‘Business for Good’ USF Internship Program Expands onto St. Pete’s Sustainability Initiatives

Just in time for Earth Day, EDC Investor the University of South Florida launched an internship program that allows students to become mentees for social and environmentally focused local businesses. This internship gives participating USF students a chance to work with the seven companies on the “B Impact Assessment,” which is a tool that prepares companies for B Corp certification. This B Corp certification is typically given to for-profit organizations that recognize that the establishment considers its influence of its decisions on suppliers, the community, the environment, and decisions and more through a third-party review. This “Business for Good” internship is a great way for USF students to see how the business community can be part of the solution for certain societal issues.

The internship program that has developed through a partnership with USF St. Pete and Florida for Good has already attracted the attention of seven companies who want to participate in providing internship opportunities to local students.

The city of St. Petersburg continues to have a commitment to being a sustainable and eco-friendly environment. The city has been devoted to delivering progressive, sustainable policies and effective programs to address city environmental, economic, and social challenges. One recent example would be the city signing on the Tampa Bay Regional Resiliency Coalition. At least 24 jurisdictions in the Tampa Bay area formed the coalition to coordinate climate adaptation and mitigation activities across county lines, to advocate responses to and preparations for social disruption due to climate change effects. The city has also recently launched their Road to Zero Waste campaign that “empowers those who live, work and play in St. Pete to reduce the amount of waste they produce and help lessen the burden on the planet”.

Not only has the city itself been committed to making the city a sustainable place, but businesses within the community have been working to make a difference as well. Raymond James headquartered in St. Pete, encourages environmental, social, and governance practices in their workplace. They state, “sustainable investing, an approach that integrates environmental, social and governance criteria, is becoming a much sought-after strategy in the financial industry.” They mention that whether it is implemented through socially responsible investing screening, ESG integration or impact investing, sustainable investing offers a growing number of options for investors interested in pursuing goals beyond financial growth when building their portfolios.

Initially, this internship program was going to be “hyperlocal,” but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and most learning becoming virtual, it will now be a hybrid of online and in-person. Because it will be online, it is possible to keep the original idea of being hyperlocal while at the same time including businesses from outside Tampa Bay and also including international students that are temporarily living in their home countries.

There are currently 27 students both undergraduate and graduate that will participate in the pilot program. These students come from various USF programs, including the Muma College of Business, Engineering and Patel College of Global Sustainability. Overall, this internship allows students to get an idea of what leaders in a business need to consider and what businesses do to build awareness to improve their positive impact.

To read more about the internship read this Tampa Bay Business Journal story: https://www.bizjournals.com/tampabay/news/2021/04/14/usf-launches-b-corps-apprenticeship-program.html?utm_source=st&utm_medium=en&utm_campaign=me&utm_content=ta&ana=e_ta_me&j=23528504