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Sustainability News

October 23, 2019

Lizzy NoblePhoenix local Lizzy Noble had always wanted to be an architect growing up. Ironically, it was in the pursuit of this goal that she developed a love for sustainability.

“My freshman year of high school, I enrolled in the EPICS/engineering program of my school," Noble said. "The director of this program was one of the first sustainability gurus I met and would always assign us 'green projects.'"

These projects in tandem with a field trip to Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability motivated Noble to head down the career path of sustainability. Noble is a recent graduate from ASU who studied business sustainability and supply chain management. In this Q&A, she takes us through her history and what she's doing now, as well as what sustainability means to her.

Question: Can you tell us a little bit about your background?

Answer: I was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, near the base of Camelback Mountain. I had a bit of a nontraditional upraising considering my parents sent me to an international school from preschool to second grade to immerse my young self in the beautiful French language. This was due to my mom being an international flight attendant and learning the language at the same time. We spent the summers traveling to French-speaking countries (mainly, France) which I believe very much shaped me into the person I am today: a lover of languages, discovering different cultures and just being out of my own element. I like to consider myself an "adventurous homebody.” While I do love traveling and seeing the world, I do love Arizona more than any place I’ve ever stepped foot in.

Q: What was your “aha” moment when you realized you wanted to study sustainability?

A: When I was younger, I had always wanted to be an architect. My freshman year of high school, I enrolled in the EPICS/engineering program of my school. The director of this program was one of the first sustainability gurus I met and would always assign us “green projects." My “aha” moment happened during an accumulation of these projects. From putting together a green wall to a solar oven, I quickly learned that sustainability was the future.

One of Noble's favorite places to spend Saturdays — Growhouse Community Garden in downtown Phoenix.
Q: Why did you choose the School of Sustainability?

A: To add onto my “aha” moment, during high school we took a field trip to the ASU School of Sustainability where we learned about all the different initiatives going on but mainly about...Chipotle. Yes, the chain, Chipotle. We learned about how Chipotle only sourced their ingredients from a 100 mile radius to support the local economy, cut down on emissions and ensured ingredients were fresh. This talk was a huge catalyst within myself, recognizing that while Chipotle is doing great things in regards to sustainability, why isn’t this a norm?

I had these thoughts surrounded by the walls of the School of Sustainability, not knowing I would be sitting there as an ASU student four years later. When deciding on college, I chose ASU for many reasons but mainly because it was in my favorite state it had one of the best programs for the two things I wanted to study, business and sustainability.

Q: What’s been your favorite class so far and why?

A: My favorite sustainability class would have to be “The Economics of Sustainability.” I think this is from being both a business and sustainability student but wow — I thought it was all so interesting. Don’t even get me started on the concept of “abatement.”

Q: Can you tell us more about your experience in SOS 323 (sustainable urban dynamics)?

A: I would highly recommend SOS 323 to any sustainability student. The way Dr. Melnick organized the course information made it not only interestingly fun but also pushed me way out of my comfort zone. From presenting as if you were in front of a town hall, organized debates with peers, to having to write an op-ed piece and submitting it to a local newspaper, I definitely grew as a student and young, aspiring sustainability professional.

Q: How do you envision applying sustainability to your career?

A: As a recent graduate, I have been fortunate enough to have found a job oriented around both of my degrees, sustainability and supply chain management. I am currently working for Bechtel Corporation, an engineering, procurement and construction company headquartered just outside Washington, D.C. I work in procurement but a big part of my job is oriented around analyzing top suppliers on sustainability — something that has never been done at the company before — and oriented around one of their 2030 sustainability goals.

Bechtel also has amazing, innovative projects which makes me so enthusiastic about the company. My favorite sustainability project which is also my computer background is called Ivanpah. Located in the Mojave Desert, Ivanpah is a 377 megawatt net solar system which uses mirrors to point the power of the sun to central power towers. Super cool! I feel very fortunate for this opportunity and excited for what is to come.

Q: What does sustainability mean to you?

A:  Sustainability to me is continuing to grow as humanity, while appreciating how far we have come yet never forgetting the future generations to come. Sustainability to me is finding a win-win, may that be through cultivating change, pushing for innovation or just conducting business fairly. Sustainability to me is also overall being mindful. What state representative should I vote for who supports policies that I believe will better the community? What little changes can I make to have less of a footprint? Where is what I consume coming from? These little thoughts add up and help us in not compromising our future needs. Sustainability to me is living everyday as if we will be on Planet Earth forever. Lastly, sustainability to me is accountability. Holding corporations accountable, our leaders accountable, and ourselves accountable.

Changemaker Central Student Leadership Team and Staff at Devils in Disguise 2019
Q: Can you tell us about your experience with Changemaker Central?

A: I was fortunate enough to serve as the Changemaker Central vice director my senior year. At Changemaker, I was continuously surrounded by other students leaders who were driving all kinds of sustainability efforts throughout campus and beyond. Changemaker offers many resources in regards to sustainability. I highly recommend stopping by the space and learning more about the grants offered as well as all the different events such as Borderlands! If you don’t know where to start or how to get involved, Changemaker is an amazing resource that can open many doors.

Q: Is there anything you’d like to add?

A: Sustainability really is the future. It is everywhere and if it isn’t, it will be soon. If you ever have any questions or just want to talk about sustainability, Changemaker Central and beyond, feel free to reach out to me at eenoble97@gmail.com or add me on LinkedIn.