Conference takes care of business

Last week marked the start of a partnership, both business and friendship-related, between SVSU and the University of Delhi’s Shri Ram College of Commerce in India.

SVSU and Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC) jointly hosted a Global Business Sustainability Conference last week on SVSU’s campus.

The Valley Vanguard

Courtesy | University Communications

President Donald Bachand and P.C. Jain from University of Delhi’s Shri Ram College of Commerce water a commemorative tree that was planted Friday as part of the Global Business Sustainability Conference. The tree symbolizes the growing relationship between the universities, who shared business-related advice and stories.

The three-day event provided attendees with research and information about how to build and grow businesses globally.

SVSU and SRCC faculty and students, visitors from other universities from around the U.S. and industrial companies gave presentations on topics such as family business, social entrepreneurship, energy and environment sustainability. Some speakers presented research while others gave personal accounts of business endeavors.

Several sessions with different topics took place simultaneously, giving attendees, including the public, an opportunity to sit in on what interested them most.

Joseph Ofori-Dankwa, Harvey Randall Wickes Endowed Chair of International Business and co-host of the conference, said the event and its plethora of information gave students an opportunity to see the bigger picture in the realm of business.

“In this day where we have an increasingly global world, we want our students to experience what global really means, so this is a wonderful opportunity,” Ofor-Dankwa said.

P.C. Jain, principal of SRCC, which is equivalent to the position a dean holds, agreed with Ofor-Dankwa.

“This is an excellent platform for industry, academia, students and all (who) participated, and there is a possibility that this seminar can prepare (individuals) how to conduct business globally,“ Jain said.

Jain, along with seven faculty and 20 students came from SRCC, and it was the first experience traveling to the U.S. for many of them.

Each group also got a chance to experience the other’s culture. Tuesday night, authentic Indian food was served and there was live music and traditional dancing. Thursday evening, the Indian guests got a chance to explore Frankenmuth, dine at the Bavarian Inn and dance.

This is the first time SVSU’s college of business and management has hosted such an event, and its success was the result of collaboration of administration, faculty, students and local companies.

Ofori-Dankwa said Rama Yelkur, dean of the college of business and management, has had visions of collaborating with other universities in a business-like manner, and she spearheaded much of the coference.

Sponsors such as Consumer’s Energy, the Stevens Center for Family Business, ITC Holdings and Warner Norcross & Judd played a vital role in the conference’s success.

A tree planting ceremony took place in front of Curtiss Hall on Friday morning in honor of the new relationship between SVSU and SRCC.

President Donald Bachand and Jain watered the tree simultaneously with a brass container brought by the Indian guests that is used traditionally for watering purposes.

Dow Chemical President Bo Miller was the keynote speaker at the final lunch. He highlighted the company’s sustainability goals that have been reached and talked about plans to set new ones.

Miller said businesspeople must strive to take positive actions that will deliver solutions that help improve society.

“Having a serious committed focus on sustainability isn’t easy, but I think it is worthwhile,” Miller said. “Balancing financial, social and environmental needs is challenging.”

Deborah Huntley, provost and vice president of academic affairs, gave the closing remarks of the conference Friday. She said she was honored that the university had the opportunity to play a role in educating about the importance of business sustainability.

“I’m thrilled that we were able to host this conference on our campus to highlight our university’s commitment to these issues and partnerships that will ultimately lead to global and regional collaborations to solve some of the world’s most challenging problems.” Huntley said.

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