General Information The template

Professor Information

Instructor Profile Picture


Dr. Aurora Dawn Benton



(443) 561-4295

Office Hours

By Appointment

Turn Around Time

Within 24 hours

Course Description and Purpose

Building and activating a Green Team is vital for starting or continuing sustainability and corporate responsibility initiatives. Integrating sustainability throughout your hospitality and service operations is the only way to ensure those efforts will endure longer than the last person in the business who was responsible for them. A Green Team is an effective way to share the responsibilities and maintaining consistent sustainability activities even through turnover and other disruptive events that can get a business off course. It can bring together different departments around a common purpose and set of goals, enhancing organizational culture and triple bottom line impact.

Course Methodology 

The course is presented in a participative learning format. This class consists of firsthand experiences on forming a green team and launching sustainability initiatives in a hospitality or service environment. Students learn through subject matter expert lecturers, presentations, case studies, best practices, online discussions, and practical projects. Students are quizzed on comprehension of the course content. Course will include group and individual participation. It is important that assignments are completed so that meaningful discussion can take place. 

Course Objectives

Upon completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Define the sustainability team and its role in an organization.
  2. Describe who you should engage in your sustainability efforts and how to get their buy-in.
  3. Establish a green team in an organization or workplace.
  4. Choose the key issues and initiatives the team will implement.
  5. Organize team meetings and activities.

Global Learning Outcomes

Global Awareness (GA): Students will be able to describe the holistic and interrelated dimensions of sustainability.

Global Perspective (GP): Students will be able to discuss economic, socio-cultural and environmental sustainability through the lens of various local, national and international stakeholders and describe their rights and responsibilities towards more sustainable tourism development.

Global Engagement (GE):  Students will be able to understand ways to be globally engaged in improving sustainability in tourism and demonstrate a willingness to become and auditor for sustainable tourism.

Important Information


Please review the FIU's Policies webpage. The policies webpage contains essential information regarding guidelines relevant to all courses at FIU, as well as additional information about acceptable netiquette for online courses. For additional information, please visit FIU's Policy and Procedure Library.

 As a member of the FIU community you are expected to be knowledgeable about the behavioral expectations set forth in the FIU Student Conduct and Honor Code.

Technical Requirements and Skills

One of the greatest barriers to taking an online course is a lack of basic computer literacy. By computer literacy, we mean being able to manage and organize computer files efficiently and learning to use your computer's operating system and software quickly and easily. Keep in mind that this is not a computer literacy course, but students enrolled in online courses are expected to have moderate proficiency using a computer. Please go to the What's Required webpage to find out more information on this subject.

Privacy Policy Statements for Partners and Vendors

Please visit our Technical Requirements webpage for additional information.

Accessibility and Accommodation

The Disability Resource Center collaborates with students, faculty, staff, and community members to create diverse learning environments that are usable, equitable, inclusive, and sustainable. The DRC provides FIU students with disabilities the necessary support to successfully complete their education and participate in activities available to all students. If you have a diagnosed disability and plan to utilize academic accommodations, please contact the Center at 305-348-3532 or visit them at the Graham Center GC 190.

For additional assistance please contact FIU's Disability Resource Center.

Web Accessibility Statements for Partners and Vendors 

Please visit our ADA Compliance webpage for additional information about accessibility involving the tools used in this course.

Academic Misconduct Statement

Florida International University is a community dedicated to generating and imparting knowledge through excellent teaching and research, the rigorous and respectful exchange of ideas, and community service. All students should respect the right of others to have an equitable opportunity to learn and honestly demonstrate the quality of their learning. Therefore, all students are expected to adhere to a standard of academic conduct, which demonstrates respect for themselves, their fellow students, and the educational mission of the University. All students are deemed by the University to understand that if they are found responsible for academic misconduct, they will be subject to the Academic Misconduct procedures and sanctions, as outlined in the Student Conduct and Honor Code. Academic Misconduct includes:


  • The unauthorized use of any materials, information, study aids or assistance from another person on any academic assignment or exercise, unless explicitly authorized by the course Instructor; 
  • Assisting another student in the unauthorized use of any materials, information, study aids, unless explicitly authorized by the Instructor; and 
  • Having a substitute complete any academic assignment or completing an academic assignment for someone else, either paid or unpaid; and


  • The deliberate use and appropriation of another are work without any indication of the source and the representation of such work as the Student's own.
  • Assisting another student in the deliberate use and appropriation of another’s work without any indication of the source and the representation of such work as the student’s own. 

