ASU Wrigley Institute News

Research Looks at Water, Energy Impacts of Climate Change

November 30, 2009

Climate projections for the next 50 to 100 years forecast increasingly frequent severe droughts and heat waves across the American Southwest, sinking available water levels even as rising mercury drives up demand for it.

Declining water supply will affect more than just water flowing from taps and spraying from hoses and sprinklers. It will also strongly impinge on power generation, testing the capacity of sources like Hoover Dam, with its roughly 1.3 million customers in Nevada, Arizona and California, to generate adequate power with less water.

Now, Patricia Gober and David A. Sampson of the Decision Center for a Desert City at Arizona State University are teaming with David J. Sailor of Portland State University on a $65,000 grant to wade into this deep problem.

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ASU Plays Key Role in Arizona’s Landing of Suntech

November 18, 2009

The sun shines bright in the Valley, but that is not the reason why China’s leading manufacturer of solar panels, Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd., decided to locate its first manufacturing plant here. It is its longstanding ties to Arizona State University that helped convince the manufacturer of the benefits of metropolitan Phoenix, said Jonathan Fink, a Foundation Professor in ASU’s School of Sustainability and the School of Earth and Space Exploration.

“These earlier steps, which date back more than a decade, represent the apolitical, technology based cultivation that universities are best suited to carry out, usually behind the scenes,” Fink said.

Suntech announced its choice of the Phoenix metropolitan area for its first U.S. plant on Nov. 15 and cited several reasons, including the research strengths of ASU, Arizona’s statewide renewable energy policies and the favorable local business climate fostered by groups like the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. While Suntech will provide a modest initial commitment of about 75 new jobs and a facility of about 100,000 sq feet of space, it is the fact that they chose the Valley that has many people excited.

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Renowned Global Climate Change Expert to Lead ASU Law and Sustainability Initiative

Institute Press Releases

November 13, 2009

Daniel M. Bodansky, a preeminent authority in international climate change law, has been appointed the Lincoln Professor of Law, Ethics, and Sustainability at Arizona State University, according to Paul Schiff Berman, Dean of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.

Bodansky also has been named an Affiliated Faculty member in both the College of Law’s Center for Law and Global Affairs, and in the Global Institute of Sustainability’s School of Sustainability at ASU. His appointment is effective Aug. 1, 2010.

“The hiring of Dan Bodansky is a tremendously positive step for advancing ASU,” said ASU President Michael Crow. “On the law and sustainability front, Dan will bring us global thinking at the highest level. This is a great day for ASU.”

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New H1N1 Survey Reveals Arizonans’ Flu Season Plans

November 9, 2009

TEMPE, Ariz. (Nov. 9, 2009) — Arizonans are gearing up for more H1N1 activity this flu season, and a new survey reveals how much they really know about the virus and how they’re preparing for its spread.

The new survey of more than 700 Arizona households was designed and analyzed by faculty and students from the School of Health Management and Policy at the W. P. Carey School of Business, the Decision Theater at the Global Institute of Sustainability, and the School of Public Affairs at Arizona State University. The study was sponsored by the Arizona Department of Health Services and was conducted during the month of October. The results will be used by public information officials from various hospitals, public health agencies and related organizations to determine how to best communicate to the public about H1N1 influenza.

> Read more see “New H1N1 Survey Reveals Arizonans’ Flu Season Plans”

ASU Polytechnic gets Gold LEED Rating

October 28, 2009

Arizona State University received a gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership and Energy and Environmental Design program for the academic complex at its Polytechnic campus.

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> Polytechnic Academic Complex

ASU Exceeds $300 Million in Research Expenditures

October 26, 2009

Arizona State University has topped $300 million in research expenditures for the first time in its school history. With a total of $307 million in research expenditures for FY2009 (which ended June 30), a growth of nearly 9 percent compared to FY08, ASU has made a dramatic climb in the ranks of top research universities.

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Arizona State University is Rated a Sustainability Leader by the College Sustainability Report Card

October 7, 2009

Arizona State University (ASU) is topping the charts for its efforts in sustainability. ASU earned high marks from the Sustainable Endowments Institute’s College Sustainability Report Card 2010, with an overall grade of A-.

