Affinity Areas


Education is one of the most powerful poverty amelioration and economic development tools. The Education affinity area was formed in Fall 2009 in response to the growing number of students interested in the education sector. The Education affinity members plan to apply business acumen to educational initiatives professionally and/or voluntarily. This affinity area provides a forum for students to discuss career opportunities, debate hot topics, and develop a greater understanding of major issues that are relevant to education across domestic and international markets, entrepreneurial ventures and established organizations, and the private and public sector.

For more information, contact: Matthew Russo

Environmental Finance

The adverse effects of climate change and growing importance of national energy security have forced the global community to seek innovative and market-based ways to curb greenhouse gas emissions while restoring natural capital. Financing the transition of the global economy towards a low-carbon future will present the greatest challenge and opportunity of the twenty-first century. The Environmental Finance affinity area was formed in 2013 to help students understand this fairly new and potentially transformative area at the intersection of the public and private sector. The group’s goals are to:

  • Inform students about various financial trends in carbon trading, sustainable investing, ecosystem service markets, sustainable energy investing, and innovative green financial instruments
  • Establish a network of Cornell and Johnson alumni who work in the environmental finance field
  • Increase transparency of the Environmental Finance and Impact Investing (EFII) Fellowship

For more information, contact: Lucas Ackerknecht

Renewable Energy

Renewable Energy strives to help Johnson students develop an understanding of the role of renewable energy in the 21st century, and prepares students for a career in the renewable energy industry. REAG organizes programs directed at:

Developing a thorough understanding of the issues and technologies in the renewable energy sector

  • Fostering relationships with Johnson and Cornell University alumni employed in renewable energy and related fields
  • Reaching out to corporations in an effort to place students and graduates in internships and full-time positions

Given the increasing convergence of traditional and renewable energy sources in everyday life and in related industries, the REAG has been merged with the Energy club at the Johnson. This is to provide more value to the constituents of both the clubs. To find out more about the activities of the AG please visit:

For more information, contact: Mark Engstrom

Sustainability Consulting (SusCon)

The Sustainability Consulting affinity area (SusCon) strives to develop and promote a sustainability perspective in the consulting profession and introduce Johnson students to sustainability consulting. The group’s goals are to:

  • Raise awareness of the nascent sustainability consulting industry and of the opportunities in boutique and traditional consulting firms
  • Adopt a sustainability lens for problem solving and critical thinking
  • Establish a network of Cornell and Johnson sustainability consulting alumni
  • Facilitate the internship and full-time placement process for students and graduates

For more information, contact: Kimberley Mark

Social Enterprise and Microfinance (SEAM)

The Social Enterprise and Microfinance Affinity Group (SEAM) envisions a world where every individual has the power to improve his or her economic and social situation through entrepreneurial initiatives. SEAM aims to raise awareness of Base of the Pyramid initiatives in microfinance, social entrepreneurship, and inclusive business models within Johnson and the greater Cornell community, through discussions, speakers, events, and special projects. We will explore the many ways in which the world’s four billion poor take part in the global marketplace and how high-income and low-income communities can forge partnerships to their mutual benefit.

For more information, contact: Solomon Ray

Sustainable Hospitality & Green Building

Green Building complements traditional building design and rehabilitation by focusing on concerns of economy, utility, durability, and comfort. The Sustainable Hospitality & Green Building affinity area is a forum to explore all facets of buildings and hospitality through a sustainability lens. The group looks at how social, economic and environmental sustainability interacts with operations, development and financing of projects. Additionally, the group hopes to build awareness of the hospitality and service industries and how they can be interconnected with other sustainable businesses.

For more information, contact: Jessica Abel

Sustainability Marketing

As an integral part of the SGE Club, the Sustainability Marketing area helps students explore the dynamic process of creating, communicating, and delivering environmental and societal value via consumer products and services. Planned events range from presentations by industry experts versed in green product segmentation, to conference calls with alumni who have started their own sustainable businesses and can offer strategic perspectives at the entrepreneur level. Other activities include “Lunch & Learn” sessions designed to facilitate interaction with current students and faculty interested in issues specific to marketing sustainable companies in emerging and developed markets.

For more information, contact: Teyren Brown

Additional Affinity Areas

Below are some additional affinity areas that were led by students in previous years who had interests in these particular fields, industries, and subject matter. The flexibility of the affinity structure allows the Sustainable Global Enterprise Club to adapt to the fluctuation of student interests from year-to-year.

Agriculture and Water

As the world population expands and puts more pressure on the Earth’s natural resources, businesses working in food and agriculture face increasingly difficult decisions with serious global ramifications. The SGE Agriculture Affinity Group was started in 2010 in an effort to help students become experts in understanding what is at stake in these decisions, and how innovation and technology can play a role in building good business and promoting responsible stewardship. Students in the Agriculture Affinity group are actively engaged in:

  • Building relationships with the world-class Agriculture faculty and students across Cornell
  • Connecting with alumni who share a passion for food and agriculture
  • Developing a deep understanding of the sustainability-related challenges inherent in feeding a growing population – both by bringing speakers and educational opportunities to Johnson, and by visiting enterprises and thought leaders beyond Cornell

Sustainability in Operations

How do companies minimize negative social and environmental consequences of their business operations? Will incremental improvement be sufficient? And how do we complement operational changes with other business solutions to sustainability issues? We investigate lean operations, closed-loop supply chains, sustainability in product design, and other approaches for rethinking business operations.

The Sustainability in Operations Affinity Group works to help Johnson students further their understanding of sustainable operations in business and to promote critical thinking around such opportunities. Accordingly, this affinity group strives to:

  • Create an effective forum that fosters enthusiasm for sustainable operations among students
  • Provide ongoing educational opportunities that showcase applications of sustainability in operations
  • Offer opportunities for students to connect and network with people and organizations integrating sustainability into business operations

For more information pertaining to Affinity Group structure, opportunities, etc. contact: Linley Kirkwood