Student Team Consults with Sustainability Startup

January 22, 2013

The Three-College Wintersession Program wrapped up last week, with the student team, BOW Solutions, presenting its work to faculty and staff from the three colleges and to Practically Green, a Boston-based sustainability startup that partnered with the Wintersession program this year.

Practically Green is a young, dynamic company that works with different communities to engage members in practical sustainable living through innovative, fun social networking. BOW Solutions comprised students from Babson, Wellesley, and Olin colleges who worked together as a team of advisors using their diverse set of skills and perspectives to help Practically Green develop its presence on college campuses.

Student Participants

Students applied during the Fall semester and four were selected from each college to participate in the free program. A student coordinator from each school was also selected to manage the 2013 program from its inception to its culmination with the selection and training of coordinators for 2014. As a group, the coordinators are expected to choose a client, participate in training, choose participants for the program, lead the program, handle logistics, spread awareness of the program, choose the next coordinators, and train them so they can continue the program the following year. Wellesley College covers the coordinators’ $500 stipend.

The 2013 BOW Solutions team included:

  • Jessica Bethune, Olin
  • Benjamin Cardarelli, Babson
  • Andrea Cuadra, coordinator, Olin
  • R.A. Ely '13, coordinator, Wellesley
  • Catherine Guo, Wellesley
  • Evelyn Hunter, Olin
  • Victoria C Rines '15, Wellesley
  • Kseniya Stepanova, coordinator, Babson
  • Carla Thé '15, Wellesley
  • Philippe Topdjian, Babson
  • Vikki Tse '15, Wellesley
  • Gabrielle Waldman-Fried, Olin

(Unequal representation of schools was due to last-minute cancellation/substitution.)

A Diverse Experience

Students all lived in Babson dorms, and worked at Olin during the day. They captured some of the spirit of their intensive two-week project in a group blog. More than once, the diversity of viewpoints was noted with appreciation. As one student wrote after a week into the program:

Just Monday, we were learning everyone’s names… By now, we have already settled into a routine, gotten used to the day-to-day, and learned what makes each of us special and unique contributors to the team. I just wanted to list some of my favorite parts of the program so far: 

  • The diversity of approaches to the problems that come up. The difference in the engineering, business, and liberal arts ways thinking often times becomes very clear and it is so powerful. 
  • That we have been a super hands-on group. Running a focus group, conducting interviews, sending out surveys, mocking-up pages and conducting users tests, and company visits are just several examples of our daily activities. 
  • Having breakfast in Ely’s suite. Each day, between 8:00 and 9:00 a.m. we walk into Ely’s kitchen, choose what we want to eat from a selection of breakfast foods, and casually gather around a table to eat and chat.
  • Spending so much time together. Being with students from different colleges not only for work but for meals and fun activities really helps me understand the different cultures and styles. 
  • Exercising! Runs, biking, contra dancing, gym, and yoga have all been options.
  • Most importantly, our team. Every single person is so willing to help out, is super high-energy and ready to tackle a new problem, open-minded, and just amazing to work with.