President Faust’s climate initiative awards $1M in grants

first_imgTen research projects driven by faculty collaborators across six Harvard Schools will share over $1 million in the second round of grants awarded by the Climate Change Solutions Fund, an initiative launched last year by President Drew Faust to encourage multidisciplinary research around climate change.“Global climate change is one of the most pressing challenges we face as a society,” said Harvard President Drew Faust. “Harvard must be at the forefront of deepening understanding of the problem, of bringing experts together across fields and disciplines, and of driving meaningful progress that touches every dimension of this critical issue.”The winning projects are purposely diverse in focus, ranging from policy and law to science and health. Several use Harvard’s campus as a “living laboratory” — when possible — for testing and evaluating their ideas.“Our faculty are driving solutions and generating new insights across the widest of disciplines, from engineering to history and public health, and we witnessed this power of integrated knowledge in the breadth and strength of the proposals we saw,” said Vice Provost for Research Richard McCullough, whose office administers the fund. “Research must play an essential role in helping us build a healthier, more sustainable future.”This year’s winners are:Alan Aspuru-Guzik, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Aspuru-Guzik will focus on lowering the cost of solar cells by exploring the use of commercially available organic dyes as the solar energy conversion component.Roy Gordon, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Gordon will also focus on lowering the costs of solar energy, developing thin-film technology by depositing vapors on ordinary window glass, using abundant and nontoxic materials.Wendy Jacobs and Alma Cohen, Harvard Law School. Jacobs and Cohen will work with existing community organizations to encourage behavior changes that meaningfully reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build social and political support for policies to mitigate climate change.David Keith, Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences/Harvard Kennedy School; Peter Irvine, Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Keith and Irvine will investigate potential ramifications for sea level changes from use of solar geoengineering, which could counteract the warming effects of carbon emissions by introducing tiny reflective particles into the upper atmosphere to reflect rays from the sun back into space.Katherine Konschnik and Jody Freeman, Harvard Law School. Konschnik and Freeman’s project, called Power Shift, will help policymakers, regulators, and stakeholders design a modern legal infrastructure to support 21st-century electricity by creating and supporting a new network of expert communities.Holly Samuelson, Harvard Graduate School of Design; Jose Guillermo Cedeño Laurent, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Joel McKellar and Doug Livingston, Harvard Green Building Services. This project will use Harvard’s campus as a “living laboratory” to find a better way to measure the overall climate impact of existing buildings, leveraging data from occupant behavior to improve construction and renovation planning tools.Robert Stavins, Harvard Kennedy School. Stavins will drive a program of multidisciplinary research and analysis that contributes significantly to the elaboration of the Paris climate agreement and to a better understanding of institutions and processes that may complement the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.Elsie Sunderland and Daniel Jacob, Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences; James Hammitt, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Through both science-based and policy lenses, these investigators will study the effects of opening up new hydroelectric sites, which release large pulses of the potent greenhouse gas methane into the atmosphere, in order to identify feasible alternatives and mitigation strategies.Eli Tziperman, Faculty of Arts and Sciences; Leah Birch and Tim Cronin, Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. This groupwill study the prospects for survival, melting, and growth of mountain glaciers under climate changes through a new atmospheric model capable of simulating regional climates.Steven Wofsy, Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences; Wendy Jacobs, Harvard Law School; Lucy Hutyra, Boston University/Arnold Arboretum. This two-pronged project seeks to understand and offset greenhouse gas emissions in metro Boston by identifying sources of natural gas loss and carbon dioxide emissions and designing policy and legal responses to address them.This is the second year of awards from the $20 million fund. Read more about select winners here, and last year’s winners here.last_img read more

