Bringing real-world experience to the classroom

During the spring semester of 2020, the Lightsource bp Communications team partnered with Penn State’s Sustainable Community Collaborative and Professor Karen Winterich who teaches Sustainable Marketing at Smeal College, Penn State’s business school, to involve her class in a real-world project with the goal of advancing Lightsource bp’s sustainability goals. Throughout the semester, the class of 38 students worked to first better understand consumer attitudes toward solar and the competitive landscape in the US, and then to propose a marketing plan for Lightsource bp in the US based on those findings.

The class was divided into 8 teams who worked collaboratively on the project all semester. The students were told to behave as if they had their own marketing consultant business, and so each team came up with a ‘company’ name. Some of them were quite clever:

  • Sunny Side Up
  • Green is the New Black
  • JSMS Consulting
  • SaveEarth Consulting
  • STARK Inc.
  • Students for Solar
  • Pennsylvania Sustainability Associates
  • Grasshopper LLC

Kickoff was mid-January in-person, and the project culminated with virtual presentations from the 8 teams in mid-April. The students did an amazing job – especially considering that the University moved to virtual learning in the middle of the semester.