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Clarkson University Business Students Pitch in Down Under

The shoreline of Stradbrook Island off the coast of Brisbane, Australia, is cleaner now thanks to 16 Clarkson University students who mingled their global business studies with a day of picking up and sorting debris for research purposes.

 Left to right: Aishvina Arasu, Megan Seaman, Andrew Elphinstone (general manager of Wild Mob), Mike Larking and Eric Stein.Clarkson School of Business students are required to complete some type of international experience as part of their degree requirements. The requirement can be met in a variety of ways -- through a semester abroad experience, taking the Canadian Studies course, an international strategy course, or by attending one of the two- to three-week Global Business Study trips -- like this one to Australia, led by Assistant Professor of Consumer & Organizational Behavior Floyd Ormsbee, along with his wife, Amber Ormsbee. Students from other programs also take part in the trips.

On the beach, the students and the Ormsbees assisted a not-for-profit group called the “Wild Mob,” whose projects include research on the Great Barrier Reef, whales, tracking baby wallabies, and marine debris clean up and monitoring. Wild Mob General Manager Andrew Elphinstone teaches university courses, so the Clarkson students also learned about his overall environmental work.

“We went to Stradbrook Island off the coast of Brisbane and picked up debris on two beaches,” Ormsbee says. “The debris was sorted and cataloged, and Andrew demonstrated how it was different on each side of the island, determining the likely source of the items. This research helps to inform governmental policy aimed at reducing waste, debris, and pollution.”

The students agreed it was a rewarding experience.

"It felt wonderful to be a part of something that makes a difference,” Angela Perrone says.

Ed Pawlik adds, “We didn't just learn about the pollution problem concerning Australia's beaches, we actually got a chance to make a difference.”

“We all hear about the need to recycle,” Eric Gleich says, “but you don't realize how big of an issue it is until you see what the waste is doing to these remote ocean beaches.”

The students attracted some attention as they pitched in on the clean-up. ROTC graduate Mike Matroniano was wearing a red jacket and caught the eye of a little girl who on the beach with her mother. Ormsbee overheard the child ask, “Is that Superman?”

The hands-on project was all in a day's work for the Clarkson team.

“Not only were we able to learn about the culture, ecology, and surrounding projects Wild Mob partakes in, but we were able to pick the brains behind those running the organizations – a 'win-win' situation,” notes Colton Weaver.

Emily Halusic says, “These scenic areas won't remain as picturesque without finding manners in which we can be kinder to our surroundings. Maybe we all could use a couple of weeks abroad to remind us of what matters.”

Faculty members arrange the trip itineraries and contact businesses and organizations to schedule visits. As part of the trip, students visit a variety of businesses, cultural and social events or organizations, educational institutions, and entertainment venues.

"The objective is to expose the students to life and business practices in other countries, as well as the local people and culture," says Ormsbee. "The intention is to prepare them for the roles they will take on in our global economy after they graduate."

The students who participated in this trip were Aishvina Arasu, Geoffrey Baldwin, Elizabeth Duba, Sean Glasheen, Eric Gleich, Emily Halusic, Alyssa Hotalen, Mike Larkin, Erik Majka, Mike Matroniano, Ed Pawlik, Angela Perrone, Eric Stein, Megan Seaman, Megan Trendowski, and Colton Weaver.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: The shoreline of Stradbrook Island off the coast of Brisbane, Australia, is cleaner now thanks to16 Clarkson University students who mingled their global business studies trip activities with a day of picking up debris. Above, some of the group collects debris along the north beach of Stradbroke Island. Left to right: Aishvina Arasu, Megan Seaman, Andrew Elphinstone (general manager of Wild Mob), Mike Larking and Eric Stein.

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