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Michigan Ross to Host Environmental Teach-In as Part of U-M’s Earth Day at 50 Celebration


Related: Business and the Environment, 50 Years After the First Earth Day: What’s Changed, What Hasn’t, and What Needs to Happen Now

Fifty years ago this March, the nation’s first “Environmental Teach-In” was held at the University of Michigan and served as a model for Earth Day celebrations nationwide. This year, capturing the spirit of the groundbreaking events from 1970, the university is organizing teach-ins across campus, including the Ross School of Business, aimed at tackling the biggest challenges of our time. 

The teach-ins are meant to be practical, participatory and oriented toward action, and are one of the featured Earth Day at 50 events taking place March 9-14.

As part of the Teach-Ins for the Environment 2020 agenda, Shirli Kopelman, professor of management and organizations at Michigan Ross, is leading an event titled “The Psychology of Eliciting Cooperation: Honoring the Legacy of Anatol Rapoport with a Conversation on Semantics, Culture, and a Logic of Appropriateness.” It will be held on March 11 from 9-10 a.m. in Robertson Auditorium. 

This event will include an interactive discussion centered on the work of Anatol Rapoport, a mathematical psychologist, who participated in the first teach-ins at the University of Michigan. The conversation at Kopelman’s teach-in will draw on a recently published article celebrating his scientific contributions, Tit for Tat and Beyond: The Legendary Work of Anatol Rapoport, to discuss powerful ideas that shape our environment in 2020.

According to Kopelman’s research, culture impacts how people interpret power and the degree to which they align behavior with collective goals. 

“Adopting a cultural lens to understand the logics around resource management, illuminates ways to promote cooperation in situations where immediate self-interested economic outcomes conflict with sustainable solutions that foster wellbeing for individuals, society, and the environment,” said Kopelman. 

In addition, Ravi Anupindi, Colonel William G. and Ann C. Svetlich Professor of Operations Research and faculty director of the Center for Value Chain Innovation at Michigan Ross, will be participating in a teach-in called “Financing the Sustainable Enterprise” with Peter Adriaens, professor of engineering and entrepreneurship at the School of Sustainability and the Environment, and Jon Allen, senior academic and research program officer at SEAS. It will be held March 9 from 4-6 p.m. in the Michigan Union, 2210BC. 

This panel will focus on how sustainable capital conditioning and investment mandates across organizations and their supply chains have gone mainstream and are scaling across industries.

Another featured Earth Day at 50 event taking place during the week is the Peter M. Wege Lecture and Earth Day 2020: Rise Up For the Environment on March 12 at 5:30 p.m. in Hill Auditorium. This special double event kicks off with the Wege Lecture by Philippe Cousteau Jr., a multi-Emmy-nominated TV host, environmentalist, author, social entrepreneur, and the grandson of Jacques Cousteau.

For the second half of the program, units across U-M are partnering with community organizations to co-host a collaborative event featuring musical performances and dynamic sustainability and environmental justice leaders, including Naomi Klein, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, Heather McTeer Toney, Mustafa Santiago Ali, Abdul El-Sayed, Rep. Andy Levin, Bryan Newland, Mari "Little Miss Flint" Copeny, and others. 

All Earth Day at 50 events are free and open to the public. Reservations are recommended for the Wege Lecture and Earth Day 2020 event.

View all Earth Day at 50 events