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Study: Wealth buys rescue from urban heat island

September 21, 2009

by Shaun McKinnon
The Arizona Republic

Heat discriminates. Phoenix’s sweltering summer inflicts the most misery and illness in poor neighborhoods, a new study shows, and among people least able to protect themselves from the elements. Conditions in those neighborhoods, with their sparse landscaping, high-density housing and converging freeways, create pockets of extreme heat that persist day and night. Inside, homeowners sometimes can’t afford to turn up – or even turn on – the air-conditioner.

Wealthier homeowners, meanwhile, often in neighborhoods just blocks away, maintain lush yards and trees that help cool the air more quickly at night, shortening the hours of the hottest heat waves. They can buy further relief with a nudge of the thermostat.
The disparities present threats more serious than just discomfort on a hot day, according to the study, produced by Arizona State University researchers. Prolonged exposure to heat can cause illness or even death. The densely developed nature of the hottest areas also means more of the people most vulnerable – the elderly, children, the homebound – live in the neighborhoods where the risk is greatest.

That link between money and the ability to cope with extreme weather emerged clearly in the research. Among the startling revelations: For every $10,000 an area’s income rises, the average outside temperature drops one-half degree Fahrenheit.

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The Aspen Institute Announces Arizona State University’s Jay Golden as Winner of 2009 Faculty Pioneer Award

Institute Press Releases

September 16, 2009

NEW YORK, N.Y., TEMPE, Ariz. – The Center for Business Education at the Aspen Institute announced today that Professor Jay Golden of Arizona State University (ASU) has been named 2009 Faculty Pioneer. This recognition program, dubbed the “Oscars of the business school world” by The Financial Times, celebrates business educators who have demonstrated leadership and risk-taking in integrating ethical, environmental and social issues into the business curriculum. Golden will be honored on November 6th at an awards breakfast at Ernst & Young’s corporate headquarters in New York’s Times Square.

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Sierra Magazine Names ASU as a "Cool School"

August 20, 2009


ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY NAMED ONE OF AMERICA’S TOP 20 “COOLEST” SCHOOLS BY SIERRA MAGAZINE. ASU praised for green efforts by national magazine, ranks #13 on list


TEMPE, Ariz. – Sierra magazine has named the nation’s top 20 “coolest” schools for their efforts to stop global warming and operate sustainably. The magazine’s September/October cover story spotlights the schools that are making a true impact for the planet, and marks Sierra’s third annual listing of America’s greenest universities and colleges. The complete list is available online at

Arizona State University (ASU) placed #13 on the list. Sustainability initiatives at Arizona State University include the only purchasing program to score a perfect “10” among Sierra’s top 20, ramped-up recycling and waste-diversion efforts, energy-efficiency upgrades that have saved ASU an estimated 33 million kWh and 70 million pounds of CO2 annually, one of the largest university solar initiatives in the country; and ASU is home to the nation’s first School of Sustainability.

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Experienced students help nurture young minds

August 10, 2009

Youngsters in a science summer camp hosted by the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering benefitted from the efforts of several ASU students with an enthusiasm for educational outreach.

Among them were Alice Ling, a senior studying mechanical engineering, and Erin Frisk, a doctoral student in ASU’s School of Sustainability.

They worked with 48 Arizona middle school students who participated in the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp.

Ling guided the teens and pre-teens through science and engineering projects and helped them cope with living day and night for two weeks on a university campus.

“I love working with kids,” Ling says. “I love to see them gain confidence in themselves and develop team-building skills in just a couple of weeks.” Frisk developed the camp curriculum, which provided the students a hands-on introduction to the diverse and growing field of sustainability.

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ASU Named One of Nation's 'Greenest' Universities

July 27, 2009

Arizona State University has been named one of the nation’s "greenest" universities by The Princeton Review in its second annual rating of environmentally-friendly institutions. This is the second year in a row that ASU made the list.

The Princeton Review named 15 colleges to its "2010 Green Rating Honor Roll" – a list that salutes the institutions that received the highest possible score – 99 – in this year’s rating tallies.

