App State students, faculty members seek hands-on, tangible solutions at Greenbiz

Four Appalachian State University students and three Walker College of Business faculty members recently attended Greenbiz – a sustainability conference for business leaders seeking hands-on, tangible solutions – in Scottsdale, Arizona, Feb. 12-14.

The students are Senior Sustainable Development Major Bella Carpenter, and Senior Management Majors Josh Derienzo, Matthias Von Feilitzsch and Ethan McAlonen.

 In their own words, the experience was transformative, and included highlights from interacting with high level executives working to use business for good to getting a much clearer picture of what a career in the sustainable business field is like.

In Their Own Words

“The conference put in perspective that my initial path into it might not be straightforward and that I will gain skills like data collection, creating a company’s end of year report, etc. before earning a higher-up position.”

 “I learned about companies that exist to support sustainability efforts (carbon accounting, offsets, rating), which makes me more aware of the opportunities in the space. I met and had conversations with very interesting professionals which was inspiring to hear how they "walk the walk.” 

“I feel more confident in my networking skills and am reassured that this is the field that I want to work in.”

The Walker College provides opportunities for industry engagement and works to broaden skills and collaboration for students. Networking helps increase internships, career opportunities and informs the curriculum. These opportunities also deepen partnerships in the business community that help shape future business leaders.

“There was a huge diversity of stakeholders present addressing different issues of sustainability – corporations, smaller companies, consulting firms, non-profits, etc.,” said one participant. “I also met other young professionals who are new to the industry and understand how they got there.”

The students were accompanied by three of the faculty members who help lead the Walker College’s Sustainable Business programs: Management professor and Sustainable Business Director Jim Westerman, Assistant Professor of Management Nicholas Poggioli, and Department of Finance Banking and Insurance Chair Lori Medders.

“It was a wonderful learning and professional development/networking experience,” said Westerman. “We are currently discussing next steps about how to make the most of what we've learned at this conference, and about potential opportunities and possibilities for next year.”

The trip was funded in part by the Walker College Dean’s Club.

About the Walker College Dean's Club

Contributions from Dean's Club members provide unrestricted support each year for critical needs in the college such as: student scholarships, travel funds for faculty and students to attend course-related conferences and/or visits to corporations, seed money for new programs or opportunities within the college, and resources to bring guest lecturers, such as leaders in business and government, to the classroom. Learn more about the Dean's Club at

About Sustainable Business at Appalachian

Appalachian’s Walker College of Business is committed to advancing sustainable business practices that promote responsible management of economic, social and natural resources. The theory and practice of sustainable business recognizes that the economy, environment and society (the triple bottom line) are interconnected and interdependent, and strives to enhance the business model so that it can flourish and thrive to benefit future generations. The college offers a sustainable business minor available to business and nonbusiness majors, a bachelor’s degree in environmental economics and policy, and an MBA concentration in sustainable business. The programs focus on student engagement, research and community involvement. For more information, visit


From left are Nicholas Poggioli, Josh Derienzo, Bella Carpenter, Ethan McAlonen, Matthias Von Feilitzsch and Lori Medders at GreenBiz 2024. Photo: Jim Westerman

From left are Josh Derienzo, Bella Carpenter, Ethan McAlonen and Matthias Von Feilitzsch. The four App State students attended GreenBiz 2024 as part of a Walker College of Business program dedicated to sustainable business.
Published: Mar 13, 2024 9:17am