ASU Wrigley Institute News

Scientists from U.S. and Mexico advance international sustainability science curriculum at second workshop

April 27, 2011

Dr. Dominguez Perez Tejada (center), director of UNAM's Institute of Ecology, considers proposed program learning objectives along with Dr. Cavazos (left) and Dr. Escalante (right) of CICESE.
Three graduate students from the School of Sustainability (Ben Warner, Chrissie Bausch, and Mark Wood) discuss their experiences in sustainability education with participants.
Dr. Redman describes the challenges and opportunities in interdisciplinary research.

How can Mexico take care of its world-class biodiversity in the face of climate change and other threats? On April 13-15, a multidisciplinary group of researchers from Mexico met for the second time with ASU sustainability scientists and specialists in a workshop on the Tempe campus to advance the development of an international sustainability science curriculum for Mexico’s universities.

The goal is to collaboratively design a new international master’s degree in sustainability that will train the next generation of Mexican ecological practitioners and policymakers to protect Mexico’s rich ecological resources.

At the workshop, 14 members of ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability and School of Sustainability worked with 10 researchers from two prominent Mexican institutions — the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and the Center for Scientific Research and Graduate Education (CICESE). UNAM researchers represented fields including ecology, biology, climatology, engineering, and ecosystem research.

During three days of meetings, the attendees from Mexico studied pedagogical approaches in sustainability science education, derived lessons from ASU’s experience developing the School of Sustainability’s curriculum, and learned formal approaches to curriculum development and implementation.

The group also reached agreement on three key issues: a broad vision for the new curriculum at UNAM, eight program level learning objectives, and five general content areas (modules) that will form the core of the program.

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Bonnie Nixon Named Executive Director of The Sustainability Consortium

April 26, 2011

April 26, 2011

Bonnie Nixon Named Executive Director of The Sustainability Consortium

Bonny NixonThe Sustainability Consortium has announced Bonnie Nixon, formerly Hewlett Packard’s Director of Environmental Sustainability, as Executive Director. Nixon will be responsible for developing and implementing short- and long-term strategies and growing the organization to include international representation, additional non–governmental organizations (NGO’s), toy and apparel sectors, and the world’s leading life cycle scientists and research institutions.

“It is really exciting to be involved in the science behind improving product footprints and empowering more sustainable production, buying and consumption patterns. The Sustainability Consortium represents an enormous opportunity to make systemic change for social equity, the environment and the economy,” said Nixon.

The Sustainability Consortium ( develops transparent methodologies, tools and strategies to drive a new generation of products and supply networks that address environmental, social and economic imperatives.

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2011 green college guide released; Arizona State University makes the list.

April 26, 2011

If you’re preparing to send a high school student off to college and want to learn more about the prospective university’s sustainability record then Princeton Review’s 2011 Guide to 311 Green Colleges is for you. The Princeton Review and the U.S. Green Building Council joined forces on this year’s edition, which is available as a free download from the Princeton Review website.

The guide includes 308 colleges or universities in the United States and three institutions in Canada. Each of these schools received a score of 80 or higher in the 2010 Princeton Review Green Rating survey.

Read the full story here.

Download the four-part PDF guide here: The Princeton Review’s Guide to 311 Green Colleges Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.

'Ditch the Dumpster' Initiative Wins President's Award for Sustainability

Institute Press Releases

April 14, 2011

April 14, 2011

Year-end donation and recycling drive earns honors for diverting waste while supporting local charities.

TEMPE, Ariz.— Every year the average U.S. student throws away nearly 200 pounds of ‘stuff’ during end-of-the-year move-out from dorms and other student housing. To turn all that stuff into gold, Arizona State University (ASU) joined with Swift Charities for Children and student housing communities (Capstone Companies and American Campus Communities) to sponsor the Ditch the Dumpster project, an annual year-end donation and recycling drive.

