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Sustainability News

Meet sustainability junior Sakshi Hegde

August 15, 2019

Sakshi Hegde standing in treeSchool of Sustainability junior Sakshi Hegde has always cared about the environment. So when it was time to make a decision about what to dedicate her life to, the answer was a no-brainer.

"I knew by the time I was applying to colleges that I wanted my future career to be about protecting the environment," Hegde said. "When I learned about sustainability, I knew it exemplified what I wanted to do with my life."

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Meet sustainability senior Maddie Mercer

August 8, 2019

Motivated by the proximity of her family and her interest in environmental science, Maddie Mercer decided to attend Arizona State University's School of Sustainability. It's a choice she does not regret.

"I found that the degrees offered by the School of Sustainability were the best fit for me and my interests, and I loved that they were available so close to home," Maddie said. "I also loved the intimacy offered by this program, especially because it gave me the chance to have a small, tight-knit community in the context of the much larger university."

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Sustainability scholar hosts panel at Sun Valley Institute Annual Forum

July 31, 2019

Group of people standing and smiling indoorsThe Sun Valley Forum is an annual event that "accelerates the transformation to sustainable, equitable, and secure economies and communities," according to the forum's website. Founded by Aimée Christensen, the forum each year brings together hundreds of local, national and international leaders from different sectors to work together to build a healthier, more equitable and more resilient world.

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Meet sustainability sophomore William Walker VI

July 31, 2019

William Walker VISchool of Sustainability sophomore William Walker VI has big dreams.

"I study sustainability at Arizona State University because I want to be a proponent of our world in the long-run," said Walker. "I ultimately want to transcend the identity and agency I embody into foundation-based work that focuses on reciprocity and community organizing."

Read more to find out about his time in the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program and his plans for the future.

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Meet sustainability student Heejoo Min

July 23, 2019

HeeJoo Min and friendsHeejoo Min had a pivotal moment when she realized that we needed to completely change our perspectives to include sustainability. This realization led her to ASU where she discovered the School of Sustainability.

“ASU was the only school that had a dedicated department for sustainability,” Min said (pictured top row, third from left). “I looked more into it and I thought it was very well-designed program. Other schools offered it as an environmental science degree, but I thought sustainability is so much more than just science.”

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Meet sustainability senior Paiton Upshaw

July 17, 2019

Student in graduation regaliaPaiton Upshaw was working at her previous job when she realized she wanted more. Motivated by her love for the planet, Upshaw decided to take the next step by attending the School of Sustainability online program through the Starbucks College Achievement Plan.

“I knew I wanted to do something to help the world because I love the world,” Upshaw said. “I saw that Starbucks paid full tuition to ASU online and upon looking through the ASU online majors, I found sustainability! I thought that sustainability aligned perfectly with what I was interested in, and I've really enjoyed my entire time at the School of Sustainability through ASU online."

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Keeping Olympic marathon spectators cool

ASU Now | July 9, 2019

crowd of people in JapanStanding for hours within crowds of people in hot, sunny and humid conditions is a recipe for heat-related illness — but that’s what spectators at the Tokyo Summer Olympics marathons may be dealing with on Aug. 2 and 9, 2020.

To help city officials and the Tokyo Olympic Committee prepare for extreme heat, Arizona State University senior sustainability scientists Jenni Vanos and Ariane Middel were part of a team that measured and mapped out microclimates along the marathon course to identify hot spots where spectators may face discomfort or illness.

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ASU collaborates on virtual field trip to Makalawena, Hawai'i

July 3, 2019

Makalawena beachThanks to a partnership between Arizona State University and Kamehameha Schools in Hawai’i, people around the world can visit two of Hawai’i's natural and cultural sites without having to leave their computer.

ASU’s School of Sustainability and Center for Education Through eXploration (ETX Center) have collaborated with Kamehameha Schools on two virtual field trips (VFTs), including the recently released interactive and educational excursion to Makalawena. Makalawena is a beautiful, remote beach with many environmental and cultural resources located in West Hawai‘i.

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Meet Summer Vogel, intern at Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve

July 1, 2019

Summer Vogel in park ranger unifromSchool of Sustainability online student Summer Vogel has been interning with Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve since April. Vogel is a junior pursuing an online Bachelor of Science in Sustainability with a geography minor through the Starbucks College Achievement Plan, a partnership between Arizona State University and Starbucks. She shared her experience as an online student and provided insight into her internship with the National Park Service.

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Sustainability and sports go hand in hand

June 30, 2019

As the drumbeat of the importance of sustainability steadily increases, major industries are taking notice and organizations within those industries have begun incorporating multiple environmentally friendly policies. One such industry is the sports industry, where the Green Sports Alliance can be found. According to its website, the Green Sports Alliance is “the environmentally-focused trade organization that convenes stakeholders from around the sporting world to promote healthy, sustainable communities where we live and play.”

