It’s Not Easy Being Green: Bringing Real Life to the Undergraduate Legal Environment of Business Classroom Tanya M. Marcumn and Sandra J. Perrynn

Itâ€s Not Easy Being Green: Bringing Real Life to the Undergraduate Legal Environment of Business Classroom Tanya M. Marcumn and Sandra J. Perrynn

Itâ€s not easy being green. –Kermit the Frog.1

I. INTRODUCTIONFENGAGING STUDENTS

In the Legal Environment of Business course in a traditional undergrad-

uate business curriculum, students are expected to acquire knowledge

about many areas of the law and the application of law to business, society,

and the international marketplace. Current concepts in undergraduate

business education, such as ethics and sustainability, must also be included

in our classrooms. Some texts highlight issues with landmark cases or fea-

ture articles about businesses that have experienced high-profile legal and/

or ethical dilemmas. Using high-profile cases and newsworthy business

situations are useful in stimulating discussions. However, professors often

struggle with keeping students engaged while in the classroom. Most of

our students are of Generation Y or the Millennial Generation, young

adults who expect to be entertained in the classroom. Students often find it

difficult to relate to some of the traditional cases used in the textbooks to

illustrate the legal principles relevant to their studies and the underlying

curriculum. Real-world examples in the classroom have the best pedagog-

ical value because of their appeal to traditional college students.2

r 2010 The Authors Journal compilation r 2010 Academy of Legal Studies in Business

81

Journal of Legal Studies Education Volume 27, Issue 1, 81–104, Winter/Spring 2010

nAssistant Professor of Law, Bradley University.

nnProfessor of Law, Bradley University.

1JIM HENSON, ITâ€S NOT EASY BEING GREEN: AND OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER (2005).

2See John D. Donnell, The Businessman and the Business Law Curriculum, 6 AM. BUS. L.J. 451 (1968), which basically made this point as far back as 1968.

TerraCycle, Inc. is a business that can portray many of the legal

principles taught in a Legal Environment of Business course, and this

business is interesting to students. This business and its actual litigation

with a competitor, coupled with hypothetical legal issues faced by typical

businesses, can be used as a basis for discussion for the entire semester to

illustrate many of the principles of a typical Legal Environment of Business

course. Although this semester-long case study focused on this particular

start-up business, any business of interest to students can be used.

II. THE BUSINESS: TERRACYCLE, INC.

TerraCycle, Inc. is a relatively new start-up business focusing on sustain-

ability and being green. Being green can be defined as having a positive

environmental attribute or objective3 and is currently a popular marketing

claim.4 Students are conscious of their carbon footprints and those of the

businesses around them. Empirical research shows that it pays to be

green.5


 

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