Learn more about the academic integrity policies and procedures as well as student resources that can help you prepare for a successful semester.

Panthers Care & Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)

If you are looking for help for yourself or a fellow classmate, Panthers Care encourages you to express any concerns you may come across as it relates to any personal behavior concerns or worries you have, for the classmate’s well-being or yours; you are encouraged to share your concerns with FIU’s Panthers Care website.

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) offers free and confidential help for anxiety, depression, stress, and other concerns that life brings. Professional counselors are available for same-day appointments. Don’t wait to call (305) 348-2277 to set up a time to talk or visit the online self-help portal.

Inclusivity Statement

This course will serve to embrace the diversity and inclusivity found within Florida International University. We appreciate and respect diversity, equality, equity, cooperativeness, community, and sustainability within our online courses. We are committed to the ongoing education of our students and their participation within the course regardless of gender, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, geographical location, religion, and disability. We strive in encouraging collaboration by preparing our students to value the differences in others. At the core of our intentions is the encouragement of acceptance and appreciation of differences within our student population and community.

Course Prerequisites

There are no prerequisites for this course.

Textbook and Course Materials

Sustainability is a Team Sport
title : 

Sustainability is a Team Sport

authors : 

Dr. Aurora Dawn Benton

publisher : 


publish date : 


notes : 
additional notes : 

Purchase the online e-text and toolkit. There are also worksheets you will download and use for assignments and practice quizzes.

This toolkit and e-text is a step-by-step roadmap for recruiting and launching a green team, prioritizing initiatives, gaining traction, and overcoming objections. In this course, Learners are Doers! If you follow the playbook you will launch a sustainability team! 

The e-text contains 19 lessons with bite-sized content (videos 10 minutes or less); a 90+ page workbook with team and leader exercises and activities, tips, tools, and resources; and exercises that help you take a Sustainability Team Toolkit spreadsheet that accompanies many of the lessons. There is also bonus content including interviews with sustainability experts. 

Expectations of This Course

This is an online course, which means most (if not all) of the course work will be conducted online. Expectations for performance in an online course are the same for a traditional course. In fact, online courses require a degree of self-motivation, self-discipline, and technology skills which can make these courses more demanding for some students.

Students are expected to:

  • review the getting started page located in the course modules;
  • introduce yourself to the class during the first week by posting a self-introduction in the appropriate discussion;
  • take the practice quiz to ensure that your computer is compatible with the learning management system, Canvas;
  • interact online with instructor and peers;
  • review and follow the course calendar and weekly outlines;
  • log in to the course 3 times per week;
  • respond to discussions by the due date specified. No late work will be accepted; 
  • respond to emails within 2 days; 
  • submit assignments by the corresponding deadline

The instructor will:

  • log in to the course 4 times week;
  • respond to discussion postings within 7 days of the deadline
  • respond to emails within 24 hours
  • grade assignments within 7 days of the assignment deadline.

Course Detail

Course Communication

Communication in this course will take place via the Canvas Inbox. Check out the Canvas Conversations Tutorial or Canvas Guide to learn how to communicate with your instructor and peers using Announcements, Discussions, and the Inbox. I will respond to all correspondences within 24 hours.

Discussion Forums

Keep in mind that your discussion forum postings will likely be seen by other members of the course. Care should be taken when determining what to post.

Discussion Forum Expectations:

  • The initial discussion post should be submitted by Wednesday by end of day of the week they are assigned.
  • The initial post should be a minimum of 200 words.
  • The initial post may require the use of outside references. Check the instructions for each discussion to determine if and how many references are required. References can be a link to a website or an article, a page number from the textbook, reference to an academic journal article, etc. It is acceptable to use blogs and popular articles but be sure you can support and substantiate your claims and ideas. The more outside references you use, the more credible your argument. Use APA format for in-text citations and references.
  • You should respond to a minimum of two classmates’ posts
  • Responses to classmates’ posts should further the conversation by either expanding on the original post with new and additional ideas and research, asking questions to clarify or expand upon the original post, offer analogies or examples to support the original post, or present an opposing viewpoint in a respectful manner. Simple responses such as “I agree” or similar statements will not count towards the two responses. 
  • Students should post original, quality work. Be sure to use spell check and grammar review. 
  • Images, files, chart, diagrams, videos, and other documents or multimedia that are relevant to the post are encouraged but not required. 
  • Discussion forum activity should occur during at least two different days during the week. The value of the discussion is to enrich the conversation over time. If your initial post and all responses occur on the same day, points will be deducted. 
  • Discussions will close on Sunday of the week and no posts or responses after end of day Sunday will be considered in the grade. 
  • Keep in mind that your discussion forum postings will likely be seen by other members of the course. Care should be taken when determining what to post.


