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Sustainability News

August 28, 2019

Emma GoetheAlthough she grew up in Phoenix, Emma Goethe attended a small, private university in California until she decided Arizona State University was a better match. She transferred and hasn’t looked back since.

“I decided to transfer to ASU and it was the best decision I have ever made. Once I was admitted to [Barrett, the Honors College at] ASU, sustainability was really the only major that stood out to me,” Goethe said. “Truly, in the beginning, I didn’t know just how much sustainability covers. It’s not just about the environment, but it’s also about economics, policy and the social impacts that sustainability creates.”

Emma Goethe is a junior at ASU studying policy and governance in sustainability. In her Q&A below, read about her inspiration to study sustainability and the important work she does in Ghana.

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

Answer: I was born and raised in Phoenix! I am an only child and my parents are the two people I look up to the most. My mom is a middle school principal and my dad is a captain in the fire department. I absolutely love to travel and being outside is my favorite thing in the world. Recently I have been enjoying art a lot, and I am working on combining what I’m learning in sustainability and art. A challenge I have worked on overcoming is adopting more sustainability principles in my everyday life. I have started to notice just how much waste I produce, and that is something that I am specifically working on right now.

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

A: I decided to study sustainability because I started becoming infatuated with sustainability practices that are being implemented all around the world, especially in developing countries. It is crazy to think that one well or a few solar panels can completely change someone’s life.

Q: Why did you choose ASU/the School of Sustainability?

A: I originally wasn’t at ASU. I attended a small private university in California. It turned out that my old school wasn’t the right match for me. At that point I decided to transfer to ASU, and it was the best decision I have ever made. Once I was admitted to [Barrett, the Honors College at] ASU, sustainability was really the only major that stood out to me. Throughout my whole life my parents have emphasized the importance of protecting the environment, so that played a big role in my decision. Truly, in the beginning, I didn’t know just how much sustainability covers. It’s not just about the environment, but it’s also about economics, policy and the social impacts that sustainability creates.

Q: What’s been your favorite class (or favorite part of being an ASU/School of Sustainability student) so far and why?

A: I am so proud to be a SOS student. The School of Sustainability is unlike any other school at ASU. We have such a tight-knit community, and the faculty and staff are always willing to help out the students.

Q: Can you tell us about your experience in Ghana?

A: Ghana has truly becoming a part of my identity. I have found my life’s purpose. I work with the Global Rescue Project, a nonprofit based in Scottsdale, Arizona. Our organization's mission is to end child slavery in Lake Volta, and hopefully one day the world. I have gone the past four summers, and every year I find new ways to connect my passion for human rights and what I’m learning in the School of Sustainability.

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

A: I see myself working in public policy in the future. I also want to advocate for those who don’t have the opportunity to do so for themselves, like the children in Ghana. That is really all I know right now, but I think it’s a good path for me.

Q: What does sustainability mean to you?

A: For me sustainability is a way of life. It includes constantly learning and focusing on social, economic and environmental problems that we face.