Your credit union’s ALLL model may be due for a check-up

first_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr by: Tom DanielsonLike visiting a doctor for a physical, your financial institution should periodically test the health of its Allowance for Loan and Lease Losses (ALLL) model. It’s not just a good business practice (an underfunded ALLL overstates equity and earnings and casts doubt on management’s ability to accurately report the institution’s financial condition), it’s a regulatory requirement.The Interagency Policy Statement on the Allowance for Loan and Lease Losses says the validation process should include “procedures for a review, by a party who is independent of the institution’s credit approval and ALLL estimation processes, of the ALLL methodology, and its application in order to confirm its effectiveness.”The statement goes on to say that the independent party could be:The internal audit staffA risk management unit of the institutionAn external auditor (subject to applicable auditor independence standards)Another contracted third party from outside the institution continue reading »last_img read more

Who needs you today?

first_imgScott is the Principal of Your Credit Union Partner, PLLC.Your Credit Union Partner (YCUP) is a trusted advisor to the leaders of more than 100 credit unions located throughout … Web: www.yourcupartner.org Details 37SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Scott Butterfield The credit union movement was founded on the principle of service.We’ve all heard the phrases:Not for profit, not for charity, but for service.People helping people.The real job of a credit union is to prove, in modest measure, the practicality of the brotherhood of man.Credit union history teaches us that the ideal of service means more than better rates, lower fees, and friendly service. My experience as a credit union employee for more than 25 years, and as a strategic consultant for past seven years, has taught me that credit union service was founded on a little bit more. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”Like the fictional world depicted in Charles Dickens’s “A Tale of Two Cities,” the world around us is full of hope and despair. It’s a time of the haves and the have-nots; it’s a time of peace and a time of war; it’s a time of prosperity and it’s a time of poverty. While times and the world have changed drastically since the beginning of the credit union movement, the need for meaningful service is higher than ever. There are a lot of people who need financial help today, and that involves more than a lower interest rate, a smile, and a cool mobile app. They need you.Most of us (but not all) get itI talk to a very diverse group of credit union people every single day. It’s what I do. Many of these conversations are focused on why their credit union exists, what makes their credit union uniquely stand out, and how they can remain relevant in a changing world. The most successful conversations (and strategies) are centered on a deeper definition of service. By deeper, I mean these credit union leaders will tell you that they exist to help people who are experiencing financial challenges. They do this by truly listening, then offering good financial advice, flexible products (and underwriting), and second chances. Their teams trip over each other trying to find ways to help those members experiencing the greatest need. They are less judgmental of people and the financial challenges they are faced with, they have empathy, and they spend more time looking at situations from the member’s perspective. I get to work with a host of credit unions strongly engaged in their local communities, taking on tough community and consumer challenges. These leaders are investing (financially and in Human Resources) to help overlooked consumers attain affordable housing, reliable transportation, and micro small-business loans to help create wealth and lift families out of poverty. Ask these credit union folks and they will tell you they have a very strong and clear cause, and it resonates with their people and the communities they serve.They love to share amazing stories of how they helped members through a difficult challenge. Their measurement of success is deeper than earnings, capital, and growth. Examples of what they measure and track include credit migration scores to see how borrowers who had less than prime credit at the time of the loan have improved their overall credit score over time; the number of jobs created (through new micro-business lending); first-time account holders (previously unbanked); the number of first-time homeowners; and the number of consumers they helped achieve citizenship. This list isn’t all encompassing, but it provides good examples of a deeper level of service and impact.I love to talk to these CU people. Whether it’s their boards, management or their staff, these people light up whenever they get the opportunity to tell you about the special services they provide to their membership and their communities. And their stories aren’t one-offs; they happen frequently, and are common themes between branches.Why it mattersThere are a lot of people and communities struggling today. If you take a moment to look closely around you, you will find people who need you. Sick family members, discouraged friends, stressed-out coworkers, and struggling credit-union members. They need someone to notice and help them. Your help – whether it’s a word of comfort or encouragement, removing an obstacle, financial help, advice, or just active listening – could have a meaningful, positive impact. Today, you could make a meaningful difference in someone’s life.From a personal perspective, giving service gives us a stronger sense of purpose and fulfillment. I believe there is a difference between fulfillment and happiness. Fulfillment is more important to me, as it’s deeper and more long-lasting than happiness. I’m happy when I get to go fly fishing, but that happiness isn’t long-lasting. However, the fulfillment I receive from helping someone is deeper: I become a better person, and it is long-lasting. We all want to be happier, but I would recommend pursuing those things that provide greater fulfillment and personal growth.From a credit union’s perspective, the more our people help one another, our members and our communities at large, the greater the fulfillment for the individual and the culture. This will lead to a stronger brand, and greater growth and financial results. I believe that culture eats strategy for breakfast: greater growth and financial success will follow a stronger credit union service culture. A helpful culture will make us employers of choice, and we will attract community partners that share our values and purpose.From a credit union movement’s perspective, doubling down on our legacy of selfless service is all that will separate us from the rest of the mainstream financial services. I know that our cooperative structure is different, but I honestly don’t think it matters much to consumers en masse. If I’m like most average consumers, I don’t think the world needs more for-profit banks or “bank light” credit unions. There are plenty available to take care of those who are in good financial shape. My research and experience with best-practice community development credit unions has taught me that there is high need for not-for-profit credit unions that will help people with financial challenges and address real challenges in the communities they serve. I also know that these service models are sustainable, and among the fastest-growing and most profitable. It’s true, credit unions can do very well by doing good.If you haven’t yet done so today, I encourage you to take a moment, look around you, identify someone in need, and go make a positive difference. If you are in leadership, I ask you to take an extra moment to consider your membership and the communities you serve. Who needs your help the most, and how can you marshal the resources needed to make a remarkable difference? Now, get after it.last_img read more

