The University of Phoenix has a long-standing commitment to sustainability, evidenced in both its degree programs and its operations. The University offers students both undergraduate and graduate degree programs in Environmental Stewardship and Sustainable Enterprise Management, educating the leaders of tomorrow. And the University and its parent company, Apollo Group, focus a large amount of their corporate social responsibility efforts on environmental philanthropy.
Since 2010, one of University of Phoenix’s most prominent relationships is with Cleantech Open, serving as the organization’s National Education Partner.
“Cleantech Open identifies some of the nation’s most forward thinking sustainability entrepreneurs and provides them with the coaching and guidance they need to succeed,” says Pat Gottfried, vice president of corporate social responsibility for Apollo Group. “ We could not be more in alignment with their mission, and we are proud to support their efforts to launch these cleantech businesses.”
University of Phoenix’s efforts include providing financial as well as educational support throughout the Cleantech Open’s national accelerator program. University faculty members have worked with the Cleantech Open to develop the entrepreneurial curriculum available to accelerator participants. University experts and faculty members regularly donate their time and energy to helping participants launch their business, covering areas like marketing and public relations and running a sustainable business, and faculty members have participated as judges in earlier phases of the competition. University academic leaders have also served as judges at the Cleantech Open Global Forum.
“One of the most rewarding things about this partnership is the eagerness and enthusiasm of the Cleantech Open participants,” says Jeff Hecht, Apollo Group corporate journalist, who presented a seminar at the National Academy titled Creating Your Public Relations Opportunities for small businesses. “To see the engagement and learning on display at the National Academy is incredible. The participants are able to soak in so much great information that will ultimately help them succeed in launching and running their own sustainable business.”
The University of Phoenix/Cleantech Open partnership additionally provides University business, education and technology students the ability to compete with innovative entrepreneurs worldwide, hosting programs and events to benefit the University’s student body.
“One of our most popular programs was a conference call with Cleantech Open Executive Director, Rex Northen, and our Dean of the School of Business, Bill Berry,” notes Gottfried. “Providing access to experts in startup businesses is a particularly attractive supplemental program for our students. Both Rex and Bill provided tremendous insight on starting a business and securing funding for the hundreds of students on the conference call.”
As the annual cycle progresses, University of Phoenix experts and faculty members will be participating in the semi-finals and the finals, providing judges for the contest as the awards are given at the Global Forum in November.
“This is one of the University’s proudest partnerships,” Gottfried adds. “Knowing that these visionary entrepreneurs and their business startups are changing the world of tomorrow, we’re incredibly pleased to support their efforts and provide access to the University’s vast resources, experience and expertise to Cleantech Open.”