Socially Responsible Investment Club Students Manage $100,000 at University of Pittsburgh
By Tyler Collins
After years of theory and practice, student-members of the Socially Responsible Investment Club (SRIC) at the University of Pittsburgh now has the opportunity to invest $100,000 in ethical and responsible companies.
Started in 2007 by advisor and professor, Jay W. Sukits, the club consists of undergraduate students, many of whom are also participating in the Certificate Program in Leadership and Ethics from the David A. Berg Center for Ethics and Leadership in the Katz Business School.
Sukits said the students initially created an investment policy statement, defining the parameters of what they consider to be a socially responsible company. After months of debate and analysis of corporate governance and ethical practices, they drafted a policy that is of a broader scope than what is used by many other socially responsible funds.
SRIC assesses companies by six factors, including their community involvement, their environmental and human rights practices, and their ethics and corporate governance structure. Following the screening for social responsibility, companies are studied with traditional financial analysis methods to determine the final 30 portfolio selections.
Using the S&P 500 as a benchmark, the SRIC’s portfolio has outperformed the index by 0.5 to 1.5 percent each quarter in recent years, Sukits said.
Despite decreased university funding, the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business sees the benefit of providing the initial investment in the club’s portfolio. Dean John Delaney recently remarked, “We believe experience-based learning is a critical aspect of preparing business students for outstanding careers. While learning about investing in theory is useful, using real dollars to understand how actions affect outcomes is a lifelong lesson.”
Posted: October 15, 2012