International lesson

Dr. Kathleen Monds, holding the Australian flag on the left, was one of 14 educators from all over the United States to attend the Green Business International Sustainability Program at the University of Queensland, Australia.

Submitted photo

CAIRO, Ga. — Cairo resident Dr. Kathaleen Monds recently went to the Land Down Under to learn how to protect the planet. She brought that knowledge back to her Southwest Georgia students at Albany State University where she is a professor.

Monds was one of 14 who attended Australia’s top business school’s Green Business International Sustainability Program at the University of Queensland earlier this year. The program teaches business leaders and academics how to apply environmental, social and economic practices to become more efficient, sustainable and profitable.

The program was a partnership with the University of Connecticut and San Diego State University Center of International Business Education and Research (CIBER).

Monds’ attendance was funded by a CIBER grant.

She said she and her colleagues learned about efforts business can make to be eco-friendly. She was most impressed with the school’s Endeavor Foundation that employs special needs people to recycle electronics. She said that people with autism were very good at repetitive tasks and were phenomenal at dismantling the electronic equipment.

“They could just break it down to the bare bone. It was very impressive,” Monds said.

“How many of us have old cell phones and laptops laying around in closets? I want kids to know our planet needs us,” she said.

She said service groups like the Boy Scouts and 4-H have wonderful opportunities to help.

“Recycling old clothing can even be a wonderful, enterprising opportunity,” she said.

Monds, a professor of informations system and co-director of the Albany State University College of Business Center for Economic Education/Small and Minority Entrepreneurship, is teaching students in her international business classes about environmental sustainability programs such as recycling. She has reached out to the Endeavor Foundation and is writing a case study about how Southwest Georgia could mirror its program. She said her goals are to impart knowledge from the program to her class, inform students about the careers available in these fields and to share her knowledge with the community.

“It was a great experience. Most of the faculty were not environmentalists. It was wonderful to learn how businesses are working aggressively to be eco-friendly,” she said.

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