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NIU LEAD student organization members participate in national ethics competition 

November 17, 2021

NIU Leaders In Ethics And Academic Discipline (LEAD) students Alison Kramer and Sydney Klunk represented the College of Business at the Eller Ethics Competition. LEAD is a student organization that focuses on ethics in business settings. The Eller Ethics case competition, which hosted more than 20 universities from across the country, took place at the University of Arizona on the weekend of October 15th. The competition presented the students with a hypothetical ethical dilemma on the environmental implications of deep-sea mining and asked them to provide a solution. 

NIU LEAD Students Sydney Klunk (Left) and Alison Kramer (Right) with BELIEF Director Neil Doughty (Center) at the Eller Ethics Competition on October 15th.

“We did hours of research before putting together our recommendations and presentation,” said LEAD student President Alison Kramer. Kramer is also a McKearn Research Fellow, an achievement of note for NIU students. She also serves on the NIU College of Business Dean’s Student Advisory Board.  

“We had to analyze the stakeholders, ethical issues, legal issues, and financial issues that come along with deep-sea mining and come up with a recommendation on how to proceed with all of those issues in mind,” added Sydney Klunk, Kramer’s teammate and an experienced LEAD student who was participating in the Eller competition for the third time. “I always enjoy these competitions, so I was excited to participate and I also knew what to expect in a general sense. For this challenge, Alison and I decided it would be best to create a team of professional marine biologists, scientists and other people who know more about deep-sea mining. We determined that it would be the right call to begin mining under restrictions put in place by this team of professionals along with the International Seabed Authority.”  

Both students were excited to take in the environment, which mirrored a real-world business conference.  

“Participating was a lot of fun because of the networking with other students and faculty from participating schools. It was a very professional environment, which was intimidating but also a good look into what the business world looks like,” said Klunk.

Kramer agreed, adding, “It is always professional and intimidating when you first get there. You can always spot the other competitors at the hotel. After the reception dinner and the first round, you usually get to know everyone super well and it’s fun to chat with each other.” 

While both students greatly enjoyed participating, they also were proud to represent NIU and LEAD.  

“We always love to represent NIU at these competitions and are proud of our work,” Kramer said. “LEAD has been great…so much so, I have stuck with it throughout my four years at NIU. It has provided so many wonderful learning and leadership opportunities.” 

Klunk agreed, adding, “LEAD has opened up so many avenues to grow: from traveling around the country for these types of competitions and networking with high-ranking executives, to attending insightful events with speakers who are passionate about ethics.”