In recognition of the drive’s mission, Ditch the Dumpster was one of the few projects to receive the 2011 ASU President’s Award for Sustainability (awarded on April 13, 2011).

Launched in 2008, ASU’s Ditch the Dumpster initiative is held at the end of every academic year to encourage students to donate or recycle their unwanted, usable items rather than simply toss them in the trash. Over the past three years, the initiative has grown exponentially and students learn about the benefits and value of recycling and reusing.

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Neely Foundation Funds Student Grant Program for Sustainability Research and Applied Projects on Food and Agriculture

Institute Press Releases

April 13, 2011

April 13, 2011

Neely Foundation Funds Student Grant Program for Sustainability Research and Applied Projects on Food and Agriculture

May 4 deadline for $1000-$4000 applied research awards; awards to be determined by May 15


Graduate students in the School of Sustainability and senior and junior undergraduate sustainability majors.


The C.W. and Modene Neely Foundation of Gilbert, Ariz., has awarded a grant to ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability to support graduate and undergraduate student research and applied projects.

The Neely Foundation Food and Agriculture Sustainability Research Grants Program offers funding for ASU sustainability student-proposed research and applied projects designed to support and advance food and agricultural system sustainability. Projects can cover any aspect of food and agricultural systems and range from local to global in scope. Most winning projects may expect $1000-$4000. Awards will be determined by May 15, 2011.

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Sustainability Literacy program engages, educates ASU employees

April 13, 2011

Arizona State University not only is the first institution in higher education to create a School of Sustainability that educates students, but also extends sustainability education to all of its employees through its Sustainability Literacy Education interactive online program. The electronic platform informs ASU employees with examples of sustainable practices that currently are happening at ASU, the university’s sustainability goals, what they can do in large and small ways to support ASU’s promise to become more sustainable, and arms them with the necessary facts to fulfill the sustainability requirement of their yearly work-performance evaluations.

“The literacy program is based in the basic concepts of sustainability and individual responsibility to contribute to implementation,” says Ray Jensen, Associate Vice President of University Business Services and University Sustainability Operations officer. “Our successes as a university in sustainable practices are directly related to how each individual employee plays a role in sustainability within their day-to-day activities.”

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Tempe Burrito Lovers Raise Green for ASU School of Sustainability Students

Institute Press Releases

April 13, 2011

Tempe-area Chipotle locations to co-host fundraiser to benefit the newly established Chipotle Sustainable Food Systems Scholarship

At least one ASU School of Sustainability student to be awarded a $1,000 scholarship annually from new Chipotle fund


Chipotle (Chi-POAT-lay) Mexican Grill, the chain of burrito restaurants committed to serving food made with more sustainably raised ingredients; Arizona State University (ASU) School of Sustainability students; and all Tempe big burrito lovers.


In 2011, Chipotle established the Chipotle Sustainable Food Systems Scholarship for ASU’s School of Sustainability. Through the fund, Chipotle will annually award at least one $1,000 scholarship to a School of Sustainability undergraduate student, with the first award to be given in May 2011.

To raise funds for the Chipotle Sustainable Food Systems Scholarship, the three Tempe Chipotle locations will host a fundraiser on Earth Day, Friday, April 22, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. During the fundraiser, for customers who stop by one of these locations, purchase some grub and show a fundraiser flyer, event graphic on their smart phone, or just mention they’re dining at Chipotle in support of the fund, 50 percent of their purchase will go directly to the Chipotle Sustainable Food Systems Scholarship.


– Tempe Marketplace Chipotle – 2000 East Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe, Ariz. 85281
– Rural & Baseline Chipotle – 815 East Baseline Road, Tempe, Ariz. 85283
– Mill Avenue & 11th Street Chipotle – 1038 South Mill Ave., Tempe, Ariz. 85281


Friday, April 22 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

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ASU Sustainability Scientists part of Planet Forward PBS special

April 8, 2011

Gas prices. Nuclear worries. Oil spills.

