A revolutionary rivalry

Between the first and second year of her master’s program, Brittany VanderBeek worked as an intern at Michelin North America in Greenville. She got called on to lead a project with the purpose of uniting students from both the University of South Carolina and Clemson University to help Michelin reduce production waste. This issue concerns anyone who uses transportation, and VanderBeek is thrilled to have a hand in making an impact on the automotive and tire industries.

“I am passionate about seeing the potential in others and finding ways they can collaborate to accomplish something great together,” VanderBeek says. “The opportunity for businesses to collaborate with education and community partners is how change will happen.”

VanderBeek met with Michelin professionals and put together a plan for a joint class between USC and Clemson, led by Paul Ziehl from Carolina and Gregory Mocko from Clemson. The meetings became the foundation for what is now known as 1SC2Sustain, a partnership between two rival universities working together in an effort to promote sustainability.

This time five years ago when VanderBeek was an undergraduate business student in Michigan, she did not expect to end up in South Carolina directly impacting the community and guiding a project that can open so many doors for students to do the same.

VanderBeek graduated in May 2013 from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business with a bachelor’s degree in business and a minor in Spanish. Her experiences in sustainability strategy consulting and her international business career goals led her to the Darla Moore School of Business, where she is working toward a master’s degree in international business. She plans to graduate in May.

“Students in this class will have the opportunity to learn about corporate sustainability and interact with Michelin employees to determine how Michelin can improve its environmental impact from production,” VanderBeek says. “They will also be able to learn about summer internship opportunities at Michelin.”

In fall 2017, there will be a second part of the class taught again by Ziehl and Mocko at both universities. Many students from spring 2017 will also take part two of the class as the program grows in student participation and faculty support. Any student with a minimum 3.0 GPA will be eligible to apply for this class. Students will implement research collected from the previous semester in hopes to tackle Michelin’s challenge with metallic tissue waste.

“I see 1SC2Sustain as the beginning of something that has great potential to grow,” VanderBeek says. “This sustainability collaboration between a corporation and rival universities can be a model for other companies and universities to have a positive impact on their local communities.”

VanderBeek hopes students of all disciplines will get involved in a collective project like 1SC2Sustain. Leading this project has allowed VanderBeek to combine many of her passions and to create a similar avenue for undergraduate students.

“I thought, ‘Why not get the students involved now?’ and the project has already grown even more than I thought it would,” said VanderBeek. “1SC2Sustain gives students the opportunity to engage with Michelin to solve real-world corporate sustainability challenges.”

Students from both universities who were selected for the first class were honored at Michelin headquarters Nov. 18.