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    UW College of Business Sustainability in Spain

    June 23, 2015

    by: John Lee, UW MBA candidate

    My Focus:

    As a marketing major, I have developed a strong passion for market research and recently sustainability from a professor at the University of Wyoming. While conducting my research abroad, my personal focus was sustainability and ways a mass crowd event in Madrid could be as sustainable as possible. As a whole, Madrid was very sustainable and their culture is taking many steps to be conscious about their actions.

    My research was conducted in an auto-ethnographic format, funded by the Sustainable Business Practices. I am very grateful for the opportunity I had to travel to Spain, and I believe I have learned many key takeaways that I can contribute to further market research and planning for mass crowd events. As a group, we took notes on nearly everything we encountered, from the smallest details in airports, hotels and metros, to the most popular attractions in the city. All of my research will benefit future travelers heading to this area and this will ensure a great experience for those consumers.

    Where I Went:

    As a group we traveled to Madrid, Spain and Barcelona, Spain. The majority of our research for the auto-ethnographic study was done in Madrid. Spaceports were the original focus of study in past classes, and Madrid has future plans to build a spaceport making it the perfect location to conduct market research and plan for mass crowd events.

    Throughout our travels we were able to take notes in the Denver International Airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Madrid-Barajas Airport, Barcelona–El Prat Airport, and John F. Kennedy International Airport. The airports were a great model for ways to manage mass crowds, so this was very beneficial to note in our research. From signage and navigation, to transportation and safety hazards, the airport offers many ideas that could be used at spaceports and mass crowd events around the world.

    Key Sustainability Ideas in Spain:

    Madrid practices many small steps that leave a large positive impact. Some of them include:

    • Using glass bottles for beverages that are collected and reused
    • Underground metros for public transportation
    • Scooters and mopeds for travel around cities instead of larger vehicles
    • Recycling containers on nearly every street and in most restaurants
    • Reusable napkins, dishes and utensils at every restaurant, no paper products

    Madrid’s culture plays a large role, as they are very conscious and sustainably driven. I was amazed when I witnessed the little things we often don’t think about that can have such a positive impact.


    I am very thankful for the opportunity I had to travel to Spain. Without the Sustainable Business Practices and the help of Kelly Tian this would not have been possible. I learned so many great things while researching and enjoyed looking deeper into ways the culture is more sustainable. I plan to further my research and apply what I already have learned to help future spaceports and mass crowd events. Spain is a very relaxed, sustainable country and we can learn a lot from their practices.

    If you have any questions please feel free to ask in the comments!