A deeper look at PRISM

Jordan Reis
Business Editor

The Portfolio of Responsible Investment under Student Management, or PRISM, is a club that allows students to participate in real stock market activities using endowment from the school. Students who are a part of the club partake in real investment with real money.

The portfolio has amassed over $414,000, part of which is held in cash, through investing in various stocks. The club holds meetings every week alternating between Tuesdays and Wednesdays to allow for the schedules of members.
The club hierarchy consists of three managers, six sector heads, telecomm, technology, energy, industrials, consumer services and financials, two macro-economists, a financial records analyst and then general members who act as analysts. The sector heads are specialists in their respective sector of the market.

They assist members who wish to pitch to buy or sell a stock. The macro-economists give the club an idea of what is happening in the markets for the given week. This means that their presentations consist of anything from mergers of companies to government policies recently implemented. The financial records analyst helps with looking over a specific company’s financial statements.

The club is run in a democratic fashion, so everyone has a say in buying or selling stocks, though the final decision is up to the three managers and the club’s professor overseer, Dr. Hussain.

So how does the club decide whether to buy or sell a stock? It is done through a pitch or presentation. Members put together a presentation consisting of all the information one would want and need in order to make an educated decision on whether or not to buy stock in the company.

This past Tuesday PRISM held their fourth meeting of the year and first stock pitch at the meeting. Sophomore student Austin Stain and junior energy sector head, James Maimone pitched to buy stock in Enviva, a wood pellet manufacturing company. Wood pellets are burned and used to produce energy and heat; they are extremely popular in Europe due to stricter environmental laws on corporations and households. Enviva uses wood scraps to produce wood pellets and produces and harvests in the U.S. The majority of the business comes from European countries importing their products.

Enviva makes solely wood pellets but produces in different grades. The different grades are used in different manners. Enviva gives out a dividend of 7.8 percent to all their investors.
Votes to buy majorly outweighed votes not to. It is seen as a good addition to the portfolio, given its growth potential and substantial dividend.

One Response to A deeper look at PRISM

  1. Adam Macon Reply

    September 26, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    The biomass industry here in the Southern US, lead by Enviva, is having devastating impacts to our forests, climate, and communities. The idea that they are solely relying on “wood scraps” to produce wood pellets is a complete lie. Organizations, community groups, and leading media outlets have conducted multiple investigations into Enviva’s wood pellet manufacturing facilities here in North Carolina and have all found that they are sourcing whole hardwood trees from endangered wetland forests for their pellets.

    In addition, the growing scientific consensus is that biomass is far from carbon neutral and in many cases even worse for the climate than dirty coal.

    Most importantly for this article, in March 2016 investors with $53 billion dollars in assets called on the SEC to scrutinize Bio-energy sector claims that burning wood reduces greenhouse gas emissions and benefits forests.

    I hope that PRISM will consider this information as it decides whether or not to invest in Enviva.


    Adam Macon
    Dogwood Alliance
    North Carolina, USA

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