Mendoza School of Business

The Collective Brainpower of the Mendoza Alumni Network – Closing out the 1st Ask More Ideas Challenge

Published: August 15, 2017 / Author: Tim Ponisciak

Submissions for the first ever Ask More Ideas Challenge came from all corners of the globe. The Challenge, focused on brainstorming ways to reduce the typical office place’s carbon footprint, wrapped up on June 15 with 64 ideas submitted. Some ideas were audacious:

Others were smaller in scale but could be implemented by anyone:

“The Ask More Ideas Challenge immediately resonated with me by requesting ideas regarding how we, as a university and alumni group, can help reduce an organization’s carbon footprint.” said Libby Otterness, BBA ’12, who submitted her idea for making sure office places convert lighting from conventional light bulbs to LEDs. “I believe that small ideas can evolve into big changes for how organizations can minimize their impact on the environment. One of Notre Dame’s best assets is its vast alumni network, and this type of challenge is an innovative way to get more alumni involved on a regular basis.”

The Challenge was meant as a way for alumni to have a mechanism for sharing their environmentally focused ideas with a broader population. While many of these ideas have been implemented at different companies or office buildings throughout the country, there are very few organizations that have tackled everything on the list, so there is inspiration for fellow alumni no matter where they work.

The College also partnered with the Catholic Climate Covenant in order to share these ideas with this nonprofit which focuses on helping the Catholic Church in the US reduce its own carbon footprint.

“Nothing great is ever accomplished without the support of a community, and Notre Dame is one of  the greatest communities I’ll ever know,” said John Flanagan MBA ’16, who submitted his idea for incorporating sustainable practices into office coffee drinking. “With so many brilliant minds that aspire to leave the world better than they found it, ND is a great representation of the limitless potential there is in the world.  That’s why it’s critical for our Notre Dame family to challenge each other and other communities to live up to our collective potential. By collaborating on socially-minded initiatives and leading by example, communities like Notre Dame are positioned to have the greatest positive impact on our future.”

The College will be running another Ideas Challenge in 2018, with a new challenge focus. If you have ideas for what the Challenge topic should be next year, please email Tim Ponisciak, Director of Graduate Alumni Relations, at

Topics: Alumni Impact