Are there any new energy innovations out there to help us kick our petroleum habit?
The answer might lie in a microscopic single-cell plant, a landfill or an iconic building.

For the last few months, You have shared your innovations to help improve how we use or generate energy.

We narrowed down a pool of hundreds to just seven finalists.

Who will be named Planet Forward’s Innovator of the Year?

Watch and find out!

Institute's headquarters renamed for Julie Ann Wrigley

Institute Press Releases

March 21, 2011

The Global Institute of Sustainability headquarters building on Arizona State University’s Tempe campus was renamed in honor of Julie Ann Wrigley. ASU President Michael Crow, along with Rob Walton, chairman of the board of Walmart and co-chair of the Board of Trustees for Sustainability at ASU,  a crowd of community and business leaders, and the ASU community, honored the Institute’s founding benefactor as the university celebrated the newly named Wrigley Hall.

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Clean Agency joins Sustainability Consortium

Institute Press Releases

March 14, 2011

PASADENA, CALIF. (March 14, 2011) — Clean Agency, a research-based consulting firm that provides consumer product companies with life cycle assessment, carbon footprint and product packaging solutions, has become a member of the Sustainability Consortium. Clean joins a diverse group of retailers, manufacturers, government, academic and public interest groups working to reduce the environmental and social impacts associated with global consumption.

“Joining the Sustainability Consortium is an important step in our continued effort to leverage the power of business to create impactful solutions to global environmental issues,” said Seri McClendon, chief executive officer, Clean Agency. We’re eager to contribute our research expertise and to work with other consortium members to reduce negative impacts on our natural resources and influence consumption towards a more sustainable future.”

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New catering menu offers Decidedly Green options

March 9, 2011

This month, ARAMARK / ASU Catering launched its new sustainable catering menu, Decidedly Green.  The goal of the menu is to support a more sustainable food system – one that benefits health, communities, and environment.

Decidedly Green includes a farmer’s buffet, box lunches and sandwich buffets, cold and hot hors d’ouevres, break buffets and delicious desserts.

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'Cadillac desert' withstands test of time, technology

December 14, 2010

TEMPE, Ariz. – In 1986, Marc Reisner published “Cadillac Desert: The American West and its disappearing water,” a foundational work about the long-term environmental costs of U.S. western state’s water projects and land development. It sounded an alarm about the direction of the American West and how it was using its most precious resource. Now it all appears to becoming true.

Researchers applying modern scientific tools and mapping technologies, unavailable during Reisner’s time, find his conclusions for the most part to be accurate and scientifically correct. As a result, current water practices are not sustainable and many dramatic initiatives will be needed to correct the current unsustainable path the West is on.

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A positive step in the face of uncertainty

December 14, 2010

Patricia Gober, Decision Center for a Desert City

TEMPE, Ariz. – Enormous uncertainty. These two words describe the condition of Phoenix’s climate and water supply in the 21st century. Reservoirs have dipped to their lowest levels, continuous drought has plagued the state and forecasts for even warmer summers are predicted. Despite this uncertainty, professors at Arizona State University say there’s no need to be fearful because positive impacts can be made.

ASU professors Patricia Gober and Craig Kirkwood working in conjunction with Decision Center for a Desert City (DCDC), which specializes in decision making under uncertainty, assessed the climate’s affect on water shortage in Phoenix. Their results were published in the Dec. 14, 2010 issue of the Online Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. A special section in this PNAS issue focuses on what the 21st century climate in the Southwest will mean in terms of sustainability.

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ASU and Mexican experts design sustainability program to save biodiversity

December 1, 2010

School of Sustainability faculty members (L-R) Hallie Eakin and Arnim Wiek outline workshop activities and outcomes with three of their collaborators from the National Autonomous University of Mexico — Patricia Guereca, Institute of Engineering, Luis Zambrano, Institute of Biology, and Marisa Mazari, Institute of Ecology.