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ASU and the U of AR Work with Walmart on Developing Sustainable Product Index

July 16, 2009

Consortium of universities will collaborate with businesses, NGOs and governmental agencies to develop global database of information on the lifecycle of products

TEMPE, Ariz., FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Walmart, a world leader in sustainability announced today an investment that reaffirms its commitment to incorporating sustainable business practices throughout the entire consumer business supply chain. Through a revolutionary move, Walmart is helping create a consortium of universities, jointly administered by Arizona State University (ASU) and the University of Arkansas (UA).

Walmart’s initial investment will be dispersed equally to Arizona State University and the University of Arkansas; this partnership will conduct the development of a science-based, open source, product lifecycle assessment that will provide scientific innovations that lead to a new generation of sustainable products, materials, and technologies.

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Explosive Growth of Life Fueled by Early Greening of Earth

July 14, 2009

Earth’s 4.5-billion-year history is filled with several turning points when temperatures changed dramatically, asteroids bombarded the planet and life forms came and disappeared. But one of the biggest moments in Earth’s lifetime is the Cambrian explosion of life, roughly 540 million years ago, when complex, multi-cellular life burst out all over the planet.

While scientists can pinpoint this pivotal period as leading to life as we know it today, it is not completely understood what caused the Cambrian explosion of life. Now, researchers led by Arizona State University geologist L. Paul Knauth believe they have found the trigger for the Cambrian explosion.

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Sustainable Cities Network receives $60,000 grant from Sam's Club®

Institute Press Releases

July 8, 2009

Partnership between ASU and city, county, and tribal leaders strengthens regional sustainability efforts.

As part of Sam’s Club’s commitment to give back to the communities it serves, company executives presented Arizona State University with a $60,000 grant for its Sustainable Cities Network. The contribution is a market grant, with money pooled from 13 Sam’s Club stores in the Phoenix-Tucson-Prescott area.

“The Sustainable Cities Network represents the cities we serve, and it works to promote sustainability, which is one of the major focuses of our grants,” said Keith Lowe, club manager for the Gilbert store.

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ASU Art Museum Becomes Catalyst for Sustainability Dialogue

June 30, 2009

August 27, 2009 – February 20, 2010

Surprising. Invigorating. Thought provoking. The Arizona State University Art Museum continues to present the best in contemporary art with exhibitions in all media by regional and international, emerging and established artists. The ASU Art Museum organizes these outstanding contemporary art exhibitions – which often receive national and international attention – and presents them in innovative ways for students and visitors. 

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Water Webs Connect Spiders, Residents in Southwest

June 25, 2009

If you are a cricket and it is a dry season on the San Pedro River in Arizona, on your nighttime ramblings to eat leaves, you are more likely to be ambushed by thirsty wolf spiders, or so a June 19 study suggests, published in the journal Ecology, and featured in the journal Science.

A potential horror story for any cricket. However, it is also a tale of water limitation that looks beyond how most ecosystem studies are considered. Much current work about the relationships between predators and prey is based on nutrients or energy limitation – via a food web.

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ASU Researcher is Among Authors of New U.S. Global Climate Change Report

June 17, 2009

Arizona State University professor Nancy Grimm is one of the authors of a new and authoritative federal study assessing the current and anticipated domestic impacts of climate change. The report, “Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States,” was released June 16 by the U.S. Office of Science and Technology Policy, which advises the President on the effects of science and technology on domestic and international affairs.

The main message in the report is that climate change is already having visible impacts in the United States, and, the choices that are made now will determine the severity of its impacts in the future.

The report compiles years of scientific research and takes into account new data not available during the preparation of previous large national and global assessments. It was produced by a consortium of experts from 13 U.S. government science agencies and from several major research institutes and universities, including Arizona State University.

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Thirteen Sustainability Graduates Represent Milestone for Arizona State University

May 13, 2009

ASU celebrates its first class of graduates from the nation’s first School of Sustainability

President Barack Obama’s message of change parallels the vision Arizona State University has been pursuing since Michael Crow became its 16th president in 2002.

“The President’s emphasis on building the next generation of leaders in science, technology, and sustainability, as well as the arts, mirrors ASU’s mission as a New American University,” said Crow. “His advocacy for representation of women and people of color, engaging a broader spectrum of leadership, models significantly for others at the highest level.”