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Designing for community and sustainability

ASU Now | June 24, 2019

University Assistant Professors Paul Coseo and Chingwen Cheng asking for community input for the redesign Old Stadium Park in HawaiiIt’s a common story: Developers start transforming public spaces with little to no input from the community — and it doesn’t end happily. But, as Arizona State University Assistant Professors Paul Coseo and Chingwen Cheng (both in The Design School, part of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts) have demonstrated, there are inclusive approaches to community design. For the 2018–2019 academic year, they led a group of four landscape architecture students and one design student in a project to collaboratively redesign Old Stadium Park in Hawaii.

The team was invited to collaborate on this project because of longstanding relationships between The Design School and Hawaii initially built through the University of Hawaii’s “Make the Ala Wai Awesome” competition in 2017. Another ASU team, led by senior sustainability scientists Coseo, Cheng and Darren Petrucci (also a professor in The Design School), won first prize out of 40 submissions to this international competition seeking design solutions to challenges facing the Ala Wai Watershed.

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Meet sustainability alumna Kayla Kutter

June 17, 2019

Kayla KutterKayla Kutter recently graduated from Arizona State University with two degrees: a Master of Sustainability Solutions from the School of Sustainability and a Master of Science and Technology Policy from the School for the Future of Innovation in Society.

Kutter said she realized she wanted to study sustainability while she was in the Peace Corps in Tanzania. While living in a small village for two years, she did not have access to running water or electricity, and she had to minimize her waste due to the lack of trash collection infrastructure.

“Learning to live off the grid and be acutely aware of how much I was using was a huge change in my mindset,” Kutter said. Read more about her experience studying sustainability in her Q&A.

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ASU urban climatologist reveals hottest and coolest spots on Tempe campus

View Source | June 14, 2019

Ariane MiddelUrban climatologists Ariane Middel (senior sustainability scientist and assistant professor with two schools at Arizona State University) and Scott Krayenhoff did a three-year study of the Tempe campus, mapping out the three coolest (and hottest) spots on campus, taking readings even during excessive heat and record temperatures and discovering what works best to stay cool.

The study’s findings give a look at how to best combine and place design features — green spaces, trees, and shade structures — to cool pedestrian spaces and can inform future construction and landscaping at ASU and in the broader community.

When roundworms lose, carbon emissions rise

June 10, 2019

Sala PNAS Nematode Experiment full imageSoil food webs play a key role in supporting grassland ecosystems, which cover about one-quarter of the land on Earth. Climate change poses a threat to these environments, partly because of the uncertainty of extremes in rainfall, which is projected to increase.

To learn more about the effects of these extreme events, a team of soil and plant ecologists, supported by funding from the National Science Foundation, studied nematodes, which play a key role in carbon and nutrient cycling and decomposition in soil.

Principal Investigator Osvaldo Sala is founding director of the Global Drylands Center at Arizona State University. We asked him about the study, out June 10, 2019, in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Sustainability alumnus to receive Construction Management Association of America scholarship

June 10, 2019

Curt TrumanCurt Truman, a 2016 alumnus of Arizona State University's Master of Sustainability Solutions, has been selected to receive the 2019 CMAA Graduate Student Scholarship Award from the Construction Management Association of America, Metro New York/New Jersey Chapter. He will be honored at the CMAA annual luncheon on June 14 at the Yale Club in New York City. Truman is completing his master of science degree in construction administration at another prestigious university and earned a 4.165 GPA.

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Pervasive polymers of the deep blue sea

View Source | June 7, 2019

Plastic bag slowly decomposing and floating underwaterResearchers at Arizona State University are finding a particularly pervasive problem with the microplastics that originate from human everyday use. Senior Sustainability Scientist Rolf Halden, director of the Biodesign Center for Environmental Health Engineering and professor at ASU’s School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, and his team worked with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute to analyze oceanic samples collected from vast vertical depths of seawater by the MBARI team.

The results were published June 6 in a Scientific Reports journal article titled, "The vertical distribution and biological transport of marine microplastics across the epipelagic and mesopelagic water column."

Refugees in Uganda learn agribusiness through online initiative

View Source | June 7, 2019

Refugees in Uganda taking online Agribusiness 250 courseA group of 30 people who live in a refugee settlement in Uganda are the first to take the online Agribusiness 250 course through Education for Humanity, an initiative of Arizona State University that is offering higher education to refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Uganda and Rwanda. Education for Humanity is managed by EdPlus, the unit at ASU that creates technology and forges partnerships to develop new ways of teaching and learning.

More than 68 million people are displaced around the globe, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency, and fewer than 1% have access to higher education. Education for Humanity is trying to address that need.

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Meet sustainability alumna Samantha Zah

June 6, 2019

Samantha ZahWith a growing number of sustainability programs out there, how do you choose?

Samantha Zah, a spring 2019 graduate of the Master of Sustainability Solutions (MSUS) at Arizona State University, said she chose the program because of its applied approach. “I was concerned with getting wrapped up in academia and losing connection with the real world, so I appreciated the option to straddle both while advancing my career in the MSUS program,” she explained.

Even before graduating, Zah applied the skills she was learning in class to a project with the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise, a business owned by the tribe. As part of the Navajo Nation’s strategic plan to advance economically by expanding tourism, Navajo Gaming is developing a travel center near Flagstaff — and Zah worked with the business to ensure sustainability was embedded in the project.

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