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UW College of Business Students Plan Sustainability Project Abroad

May 20, 2015
group of people posing on a stairway
UW College of Business students are conducting research this week on sustainability practices. From left, top row, are Victoria Ellison, Ricky Tabuchi and John Lee. Middle row, Caitlin Rams, Mikaela Shaw and Victoria Whealdon. Bottom row, Summer Cepeda, Katie Wagaman and Alyssa Hagstrom. (UW Photo)

The spring semester at the University of Wyoming may have ended, but nine UW College of Business students will extend their studies when they conduct some fascinating market research this week in Malaysia, Scotland, Portugal, Spain and Jacksonville, Fla.

Kelly Tian, director of the Sustainable Business Practices (SBP) Initiative, and Stacy Baker, Department of Management and Marketing professor, both in the College of Business, are co-advisers on the project.

The two professors are seeking ways to support undergraduate students in their efforts to learn more about sustainability through the SBP initiative and to train the students in marketing research.

Students on the project are: Summer Cepeda, marketing, Cheyenne; Victoria Ellison, marketing, Loveland, Colo.; Alyssa Hagstrom, marketing, Evanston; John Lee, marketing, Dubois; Caitlin Rams, political science with minors in international business and interdisciplinary pre-law, Casper; Mikaela Shaw, marketing, Great Falls, Mont.; Ricky Tabuchi, marketing, Rock Springs; Katie Wagaman, marketing, Sundance; and Victoria Whealdon, marketing, Littleton, Colo.

Rams first proposed the concept of a study abroad experience to Tian, which developed into an auto-ethnography -- researching through personal experience. The focus of the student trip will be on mass crowd events, particularly how inclusive travel can or cannot be for consumers on their way to various destinations, Tian and Baker say. They hope to continue the program every year, focusing on different marketing research elements.

This semester, each student researched a particular country for his or her trip and a specific mass crowd event he or she wanted to witness. Each mass crowd event is an educational event related to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).

Students will conduct research in five different groups: Ellison and Wagaman will travel to Jacksonville; Tabuchi, Hagstrom and Lee will be in Spain; Cepeda is going to Scotland; Rams is in Malaysia; and Whealdon and Shaw will travel to both Portugal and Spain.

“One of our goals, for when the students return, will be to discuss the different viewpoints the students capture, and to offer research insight into what it would be like to launch new sustainable technology initiatives at these mass crowd events,” Tian says. “We hope to use this type of crowd-sourcing approach to develop a large data system. We are working on ways to use the videos to create augmented-reality simulations of the events with 3-D technology.”

Students will have GoPro cameras to record events. When they return, they will write personal accounts from their research trip through the College of Business blog at Students also will upload videos to YouTube, and will share photographs through Facebook and Twitter.

FedEx Printing, UW Copy & Print Center, Modern Printing, the Scrap Tree and Staples have provided marketing materials for the project.

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