In order to mitigate any issues with your computer and online assessments, it is very important that you take the "Practice Quiz" from each computer you will be using to take your graded quizzes and exams. It is your responsibility to make sure your computer meets the minimum hardware requirements.

All quizzes will auto-submit when (1) the timer runs out OR (2) the closing date/time is reached, whichever happens first. For example, if a quiz has a closing time of 5:00 pm but the student begins the exam at 4:55 pm, the student will only have 5 minutes to complete the quiz.

Quizzes are all multiple choice and will vary in time allotted based on number of questions in the quiz. Please be sure you check the details and instructions for each quiz.

Assessments in this course are not compatible with mobile devices and should not be taken through a mobile phone or a tablet. If you need further assistance please contact FIU Canvas Help Team.

Zoom Video Conference 

Zoom is a video conference tool that you can use to interact with your professor and fellow students by sharing screens, chatting, broadcasting live video/audio, and taking part in other interactive online activities. We will be utilizing this tool to conduct a midpoint group call with the instructor and the final presentations, as well as any one-on-one calls as need to support your learning and sustainability journey.

Zoom Meetings will be held on the following dates/time: TBD - a Doodle poll will be posted to determine times.

Zoom meetings can be accessed via the Zoom link in the course announcement the Instructor will share in advance. Once you click on the Zoom link, it will route you to join the meeting for the respective class session. Before joining an actual class session:

If you encounter any technical difficulties, please contact the FIU Canvas Help Team. Please ensure you contact support immediately upon the issue occurring.


Course RequirementsNumber of ItemsPoints for EachTotal Points AvailableWeight
Midpoint call with Instructor180808%


Final Report and Presentation

Grading Schema

Name From To
< 95%
< 90%
< 87%
< 83%
< 80%
< 77%
< 70%
< 60%

Course Calendar


Weekly Schedule


Week 1: Jan 10 – 16 

Watch videos for lessons 1 – 3 

Discussion 1 The Organization’s Sustainability 

Submit survey for where your green team will be launched 

Week 2: Jan 17 – 23  

Watch videos for lessons 1 – 3

Read workbook sections for lessons 1 – 3 

Explore the resource links for lessons 1 – 3

Discussion 2 Sustainable Development Goals

Quiz 1 on lessons 2 and 3

Week 3: Jan 24 – 30  

Watch videos for lessons 4, 5

Read workbook sections for lessons 4, 5

Explore the resource links for lessons 4, 5

Assignment 1 Business Case Ideas and Stakeholder Engagement Toolkit Tabs. Due Sunday by midnight.

Week 4: Jan 31 – Feb 06    

Watch videos for lessons 6 – 8 

Read workbook sections for lessons 6 – 8

Explore the resource links for lessons 6 – 8 

Discussion 3 Greenwashing and Inconsistencies

Quiz 2 on lessons 6 – 8

Green Team recruitment – you should be having conversations already with potential members of the green team and starting to help others understand the possibilities.  

Week 5: Feb 07 – 13   

Watch videos for lessons 9, 10 

Read workbook sections for lessons 9, 10

Explore the resource links for lessons 9, 10

Quiz 3 on lessons 9 and 10

Week 6: Feb 14 – 20  

Watch videos for lesson 11 

Read workbook sections for lesson 11

Required video call with professor on Representation and Characteristics

Week 7: Feb 21 – 27  

Lesson 11 (continued) 

Hold a recruitment meeting or activity (not graded this week and the meeting does not have to be in week 7 but you are required to perform some type of recruitment activity and summarize it in final presentation)

Week 8: Feb 28 – Mar 06 

Spring Break

Week 9: Mar 07 – 13  

Watch videos for lessons 12, 13 

Read workbook sections for lessons 12, 13

Explore the resource links for lessons 12, 13

Quiz 4 on lessons 11 – 13

Assignment 2 Team Setup (charter plus multiple Toolkit Tabs filled in)  

Week 10: Mar 14- 20 

Watch videos for lessons 14 – 16 

Read workbook sections for lessons 14 – 16

Explore the resource links for lessons 14 – 16

Discussion 4 on Team Update

Week 11: Mar 21 – 27 

Lessons 14 – 16 (continued) 

Quiz 5 on lessons 14 – 16

Survey staff on Priorities & Causes (informal or formal) (this is part of Assignment 4 in week 13 but don’t wait until the last minute!)

