Nonprofit LBJers Tackle Single Use Plastics at Patagonia’s Case Competition

SXSB Presentation Image 04.19.19

Philip Jankoski introduces the SXSB presentation to the panel of judges.

LBJ students, Amie Harris MPAff/MBA 2020, Philip Jankoski MPAff 2020, and Matthew Preisser MPAff/MS Environmental and Water Resources Engineering (EWRE), 2021 traveled to Berkeley, California to compete in the international UC Haas Center for Responsible Business 2019 Patagonia Case Competition. They were joined by two McCombs MBA students, Jess Mills and Kat Robinson together forming the UT Austin team, South By South Best (SXSB).

The case, now in its fifth year, calls on interdisciplinary teams of graduate students across the globe to submit proposals. This year’s prompt revolved around strategies and innovations to solve the crisis of single-use plastics in the environment. Over 190 teams submitted proposals from across the globe but only 10 were selected to travel to UC Berkeley and present their findings to an audience of Patagonia executive staff, academics, researchers, fellow finalists, and the general public.

Patagonia has been a responsible business pioneer since its founding in 1973. Patagonia creates apparel, outdoor gear, and food products consistent with its newly updated mission: “We are in business to save our home planet.”

The 2019 case competition focused on ways to combat single-use packaging waste through both innovative technologies and strategies for effective collaboration across sectors. The University of Texas team recognized the necessity of responsible and effective business and branding strategies and also the value in collaborating with state and local governments, communities, and the large philanthropic and nonprofit sector. The team’s “Back to the Basics” strategy focused on immediate action to reduce waste by shifting to proven, but newly improved, technologies in aluminum and cardboard. Long term strategies focused on specific policy changes, incentives, and opportunities for public-private collaboration.


Amie Harris addresses strategies for engaging with efforts led by philanthropic organizations and governments. (top) Matthew Preisser discusses scientific and engineering evidence for the SXSB strategy and policy implications.

As Patagonia is headquartered in both Ventura and Sausalito CA, SXSB researched and interfaced with numerous environmental agencies, advocacy organizations, and foundations, from CalRecycle to the influential nonprofit, Californians Against Waste. The team outlined an effective strategy and timeline for Patagonia to solve this crisis by 2030 garnering audience praise and positive feedback.

The University of Texas Team L-R: Amie Harris, Jess Mills, Philip Jankoski, Kat Robinson, Matthew Preisser

Although the Longhorns did not bring home first place, we made a Texas-sized impression on the audience, developing key skills and public service experience in the process. Thank you to generous RGK Center donors who made this important professional development opportunities such as this case competition. Hook em’!

April 19, 2019