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Sustainability News

School of Sustainability News Alumni and Student Spotlights

November 22, 2013

Sustainability Student Samson SzetoSamson Szeto is a senior in the School of Sustainability. A product of Barry Goldwater High School in Phoenix, Ariz., Szeto will graduate in December 2013 with concurrent bachelor’s degrees in justice studies and sustainability, along with three minors in geography, Asian studies, and socio-legal studies.

Szeto’s School of Sustainability challenge area is Society and Sustainability.

Why did you choose to major in sustainability?

I have always had a strong passion for social justice, human rights, and environmental issues. Before even entering college, I knew that I wanted to pursue a career where I could have a positive influence on society.

I began college as a justice studies major but quickly developed an interest in sustainability. Environmental, economic, and social issues were all topics I studied throughout my justice studies courses, but they only primarily emphasized on the historical and theoretical concepts. I felt the need to research more on current methods and solutions in dealing with today’s issues.

My junior year was when I decided to take my first sustainability course, SOS 100, as an elective. I thought the class sounded interesting. I found it gave me insight into ideas and solutions that combined my interest in legal and social issues together with issues in sustainability. That’s when I decided that a concurrent major in sustainability would enhance my academic knowledge and educational experience.

Graduating in December 2013, I believe my major in Sustainability has improved my knowledge and skills in dealing with our real-world issues. My goal after graduating is to focus on a career in environmental law, policy, and consulting.

What has been your most memorable experience at ASU?

The best experiences I have had during my 4 years here at ASU are highlighted by my two study abroad trips. My first study abroad was with the School of Human Evolution in Australia where I took SOS 320 and SOS 414. While in Sydney, Australia, I researched both global ethnohydrology and local obesogenics.

My second study abroad was in Dubai with the School of Sustainability as a Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives Scholar. There, I researched current socio-economic factors governing Dubai's green economy.

I’ve seen an opera at the Sydney Opera House, camped in the rainforest and the Outback, and gone scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef. I’ve also learned how to snowboard indoors at a mall, been on top of the tallest building in the world, and even woken up and walked straight out to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

Most importantly, through these two study abroad programs, I have been given a lifetime of experiences that I could have never had by myself, and they have allowed me to build lifelong friendships that I will can cherish forever.

What does “sustainability” mean to you?

Sustainability is a way of living that utilizes efficiency, practicality, and healthiness for our environment, society, and economy. Furthermore, sustainability is a practice that integrates concepts, methods, and solutions that address current-day issues in order to achieve long-term success and prosperity.

What ASU experiences have shaped your future?

Everything I have accomplished – all the achievements, experiences, and awards – happened by taking that first initial step my freshman year and getting involved at ASU. The ASU student organizations I have joined have helped me gain valuable skills and friends that have enriched my college experience.

Without student organizations, I don’t know if I could have achieved two majors and three minors, been awarded numerous scholarships and awards, and met lifelong friends that will be with me even after I graduate.

During my four years here at ASU, I have been an executive board member for several organizations including Phi Alpha Delta, Campus Student Sustainability Initiatives, Justice and Pre-Law Society, and Asian/Asian Pacific American Students' Coalition. All these positions have provided me valuable professional skills that will add value to my résumé after college.