CUNA engaged with FY2021 appropriations hearings this week

first_img continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Both chambers of Congress are in Washington, D.C. this week and CUNA will be engaged with a number of hearings covering credit union priorities. Appropriations bills for fiscal year 2021 will be the subject of several hearings.On Wednesday, the House Appropriations subcommittee on financial services and general government (FSGG) will conduct a hearing on its legislation. FSGG bills contain appropriations for several important credit union funds, including the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Fund, NCUA’s Community Development Revolving Loan Program, and the Small Business Administration’s 7(a) and 504 loan programs.Other hearings CUNA will be engaged with this week include:Tuesday, 9 a.m. (ET): House Ways and Means Committee hearing, proposed FY2021 budget for the U.S. Treasury;last_img read more

Personalization of content as the leading strategy of hotel brands

first_imgAccor’s digital strategy over the past five years has mainly focused on increasing direct bookings through a halo of luxury and exclusivity. So far, their personalization strategy has focused on customizing the experience during the experience, but also on revenue management. Magnuson Hotels Accor Marriott Marriott directs most of its artificial intelligence through the Bonvoy mobile app. Based on user data, intentions, and attribution data, the application makes complex recommendations regarding the destination offer. Another major initiative is Marriott’s partnership with Salesforce to launch a customer recognition platform, which provides a view of each guest’s profile. The goal is to gather all customer interactions so that Marriott staff can act on the information received. Storing this data also allows Marriott to serve digital content based on behavioral and demographic data. Best Western Consumers require a personalized experience. Airbnb has invested heavily in artificial intelligence to learn from the bookings of their “Experiences” program upon completion of the accommodation reservation. “Historical data show that Japanese travelers, when visiting Paris, prefer lectures and workshops (such as perfume making), while American tourists prefer experiences with food and drink,” explains one of the scientists on the machine learning project. But interestingly, the Airbnb homepage is not personalized for unsubscribed users who have recently searched, but is static. Caesar’s IHG Companies today have more data than ever before to launch personalization. And the good news is that personalization and artificial intelligence are still in the infancy of most hotels and catering companies. So the field is wide. Hilton recently hired more than 150 scientists to help collect more than a billion data a day. One of the main areas of activity is their communication via e-mail, which now functions as an automatic one-on-one communication. “Today we send fewer e-mails than before, but engagement and key business indicators are better. More e-mail does not result in higher revenue – personalized mail and communication result in higher revenue, ”said Wesley Albaugh, Hilton’s personalization manager. Approximately 80 percent of digital personalization is done via email communication, so it’s no surprise that Hilton has invested in optimizing this channel. All IHG marketing communications, whether via email, SMS or Facebook Messenger, come from a single platform so that personalization and contextualization can include centralized analytics. They are also integrated with language processing tools to improve the “virtual assistant” and shorten customer service query processing time. Radisson Caesar’s, like many other Las Vegas brands, had to rely on innovation to attract younger consumers who are not interested in gambling. Their technologies use a deep learning algorithm that creates an “emotional profile” of customers and communicates to each individual, via e-mail, in an appropriate manner. These personalized messages led to a 12 percent increase in email openings. And Choice “threw himself” into the waters of artificial intelligence to optimize revenue. “Even the results of the small investment in artificial intelligence have been outstanding,” explains Terrilin Tourangeau, director of loyalty marketing. Best Western was the first large hotel chain to launch artificial intelligence ads aided by IBM’s Watson program. Also, since 2014, they have been using personalized email communication as well as geolocation. Personalization has become one of the primary digital strategies in the tourism sector. So at least many travel companies claim. But whether personalization is really implemented in the digital structure of online platforms, we will check in the analysis of emails, landing pages and ads conducted by the Hospitality Net website. Magnuson plans to simplify basic personalization with the ability to select a location at the top of their website. However, it is unclear which new content will be delivered after the search. Hilton Airbnb Their interactions with brands like Amazon have become standard – they want a customized experience that anticipates their wants and needs. Amazon makes about 35 percent of its sales through a referral mechanism. Choice Hotels In 2018, Radisson appointed Accenture as a global experience agency to use the data obtained for targeted campaigns. The agency said it plans to increase traffic with selected content and implement a “chatbot” specifically designed for event planning and meetings. Source: Hospitality Net Cover photo: Pixabay.comlast_img read more

Leafs first to ten after outlasting Bruins 6-5 in Boundary City

first_imgKyle Dolley, with Aaron Dunlap serving a four-minute spearing penalty, and Tucker Brown scored before the period ended to pull the Brins to within one goal before the period ended.The teams traded goals in the second — Wellman with this second and Michael Rand replying for the Bruins.In the third Vlanich scored his first of two before Max Newtown made the score 5-4.After Vlanich scored into an empty net, Dolly made the game a little interesting with a marker at the 19:52 mark.Tyler Moffat was once again in goal to register the win as Nelson search for a replacement for Adam Maida, lost to the team due to a knee injury.Nelson remains on top of the Murdoch Division with a 10-0-1-1 record.The Bruins fall to 6-6-1-0 and sit fourth in Murdoch standings.ICE CHIPS: Jamie Vlanich (10-19-29) finished the game with six points to move into second spot in KIJHL scoring race, one point behind Nick Josephs of Kelowna. Teammate Travis Wellan (19-7-26) is tied for third. . . . Nelson netminder Tyler Moffat leads the KIJHL in wins with eight. Moffat, who played the last two seasons in Creston, is fifth overall in goalies with a .906 save percentage. . . .Jackson Purvis (9-15-24) of Grand Forks is tied for fifth in KIJHL scoring. . . .Nelson takes to the road for a three-game swing through the Okanagan/Shuswap Conference with stops in Armstrong (Friday), Kelowna (Saturday) and Summerland (Sunday). . . .Next up for Grand Forks is a home date Saturday against Castlegar Rebels. The Nelson Leafs ran its record to a Kootenay International Junior Hockey League high ten games by outlasting the Grand Forks Border Bruins 6-5 Saturday night in the Boundary City.Jamie Vlanich’s second goal of the game, into an empty net, proved to be the winner as Nelson held off the vastly improved Bruins.The win came on the heels of an amazing comeback Friday against Beaver Valley. Nelson trailed 4-0 entering the third period before rallying for a 6-4 victory.The Leafs led from start to finish, opening up a 3-0 lead six minutes into the contest on goals by Travis Wellman, Brandon Sookro and Alec Wilkerson.Wilkerson’s goal was on the power play.last_img read more