Prep for assignment due next week

Week 12: Mar 28 – Apr 03    

Lessons 14 – 16 (continued) 

Quiz 5 on lessons 14 – 16

Assignment 3 Volunteer and Activity Plans

Week 13: Apr 04 – 10 

Watch videos for lesson 17 

Read workbook sections for lesson 17

Assignment 4 Priorities and SMART Goals Toolkit Tabs 

Week 14: Apr 11 – 17  

Watch videos for lesson 18 

Read workbook sections for lesson 18

Discussion 5 Naysayer Role Play  

Week 15: Apr 18 – 24 

Watch videos for lesson 19 

Read workbook sections for lesson 19

Quiz 6 on lessons 17 – 19

Final Report due Sunday by midnight

Extra credit: TBD and optional. Due Sunday, April 24th

Week 16: Apr 25 – 28 

Final presentation: Green Team Executive Pitch Presentation

Presentation schedule will be posted in the class

Assignment Descriptions


The purpose of this call is to discuss one of the more important elements of recruiting a green team: ensuring it is diverse and inclusive. The topic of representation and diversity, equity, inclusion can be complex and sensitive. This is an opportunity for you to learn how to express your ideas on the topic professionally, ask thoughtful questions, and actively listen to others. 

This call will be with groups of 4 or 5 classmates and last 60 to 90 minutes depending on the number of students in one session. On the call, students take turns to share: 

  • Their organization’s DEI policy/efforts or lack thereof, social dynamics that they should be aware of, etc.
  • Their personal experiences of being excluded, or being on or trying to build a diverse team
  • Their ideas for being inclusive with the green team (thus far, who do they feel is missing?, what plans do they have to make the team more diverse?, etc.)

One way to get past the “skin” and “surface” diversity elements and show how people think and process differently, and it’s important to take time to better explore these aspects as well. One example of a tool you can use is the VIA Institute on Character’s assessment (Links to an external site.). This site does require registration but is free. Fill this assessment in and submit your results. 

Come to the call ready to share your key takeaways from the assessment and we will discuss what you learned about yourself, what you wish others better understood about you, how your strengths make you a value member of a team, etc. We will also discuss how results of an assessment like this can be used to expand the diversity of a team. 

Note: if you have taken other strengths or personality assessments you may share those results instead. Please contact the instructor in advance for approval of the type of information you would like to share. For example, if you have done the Gallup Strengths Finder assessment, you may submit those results.

This call is worth 80 points and will be conducted between weeks 6 and 8. In early February, the instructor will send a list of available times for the video call. Sign up slots will be on a first come, first serve basis. With more than two weeks advance notice, you should be able to make arrangements to be on the call. If you miss your appointed call time, you will receive a zero for this portion of your grade. 

Project Assignments 

The project for this course is designed to give students a real-life opportunity to apply the concepts of the course and the toolkit available in the online Sustainability is a Team Sport Digital Toolkit. For this project, each student will select a facility to be your project subject. This can be where you work (e.g. a hotel, restaurant, etc.), a place of worship or volunteer work (e.g. church or community center), a friend or family member’s place of employment, etc. 

Key requirements for the project site selection are: 

  • A place where the leader is interested in, or at least curious about sustainability, and willing to have conversations and consider implementing ideas from the toolkits. You should obtain permission from an authorized person to perform the assignment on their business. You may need access to certain employees or information. You should not require access to sensitive information to complete your assignment. If you need information that is not forthcoming from the business, you may find information online on the business or corporate brand website or substitute common industry data or other research. Be sure you can justify your assumptions. 
  • At least 2 employees/volunteers on the team. Remember, the idea of the course is to learn how to form and motivate teams to create and implement sustainability initiatives, so the bigger the team the more experience you’ll get! But if you are in a situation where the staff size is very small or you are unable to recruit a large team, remember that even 2 people makes a team. 
  • Approved by the instructor. In week 1, students will submit to the instructor the name, location, and website of the business they wish to conduct their project on. Ideally, the business will be in the hospitality/tourism sector, but other service-oriented businesses may also qualify at the discretion of the instructor (examples include healthcare facilities, schools, retail businesses, or professional offices).

