Series: SITC @ UNH Spotlights: Matthew Oriente
In collaboration with the non-profit College for Social Innovation, UNH has given three undergraduate fellows the opportunity to have a meaningful semester-long internship experience on campus through the SITC @ UNH program. In continuation with our series spotlighting SITC @ UNH student fellows, we’re highlighting the work of Matt Oriente, a sophomore studying Business Administration with a dual major in Sustainability.
Matt has spent this semester interning with the UNH Foundation and has worked closely with financial consultants, Prime Buchholz LLC in Portsmouth, NH as part of this work. He has dedicated his time to developing a scoring methodology that will evaluate the UNH endowment fund’s sustainable investing practices.
The UNH Foundation was established in 1989 and strives to strengthen programs, support deserving students and provide other opportunities related to funding and investing. Their objective is to preserve the purchasing power of its endowed funds and generate a market return that will exceed distributions, expenses, and inflation effects. In order to do so, they have split their investing opportunities into two strategic options, unconstrained strategy and ESG strategy.
Matt is passionate about sustainable investing and has been evaluating UNH’s investments using ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) factors. This relatively new and progressive method of analyzing risk outside of financial returns allows investors to look at a business’ environmental or social impact. Often times companies with higher ESG standards may have better operational performance, innovation, risk management and reputations, leading to reduced costs. Matt’s work with the UNH Foundation will help develop and implement a numerical-point scale that classifies the sustainability of each investment option. Then, the Foundation will be able to better assess their investments and continue to invest in companies and opportunities that score high in sustainable practices.
Matt is excited that his work will help improve UNH as a sustainable institution and maintain its STARS Platinum rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). UNH is currently one of only nine institutions of higher education to achieve the highest Platinum ranking.
During his extensive work, Matt has leaned on knowledge obtained through his classes to help. Participating in the SITC @ UNH courses, such as “Social Innovators Toolbox” has given him insight on the relevancy of his work and how important sustainability is to the future of business. Additionally, his other course, “Becoming a Problem Solver” has taught him valuable skills to bring to the workplace, including professional development, utilizing virtual networks to work from home and conducting future informational interviews in a corporate environment.
Matt praises his first internship opportunity, “I’ve really enjoyed integrating sustainability into the business world and this experience is opening my eyes to that industry.” Matt hopes to employ the skills he has developed through his experience in future endeavors. Although Matt has no concrete future plans, the meaningful work he’s done for the UNH Foundation has influenced his future goals of working in sustainable investing.
Matt chose to participate in SITC @ UNH because he wanted to continue to have “the full college experience” at the Durham campus. He enjoys participating in Jazz Band and Net Impact UNH, as well as still being able to live and hang out with his friends here in Durham. Matt also mentors three Changemaker Fellows as a Changemaker Coach. He has worked with his mentees to apply sustainability outside of the classroom. Matt advises students to, “take advantage of the things that you learn in each activity and integrate them into other activities or organizations.” He is also enjoying connecting his team-building activities learned from his classes into his other collaborative ventures such as band practices. Matt’s experience with SITC @ UNH has allowed him to garner real-world experience, develop necessary business skills and make connections within successful companies all while staying local on the Durham campus.
UNH DEPARTMENTS: Interested in hosting a SITC @ UNH fellow?
Contact Jennifer Andrews, Sustainability Project Director.