Sustainability marketing class collaborates with Advanced Vehicle Team

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- In assistant professor of marketing Karen Winterich’s spring 2014 Business Administration 497b Sustainable Behavior of Consumers, Firms and Societies course, Smeal College of Business students collaborated with the Penn State Advanced Vehicle Team to develop ways for the team to enhance its opportunities for business sponsorship.

The Advanced Vehicle Team (AVT) is a group of students that participates in various contests — including the EcoCAR 2 Challenge — aimed at encouraging innovation in the automotive, energy and technology sectors through vehicle design challenges.

“I think it gave students a glimpse into some of the unique challenges and opportunities that come along with the sustainable business space.”

-- Karen Winterich, assistant professor of marketing, Smeal College of Business

Business students presented their final projects on AVT sponsor recruitment at the end of April. Along with their presentations, they submitted a set of deliverables including sample press releases, phone scripts and informational brochures to be used in connecting with potential sponsors. They also provided a list of new potential corporate sponsors based on their market research.

According to Winterich, this class project provided students with a valuable learning experience connecting sustainability and business.

“I think it gave students a glimpse into some of the unique challenges and opportunities that come along with the sustainable business space,” she said. “It wasn’t simply about recruiting from automotive companies, but thinking strategically about companies whose goals may align with the sustainability goals of the Advanced Vehicle Team.”

Traditionally, the Advanced Vehicle Team’s efforts have been primarily in the engineering space, in addition to a connection with Happy Valley Communications — Penn State’s student-run public relations firm. Recently, however, the team identified some specific business challenges to address.

“We felt that reaching out to Smeal students would not only give us all an opportunity to work more closely in a cross-college fashion but also give the AVT a new perspective on developing these business partnerships for sponsors.”

-- Jacob Hauptman, supply chain management major, Advanced Vehicle Team business manager

“We have a need to gain opportunities for business sponsorships,” said Jacob Hauptman, a supply chain management major and the AVT’s business manager. “Some of our funding challenges include a lack of local sponsorships and a lack of consistent sponsorship contracts.”

He continued, “We felt that reaching out to Smeal students would not only give us all an opportunity to work more closely in a cross-college fashion but also give the AVT a new perspective on developing these business partnerships for sponsors.”

The Advanced Vehicle Team is currently gearing up to begin the EcoCAR 3 Challenge and is seeking Smeal students to become involved in various business aspects of the project. EcoCAR is a national competition sponsored by General Motors that challenges university teams to re-engineer a vehicle for improved fuel economy and emissions while maintaining performance, safety and consumer appeal. To find out more about the Advanced Vehicle Team, including sponsorship opportunities, visit www.hev.psu.edu/.

About undergraduate education in the Smeal College of Business
The Smeal College of Business offers undergraduate majors and minors that span the business spectrum, preparing students for a business world that is complex, global and diverse. Smeal undergraduate students have access to dozens of student organizations and involvement opportunities, study abroad partnerships around the world, and personalized career planning and academic advising services to help them thrive at Smeal and in their careers. Learn more at www.smeal.psu.edu/uge.

Contacts: 
Last Updated June 10, 2014