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Denard, Mundada named Sustainability Fellows

The Institute for Sustainable Development has named its 2010 Sustainability Fellows. The class comprises graduate students and professionals from six universities in four different states, and includes UNC School of Social Work recent graduate Solita Denard and second-year student Darshan Mundada.

The fellowships are competitive and the Institute selects only one in ten applicants. Fellows assist small businesses and non-profits in the Institute’s 17 Green Plus partner communities as they strive to improve their economic, environmental and social performance. Fellows also conduct individual and group summer research projects to advance the principles and practice of triple bottom line sustainability.

“One of our core objectives is to help foster a new generation of leaders in sustainable business practices,” said Chris Carmody, the Institute’s executive director. “This year’s class is filled with extraordinarily bright people who have already made a big difference as individuals. The Institute hopes their combined talents will have even greater benefits for our partner communities.”

Before attending UNC, Solita Denard, MSW ’10,  worked in the nonprofit sector, obtaining a wide range of experience in case management, coaching, training and program development.  She also served as an AmeriCorps member for two terms with Public Allies North Carolina. Denard’s most recent position as a research assistant has enabled her to explore and write about the field of asset development where public and private organizations are creating strategies for individuals and families to move out of poverty. She hopes to assist organizations that serve low-income communities create sustainable models and outcomes for employees and their clients.

Darshan Mundada, a Rotary Peace Fellow from India, was recently awarded a Certificate in Peace and Conflict Resolution by a joint program between Duke University and University of North Carolina. A former mechanical engineer, he founded a civil society organization in India before pursuing his graduate studies. Through his organization, Friends’ Society (Pune), he worked in various spheres of social welfare, community building and sustainable development. He is also secretary general of the Youth Forum of UNESCO Chair for Human Rights, Democracy, Peace and Tolerance (Asia Pacific). Mundada is currently working on creating a triple bottom line self-sustainable program for rehabilitation and reintegration of former sex workers in mainstream society in the cities of Pune and Sangli in India. After graduation he plans to return to India to implement this program.