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A nice, warm cup of sustainabilitea

When a business professor instituted an "environmental rule" in his undergraduate class on sustainability, one of his students took it a step further
February 15, 2011
By Russ Cooper

When John Molson School of Business professor Raymond Paquin instituted an “environmental rule” charging students $2 for each disposable coffee cup or water bottle brought to his MANA 369 class, student David Riven took it one step further.

“As a joke, I asked Professor Paquin if I could sell mugs,” says Riven, who took this course on business and environment as an elective.

Joke or not, that’s exactly what he did. Riven ordered 25 mugs to sell to classmates for $10, each with the decal, “I saved $2.00 and the planet in Paquin’s class. I am an open-toed sandal person.”

“The ‘open-toed sandal person’ quote comes from something I talk about on day one of the class,” says Paquin. “That is, the people who get environmental things done are often not activists but those willing to work inside business and create change there.”

Riven admits including the quote is a bit cheeky. Paquin, who comes from Virginia, often wears sandals around the Molson Building after changing out of winter boots as a way to remind himself that the winter will eventually pass.

“Though perhaps intended as a joke, David’s deed has spurred on new discussions which may influence changes for others,” says Paquin. “From that perspective, I wish I had thought of it.”

Proceeds from mug sales will go to the David Suzuki Foundation.

Related links:
•  “Class Action: JMSB class making sustainability a valuable commodity” – Journal, February 12, 2009
•   David Suzuki Foundation

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