Mexico is one of the most biodiverse regions of our planet. In number of species, it currently ranks first in reptiles and amphibians, third in mammals, and fourth in plants.

To help protect this legacy, ecology experts from Mexico’s largest university met with ASU sustainability faculty and staff on Nov. 18-19 to collaboratively design a new international master’s degree in sustainability that will train the next generation of Mexican ecological practitioners and policymakers.

The two-day workshop is a key part of a collaboration between ASU’s School of Sustainability and the Institute of Ecology of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (IE-UNAM), one of Latin America’s most prominent university systems. It was co-organized by School of Sustainability faculty members Hallie Eakin, who also manages the project, and Arnim Wiek, one of the project’s principal investigators.

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Student pursues sustainable living, organizes efforts campuswide

November 22, 2010

Natalie Fleming, a junior majoring in sustainability, is one of about 200 ASU students living in Sustainability House at Barrett (SHAB), the sustainable-living community at Barrett, the Honors College. Her push for the environment extends campuswide, however, as she organizes events and leads a team for the student-led Center for Student Sustainability Initiatives, which she helped found.

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‘No Impact Week’ encourages students to live greener

November 15, 2010

Arizona State University kicked off its No Impact Week on Sunday, November 14. The eight-day initiative, sponsored by the Global Institute of Sustainability, encourages students on the Tempe campus to live greener through daily themes including: consumption, waste, transportation, food, energy, and water.

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Energize Phoenix Revs Up $25M in Grants

FeaturesInstitute Press Releases

November 2, 2010

The city of Phoenix began accepting funding applications Tuesday from multi-family housing owners along a 10-mile stretch of the Phoenix light rail corridor. $25 million in grants are available under the Energize Phoenix program, a joint public-private program that seeks to provide energy efficiency measures for about 2,000 homes and more than 30 million square feet of commercial and industrial space.

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Scientists From Around the Globe Convene to Address Urbanization, Land, and Climate Change

Institute Press Releases

October 12, 2010

ASU hosts two international conferences to advance sustainability efforts and progress                

PHOENIX/TEMPE, Ariz. – Reinforcing its role as a leader in interdisciplinary global environmental and climate change conversations, Arizona State University (ASU) will host conferences for both the International Conference on Urbanization and Global Environmental Change (UGEC) and the Global Land Project’s (GLP) Open Science Meeting.

How have humans changed the Earth’s surface? How do urbanization and global environmental change interface? What are new pathways for sustainability that link urbanization and land change? How can we adapt to changes that have already occurred?

These themes play significantly in both of the groups’ individual and joint conferences. They are also top of mind among next-phase thinkers in the fields of environment and sustainability and are expected to play prominently in upcoming agenda-setting reports.

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New 'Green' Minor for Major Change

Institute Press Releases

September 10, 2010

Arizona State University broadens scope of sustainability education offerings

TEMPE, Ariz. – Arizona State University (ASU) has launched a new minor in sustainability that can complement a student’s major in another academic discipline. This unique 18 credit hour program enables undergraduate students to explore the challenges of sustainability and learn what determines the sustainability of human institutions, organizations, cultures, and technologies in different environments at the local, national, and international levels.

The minor offered this fall, 2010, marks a milestone for ASU’s initiative to make sustainability education and practices university-wide across all four campuses.

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Dr. Elinor Ostrom – ASU Professor & Nobel Laureate

August 4, 2010

Q&A with Nobel Laureate Dr. Elinor Ostrom Finding the key to sustaining shared resources Elinor Ostrom is a research professor at the School of Human Evolution and Social Change in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and is founding director of the Center for the Study of Institutional Diversity.

In 2009, she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics for her work in economic governance, particularly as it applies to shared resources such as pastures, fisheries, and groundwater basins. Her research examines ways that institutions and users operating at widely different scales can work together to sustain such resources.

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