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Inside Kendall

Beyond Green: A Full Immersion in Chicago Lessons on Sustainability

In a 2010 Harvard Business Review article David Lupin and Daniel Esty said that while executives at the time understood that their response to the challenge of sustainability would “profoundly affect the competitiveness—and perhaps even the survival—of their organizations,” the majority still struggled to launch a program complete with an overarching vision or plan.

This statement, more than half a decade in the past, helps to illustrate just how far the concept of sustainability has evolved over the years.  In fact, in 2015 sustainability is an increasingly important value and is particularly well-established in the travel and tourism industries—quite the opposite of the organizations described over five years ago.  Today, the sustainability challenges are just as important, but far more sophisticated.  They are about the details of measurement and implementing sustainability into the day-to-day operations.

ift_bean_smallTo educate students about best practices in sustainable hospitality and introduce them to the major green hotels, attractions and recreational assets that make Chicago a shining example of a sustainable tourism destination, Kendall College recently hosted an international exchange program on the topic of “Eco-Awareness and Tourism Sustainability.”

For two weeks, 13 students and an instructor from the Institute for Tourism Studies (IFT) in Macau, China attended lectures and toured the City of Chicago—one of the world’s top hospitality destinations   with more than 700 hotels and a reputation as a global hub for meetings and conventions—with a goal of better understanding the unique intersection of business, marketing and sustainability initiatives in driving the bottom line in a global hospitality marketplace.

Here are some key take-aways on sustainability our students experienced first-hand:

  • Hotels that invest in sustainable practices can gain a competitive advantage with leisure, business and event travelers.
  • Destinations can reduce environmental impacts and optimize the tourist experience by investing in infrastructure that promotes walking, biking and the use of public transportation.
  • Preference for local, fresh and sustainably produced foods and beverages is on the rise, encouraging the development of farmer’s markets, urban agriculture and rooftop gardens.

IFT in classroom_smallStudent quotes:

This program gives us a brand new view of the sustainable world. We used to know it only in the book. But here, we got the chance to see the good practice in Chicago. Besides, the sustainable program provides students another career possibility. Kendall’s sustainability program promotes fundamental sustainable, which can influence on the tourism development plan of Macau.
–  Pan Yiting


During the program, we attended lectures together, relaxed together, and shopped together.  More than that, to experience the Chicago culture and its sustainable facilities was unforgettable.
–  Cheuk Yin Chan

IFT goes to China Town

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