SAS has teamed up with lecturers at Manchester Business School (MBS) to sponsor a 'SAS Carbon Challenge' to actively support reducing the university's carbon footprint by 40% by 2020. MBS has also embedded SAS business analytics into its curriculum to highlight sustainability as a key priority for higher education and tomorrow's business leaders.
Dr Babis Theodoulidis, senior lecturer in Information Management at the Business School, led the project to introduce SAS software to train students in sustainability issues, change attitudes, and achieve aims for carbon efficiency, as identified in the University of Manchester's Carbon Management Plan.
The SAS Carbon Challenge saw second year students on the University's Information Technology Management for Business BSc course divided into teams, and asked to use different technologies to collect, search, analyse and report on relevant information using the SAS Enterprise Guide. In particular, the students were asked to consider the impact of IT provision, which accounted for 12% of the university's carbon footprint, and to make concrete recommendations on how IT could be managed in a more environmentally friendly way.
Lucy Millard, environmental and sustainability officer at the University of Manchester, says: "This project has had a huge impact – which is very important, given the University spends £15million on energy each year. We've seen a change in student attitudes; they really engaged with the subject and did a tremendous amount of work, providing sensible suggestions on carbon saving measures, which the University has taken on. It had taken us a few years to come up with recommendations that took the students a few months, which was impressive, especially given the data volumes involved.
“We used SAS to compare Manchester to other universities, using factors that might mitigate their level of emissions like size, location and student numbers,” explains one undergraduate, Suzanne Tattersall. “We then went into more detail, looking at the Business School’s emissions in terms of contribution to the entire University. We used SAS to aggregate energy meter readings for each building and analyse the spread of energy consumption. We also researched ways to reduce emissions resulting from IT, like servers and computer clusters, and gave projections on possible reductions depending on which initiative was implemented.”
"The SAS Carbon Challenge was designed to combine the teaching of data management, analytics and sustainability issues to Business School students in innovative and engaging way," says Ian Manocha, managing director, SAS UK and Ireland. "We worked closely with course leaders to offer an initiative that not only helped students, by breaking down barriers between theory and practice, but also supported the University's own aims in meeting external carbon emission targets. We've been very impressed with the seriousness and creativity with which they project has been undertaken, the winning team's conclusions were very professional indeed."
Working alongside Dr Theodoulis, SAS provided expert advice, analytics software, teaching materials and lecturer coaching through the SAS Academic Programme. Three prizes, sponsored by SAS, were offered for the winning student teams. The winning student team was made up of: Lee Booth (Researcher), Yashar Dadashnejad (Project Leader, Analyst), Michael Kostecky (Researcher) and Thomas Saunderson (Analyst).
Manchester Business School is currently implementing several projects based on the student recommendations. The projects are due to finish in 2013.