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Cornell University offers new sustainability course with hospitality industry focus

Written by editor


ITHACA, N.Y. – Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and the Johnson Graduate School of Management have joined forces with HEI Hotels & Resorts to create a course in which students will work with hospitality industry leaders to devise innovative and more cost-effective solutions to social and environmental issues.

This pioneering collaboration is being led by the Leland C. and Mary M. Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship at the Cornell Hotel School and by the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise at the Johnson School. Funding and strategic guidance is being provided by HEI Hotels & Resorts, a hotel investment and operating group led by brothers Gary Mendell and Steven Mendell.

“The hospitality industry must take the lead in confronting social and environmental issues such as global poverty, climate change, and ecosystem degradation,” says Thomas Ward, managing director of the Pillsbury Institute. “Through this partnership, we aim to help students fully appreciate the need for sustainable business practices. Through the generosity of the Mendells, we also will provide students with field-based experience that will further prepare them to address the challenges they will face in the workforce.”

Students will work directly with corporate leaders to seek solutions to an array of sustainability concerns. Certain projects will focus on the greening of current operations, others on the refurbishment of existing assets and properties, and still others on the formation of new businesses. Projects will range across all facets of the hospitality industry, including lodging, food & beverage, and travel, and will be sited in markets around the globe.

“We believe this course will benefit the students, sponsoring companies, and environment,” says Gary Mendell, who along with Steven is a graduate of the Cornell Hotel School. “Students will develop and refine their critical analysis and decision-making skills, while executives will gain new perspectives on what they might do to become innovative leaders in the sustainability movement. HEI is thrilled to partner with Cornell and its students on this tremendous initiative.”

The new course, entitled Sustainable Global Enterprise Practicum in the Hospitality Industry, began in mid-October and will continue through mid-March. It is taught by Dr. Mark Milstein, director of the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise and lecturer of Strategy, Innovation and Sustainable Global Enterprise at the Johnson School. Teams will conduct field work during the winter break.

Current enrollment includes 15 undergraduate upperclassmen and graduate students from the Hotel School, Johnson School, and Arts & Sciences.

For more information, please contact:

Bill Summers Deirdre Snyder
School of Hotel Administration Public Relations Officer
Cornell University Johnson Graduate School of Management
908-204-9994 Cornell University
[email protected] 607-255-3494
[email protected]