Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 73.93
Liaison Jim Dees
Submission Date April 19, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Appalachian State University
IN-26: Innovation C

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Jim Dees
Data and Assessment Specialist
Office of Sustailability
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Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
The Impact Clinic at Appalachian State University

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:

The clinic brings together teams of 3-4 students and industry representatives to assess the impact of existing sustainability initiatives and/or to implement sustainable business practices in the organization.

Businesses that apply to participate in the clinic are those that either aspire to become Certified B-Corporations or realize the benefit of assessing environmental and societal impacts to better balance purpose and profit. To-date, ten businesses participate in the clinic, and businesses that are showing progress according to student-faculty assessment are encouraged to continue their progress through the clinic. The clinic is ongoing throughout fall and spring semesters utilizing two sustainable business courses -- one interdisciplinary undergraduate section and an MBA course.

The teams utilize a B impact assessment tool to evaluate how the business’ operations impact stakeholders, including owner/investors, consumers, workers, the local community, and the natural environment. The benefits are twofold: Students continue to promote and help industry reach sustainability goals, and both students and the greater university develop fruitful relationships with employers.

Businesses, in turn, utilize the information gathered to improve their triple bottom line. The benefits to a company that aspires to become a “business for good” are numerous: increasing share of socially-conscious customer base, greater opportunity for attracting employees and investors aligned with values, and managing risks associated with more responsible sourcing in supply chains. At the conclusion of each semester, many businesses opt to continue working with the clinic and set new goals aligned with their desired outcomes.
The Impact Clinic is providing experiential learning to students; promoting more sustainable practices among businesses; and offering an opportunity for academic engagement with community. Similarly, this creates increased opportunity for raising sustainable funding for similar applied learning initiatives aligned with broader University strategic plan goals.

The primary societal benefit of the Impact Clinic is sustainable development in the community through the growth of business practices that create more positive and responsible environmental, social and economic impacts. For businesses, the clinic results in the identification of needs and risks in the corporation on which to focus efforts.
Students who participate in the clinic, and on projects fostered by it, gain experience in working in a multidisciplinary, service-learning environment, which develops professional skills needed to be effective change-makers after graduation. Students not only further their knowledge of sustainable practices, but also apply classroom learning to real world issues. Often student participants earn internship opportunities or careers with the business upon graduation.
Additionally, the Impact Clinic provides faculty members in the Walker College of Business the opportunity to conduct research using data gathered about participating businesses. Further, pedagogical data from the student participants is being using to conduct research related to the clinic.
Looking forward, the clinic is primed to partner with other North Carolina universities. For example, Impact Clinic leaders are planning to leverage relationships with faculty members at sister institution UNC Asheville and utilize key partnerships with Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College leadership to create strategic growth in the clinic.

Which of the following impact areas does the innovation most closely relate to? (select up to three):
Public Engagement
Coordination & Planning
Investment & Finance

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.