2017: Impacting Behavior

The Sustainability Management Student Association (SUMASA) is proud to present the 6th Annual Sustainable Perspective Symposium…

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Over 150 members of the Columbia and Greater NYC Sustainability communities came together at the Sustainability Management Student Association’s 6th annual Sustainable Perspective Symposium to hear speakers from diverse professional backgrounds discuss this year’s topic: Impacting Behavior for a Sustainable Society. In addition, over 500 virtual attendees viewed the live streaming of Impacting Behavior’s four sessions online and followed the conversations on social media through #SUMAspeaks17.

Attendees walked away with important takeaways around sustainability and behavior, including:

  • Workshop | Managing for Behavior Change: Behavior does not always match attitude, as sustainable attitudes vs. sustainable product market share demonstrates. While we can’t always change someone’s attitude, we can support their change, using a systematic project design and implementation approach.
  • Panel | Conscious Consumerism: Targeted campaigns can change behavior, but consumers are both voting with their dollar and trusting organizations to make the right decisions as well. Change isn’t something that happens instantly but if we work at it, it becomes embedded in society. 30 years ago, using seatbelts was a significant social challenge, but now, none of us would even consider getting into a car without one.
  • Panel | Policy Influences on Corporate Sustainability: While the pathway to a low carbon economy is slow, it is progressing. However, water is the next big crisis. Research and understanding global water resources are current and critical steps to moving forward. Additionally, state and local government is more important than ever right now.
  • Keynote | Erin Schrode: As an environmentalist, it is likely that you will meet powerful opposition, however, that is how we learn. Getting involved in politics is an impactful tool and a great stage for communicating messages that you believe in. Now is not the time to be afraid of failure.

A huge thank you goes out to our amazing speakers and our fantastic Sustainability Management Program student volunteers.

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Symposium Documents


  • ERIN SCHRODE, Citizen Activist, Social Entrepreneur, and Founder of Turning Green
  • STEVE COHEN, Executive Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University
  • YURIJ PAWLUK, Chief of Staff, Columbia University School of Professional Studies
  • ANTON LJUNGGREN, Director of Industrial Design, Biolite
    YARA NAGI, Director of Operations, Blue Planet Consulting
    JACQUELYN OTTMAN, Founder and Principal, J. Ottman Consulting, Inc.
    DAN SACCARDI, Director, Corporate Program, Ceres, Inc.
    ERIN SHERMAN, Senior Associate, ideas42
    MARY O’MALLEY, Vice President, Corporate Governance, Prudential Financial
  • CAMERON BARD, Director of Market Development, 1776
  • LEE BALLIN, Head of Sustainable Business Programs, Bloomberg
  • JUAN ELIAS CHEBLY, PH.D., Lead Adviser, United Nations Environment Programme
  • PROJJAL DUTTA, Director, Sustainability Initiatives, New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority
  • ELODIE TIMMERMANS, Senior Manager, Climate Change and Sustainability Services, EY
  • BRIDGET REALMUTO LAPERLA, Senior Research Associate, Domini Impact Investments

2016-2017 SUMASA Board:

  • CHERYL POCCIA, President
  • HILARY OSBORN, Vice President of Events
  • AMANDA STEVENS, Co-Vice President of Communications
  • MICHAEL JORISCH,  Co-Vice President of Communications
  • MODOU CHAM, Vice President of Community Outreach
  • LETICIA NEVES, Vice President of Academic Affairs
  • LINDSAY FERZOCO, Vice President of Finance and Administration


  • Cristina Bustillo
  • Marcela Diaz
  • Jocelyn Gan
  • Briana Garcia
  • Angie Goengoga
  • Avantika Goswami
  • Ekaterina Gradovich
  • Susanne Klatt
  • Kamyar Moud
  • Adriana Newumann-Redin
  • Pavan Ryali
  • Amit Paul
  • Julia Quiroga
  • Ava Song
  • Riya Suthar
  • Mike Tuckfelt


Western society’s current consumption habits outpace our planet’s ability to regenerate essential resources. Achieving a more sustainable society demands changes in individual and collective human behavior. This year’s Sustainable Perspective Symposium, Impacting Behavior for a Sustainable Society, dives into the role of sustainability professionals in supporting this shift with examples of their experiences, and the solutions they are pursuing.

Join SUMASA, the student association for Columbia’s Sustainability Management (SUMA) program, as we discuss how both consumer and corporate behavior can be addressed to support a more sustainable society. Our expert panels and featured presentations with industry leaders and policy makers will provide a dynamic forum for solutions-based discussions and actions.


  • Dig into the ins and outs of designing and managing a program to facilitate behavior change with the student-led workshop, Managing for Behavior Change.
  • Hear from corporate leaders on how companies are successfully affecting consumer behavior at the Conscious Consumerism panel.
  • Learn from policy-makers on how their roles can encourage corporate behavior and transparency in the absence of mandatory requirements at the Policy Influences on Corporate Responsibility panel.
  • Discover how sustainability professionals can and will shift society with our closing Keynote Speaker.
  • A unique opportunity to continue the behavior conversation with our accomplished panelists and diverse participants during the post-event reception.