of our exposure to Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) considerations in business focuses on B-corps, or small companies dedicated to ESG or general ethical leadership, and I would love to see more exposure to how ESG values can be incorporated in industries and large corporations that do not traditionally emphasize CESR values.
Lola - My hope for CESR Fellows 11 years from now is a larger community of students who illustrate taking strong action on the issues our club focuses on. That being said, I hope CESR Fellows expands and reaches people that hold similar values, and not just business students. I hope more knowledge is spread on the danger of climate change and issues of diversity & equity in our society today, so that in 11 years from now CESR Fellows can help make a positive impact on not only the CU community, but the world.
CESR Fellows is a pillar of the CESR community. Watching it grow and flourish into a community is a beautiful thing. With every year that passes, this club becomes stronger and more driven. The students that make up this community truly exhibit kindness and purpose. The goals may shift and the path of this club may pivot, but the drive of the individuals will remain. It's easy to get involved.
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