The project assignments will draw from the Toolkit worksheets students will use throughout the course to guide an organization through the forming and launching of a green team. 

Each student is responsible for the following: 

  • Fill in the Toolkit worksheets to the best of your ability for the chosen organization, using input from the leaders and staff. These will be submitted as 4 different assignments per the course schedule above. Add your first and last name in the file title of your submission. 
  • Communicate regularly with the key contact at the business who will be responsible for starting and/or leading the green team. The goal is for you to learn from a real-world scenario and the more you hear directly from the business, the better you will understand the challenges and dynamics of forming and managing a green team. 
  • Begin working early on the worksheets! Skim ahead so you will know what is expected and have plenty of time to recruit your team, work together on assignments, and prepare for all of the elements of the final report.  
  • Create and deliver a final presentation, per the expectations below and in the Canvas course. 

Details for each assignment can be found under the Assignments link in Canvas.

Final Report and Presentation 

The final project includes a report and a presentation. 

For the final report, you are basically summarizing all of the work from the toolkit and assignments and creating an executive summary style report. Not every single detail is needed for high level decision makers, so you should select the most important and compelling information, and must include: 

  • The top 3 business case opportunities – description, quantify the benefits, and explain what resources are needed to pursue them (investments, training, policy, etc.).
  • The top 5 most important/influential stakeholders – why should they be included and brief recommendations to engage and manage them. 
  • The top 3 to 5 recommended issue priorities and brief justification (include the results of the issues and causes staff survey, if applicable). 
  • Two SMART goals. An advanced addition here would be to emphasize measurement and recommend data or metrics needed to set baselines, or if possible, to have taken baseline metrics. 
  • The top 3 to 5 initiatives the team will complete or oversee within the next year. Note that these could directly tie to the business case opportunities from #1 above; however, a top business case priority may not necessarily translate to a green team activity and a key green team activity may not be associated with a top business case opportunity. For example, a top business case idea could be to install a new HVAC system. It is highly unlikely the green team will be involved in that. The green team will likely include a volunteer outing in one of its top activities, but this may not necessarily register as a key business case idea. 
    • Include high level description and timeline. 
    • If any of these activities are already taking place, include results, photos, charts, examples, etc. 
    • Request permission and resources needed to accomplish these team objectives. 
  • Briefly describe the team. Explain challenges and obstacles the team has faced (e.g., getting representation from a particular department, what is missing to make the team inclusive and diverse, meeting and engagement challenges, objections from staff and managers, etc.). Be brief and focus on solutions and what the executive can do to help you. If possible, include a team photo. 

The final presentation will be 10 to 15 minutes and can include whichever of the above elements you wish to include. Treat the presentation as though you are delivering it to a key executive you wish to get more support and resources for the team. 

In the final presentation, you should demonstrate you understand the concepts from Lessons 17 – 19 and present ideas for overcoming key objections and moving the team forward. 

Do not simply repeat what is in the report or read slides with lots of text. This is an opportunity to really convey the value and possibilities of the team. Use this as an opportunity for storytelling that you would not include in the report but would be an interesting experience for an executive to hear about. 

The slides should be submitted in either Power Point or if you use other tools such as Canva or Prezi, please submit a PDF version.


0% of Total
Due Jan 16 2022 at 11:59 pm | 30 pts
Due Jan 23 2022 at 11:59 pm | 30 pts
Due Feb 06 2022 at 11:59 pm | 30 pts
Due Mar 20 2022 at 11:59 pm | 30 pts
Due Apr 17 2022 at 11:59 pm | 30 pts
0% of Total
Due Jan 30 2022 at 11:59 pm | 100 pts
Due Mar 13 2022 at 11:59 pm | 80 pts
Due Apr 03 2022 at 11:59 pm | 100 pts
Due Apr 10 2022 at 11:59 pm | 100 pts
Due Mar 06 2022 at 11:59 pm | 80 pts
Due Apr 24 2022 at 11:59 pm | 80 pts
Due Jan 23 2022 at 11:59 pm | 40 pts
Due Feb 06 2022 at 11:59 pm | 40 pts
Due Apr 24 2022 at 11:59 pm | 40 pts
Due Apr 27 2022 at 11:59 pm | 60 pts
Due Feb 13 2022 at 11:59 pm | 40 pts
Due Mar 12 2022 at 11:00 pm | 40 pts
Due Mar 27 2022 at 11:59 pm | 40 pts