Students smile around a table adorned with a "Georgetown Eco-consultants" sign
Category: Academics, Campus Life

Title: Kickstarting A Sustainable Business Career With Georgetown Eco Consultants

Author: Ava (C'24)
Date Published: November 20, 2023

One of my favorite and most rewarding parts of my Georgetown experience has been the organizations I have been a part of on the hilltop. Particularly, my time in Georgetown Eco Consultants has had a large impact on my experience in college and has also led me toward my future career.

Georgetown Eco Consultants, also known as GEC, is an undergraduate consulting club focused on community-based sustainable partnerships across DC and beyond. We have worked with local farms to organizations as large as national sports franchises and national nonprofits to help reach their sustainability goals. GEC is Georgetown’s only environmentally focused consulting organization that is made up of about 35 members who are driven to formulate sustainable solutions to real business problems.

When I first got to Georgetown I didn’t even know what consulting was. I heard that Georgetown had a couple of these consulting clubs, and I was interested in seeing what those students did and the ways I could be involved. After I learned a bit more about consulting and found an organization focused specifically on sustainability, I was excited to apply. 

I started at Georgetown as a computer science major but quickly realized that was not the path for me. I found myself taking introductory environmental studies courses and really gained a passion for sustainability. After I changed my major from computer science to economics and started the environmental studies minor, I was interested in being involved in a club at the intersections of economics, business and the environment. Georgetown Eco Consultants seemed like the perfect fit. 

GEC was immediately a welcoming and warm environment. When I was hired as a consultant, we did weeks of training so we would be ready to speak with and prepare deliverables for our clients. My first semester I worked with CleanChoice Energy, which is a renewable energy supplier in DC. They wanted us to help them with an expansion plan as they planned to increase their customer base beyond DC and Virginia. 

Working with CleanChoice was an awesome introduction to a professional sustainability setting. I’ve always been very interested in sustainability and environmental preservation, but working with CleanChoice opened my eyes to renewable energy, an industry I now hope to work in after I graduate.

After a successful semester with CleanChoice, I was promoted to project manager and worked with the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA). With the NPCA we were responsible for extensively researching data centers and their environmental impacts, including the impacts on national parks. By the end of the semester, we compiled 50+ pages of research, created a policy recommendation for legislative bodies to encourage sustainable data center development and created three fact sheets to be shared with communities and legislators outlining data centers and their environmental concerns. 

Today, I serve as the vice president of GEC. I have loved my new role overseeing the operations of the club and monitoring all the project teams. We are a relatively new club and have only been around about four years, so each year is another exciting opportunity to grow. GEC is largely expanding and we are excited and hopeful about semesters to come with bigger and better clients. In addition to expanding to larger clients, we also have been working to improve and expand our training and professional development opportunities. We have created an extensive training program for our new hires which aims to teach them both basic consulting skills as well as niche environmental topics such as water, energy, ESG reporting, sustainable finance and more. The training acts as a catalyst for our new consultants to feel ready and prepared to do hands-on client-facing work and hopefully take their knowledge and new education into their future careers. 

This semester we have our most impressive line-up of clients and most exciting projects! Being involved in GEC has been such a pivotal experience at Georgetown and has made me even more passionate and excited to work in sustainability after I graduate. Beyond basic consulting and environmental skills and knowledge, GEC has given me confidence in producing and creating client-facing work. I have also had the opportunity to present and discuss findings in front of dozens of higher executives in our final deliverables. GEC has provided me with a great foundation for a career in sustainable consulting.

Although I never expected to be involved in a pre-professional club, and many people choose not to be, GEC was a fantastic opportunity to learn how to solve real business problems, meet some amazing new friends, and get real experience and responsibility working with a real client. In addition to gaining confidence in a professional setting, I am so grateful for the fantastic people I have met and the opportunities I have had being a part of GEC.