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School of Sustainability and Faculty Members Receive Numerous Awards

May 12, 2009

ASU’s School of Sustainability and its faculty members were widely recognized for achievements, educational contributions, and research advances in 2008-2009. Among the accolades:

ASU’s School of Sustainability received both a Crescordia Award in the category of environmental education/communication and the overall President’s Award for 2008 from Arizona’s Valley Forward Association for outstanding environmental achievement of the year.

Decision Center for a Desert City (DCDC) co-directors Patricia Gober, Ph.D., and Charles Redman, Ph.D., accepted the Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water in a November ceremony in Saudi Arabia. DCDC, which is a unit of the Global Institute of Sustainability, will split the $133,000 award with one other institution. Gober and Redman are both School of Sustainability faculty.


Patricia Gober, Ph.D., was elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest general scientific society, in the Geology and Geography Division. In addition, Dr. Gober received the ASU Faculty Achievement Research Award sponsored by the ASU Alumni Association for her role in advancing the issues of water management and environmental change in metropolitan Phoenix. She also serves on the faculty of the School of Geographical Sciences.

George Maracas, Ph.D., was honored by the Phoenix Business Journal with its Green Pioneers Award, which is given to businesses, governments, and individuals that take steps to become more eco-friendly. He also serves on the faculty of the Department of Electrical Engineering and is CEO of ASU’s Solar Power Laboratory.

Douglas Webster, Ph.D., was awarded the 2008 Phoenix Global Power Player award by the Phoenix Business Journal. He also serves on the faculty of the School of Government, Politics & Global Studies.

Jianguo Wu, Ph.D., was chosen as one of 19 Leopold Leadership Program Fellows based on scientific excellence, leadership qualities, and desire to expand communication and outreach skills beyond traditional scientific circles. He also serves on the faculty of the School of Life Sciences.


Braden Allenby, Ph.D., was named a 2008 U.S. Professor of the Year by both the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. He is also the Director, Center for Earth Systems Engineering and Management, and serves on the faculty of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Nan Ellin, Ph.D., received Valley Forward’s Environmental Excellence Award of Merit in the Environmental Education category for “Making Sustainable Communities Happen.” She is also director of the Urban & Metropolitan Studies Program in the School of Public Affairs, College of Public Programs.

Stuart Fisher, Ph.D., won the Ecological Society of America’s Eugene P. Odum Award for Excellence in Environmental Education. He also serves on the faculty of the School of Life Sciences.

Nancy Grimm, Ph.D., was elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest general scientific society, for her work in the area of urban ecology & sustainability. She also serves as co-director of the Central Arizona-Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research Project and is a faculty member of the School of Life Sciences.

Mark Henderson, Ph.D., won the Creasman Award for Excellence from the ASU Alumni Association for his work as director of GlobalResolve, an interdisciplinary social-entrepreneurship initiative at Arizona State University that involves ASU students, faculty, staff, alumni, and international partners in projects that improve the lives of underprivileged people around the world. He also serves on the faculty of the ASU Polytechnic Department of Engineering.

Margaret Nelson, Ph.D., was named a President’s Professor in 2008, an award that recognizes tenured faculty who have made outstanding contributions to undergraduate education at Arizona State University. She is also Associate Dean, Barrett, The Honors College and serves on the faculty of the School of Human Evolution and Social Change.

David Pijawka, Ph.D., received the 2009 Outstanding Leadership in Education award from the NAACP, Maricopa Branch. He also serves on the faculty of the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning.

Bruce E. Rittmann, Ph.D., NAE, FAAAS, won the Simon W. Freese Environmental Engineering Award and Lecture from the American Society of Civil Engineers. He is also director of the Center for Environmental Biotechnology in the Biodesign Institute. Rittmann was just named a Regent’s Professor, the highest faculty honor bestowed by the University.

Everett Shock, Ph.D., was named 2009 Geochemistry Fellow by the Geochemical Society and The European Association for Geochemistry, an honor that is bestowed upon outstanding scientists who have, over some years, made a major contribution to the field of geochemistry. He also serves on the faculty of the School of Earth and Space Exploration.