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Sustainability News

ASU Sustainability News

January 11, 2012

Online certificate custom-designed to meet US Army, Army National Guard, Army Reserve readiness objectives

The design and establishment of an online graduate certificate in sustainability leadership at Arizona State University for soldiers and civilians in the U.S. Army, Army National Guard and Army Reserve was inaugurated Jan. 6 during a signing ceremony.

Participating in the event at the Army National Guard Bureau headquarters in Arlington, Va., were ASU President Michael M. Crow; Brig. Gen. Daniel J. Nelan, assistant to the director, Army National Guard; and Richard G. Kidd IV, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for energy and sustainability.

“This graduate-level certificate program introduces soldiers and civilians in the United States Army, Army National Guard and Army Reserve to major principles in sustainability science,” Crow said. “The men and women who participate in this program will learn to apply sustainability tools, techniques and concepts to meet standards for operational efficiencies, energy and water conservation, use of renewable energy sources, and waste minimization, all of which will enhance mission readiness and cost effectiveness.”

The Sustainability Leadership Graduate Certificate at ASU is a custom-developed program featuring contemporary examples of sustainability challenges and opportunities relevant to missions and operations of the Army, Army National Guard and Army Reserve. It was specifically designed to assist soldiers and civilians in furthering their education while moving the Army, Army National Guard and Army Reserve closer to their goals to be sustainable organizations.

The five-course online program is offered through ASU’s School of Sustainability, which is the first in the nation to offer comprehensive undergraduate and graduate degree programs in sustainability science. The courses in the program may also be applied toward a master’s degree in sustainability.

"The Army National Guard today faces unprecedented demands on its soldiers, communities, natural resources and various other assets. Our readiness relies on the actions we take now,” Nelan said.

"We will meet these obligations by becoming a more sustainable organization, starting with ensuring our soldiers and civilians receive the highest quality training and education in sustainable practices and principals,” Nelan said. “This education program is a significant milestone for the Army Guard."

The Army National Guard (ARNG) approached ASU with an idea to partner on the development of a sustainability program that will prepare soldiers to achieve future readiness requirements amid a changing military and increasingly limited resources. The ARNG provided a team of trainers, energy managers, logisticians and environmental specialists to work with ASU’s School of Sustainability faculty in developing the specialized, Army-centric curriculum.

“One of the courses – Sustainable Military Acquisition and Logistics – will provide practical approaches to applying sustainability principles to procurement and acquisition, transportation, and material,” said Rob Melnick, executive dean with ASU’s School of Sustainability.

Melnick, who oversees the program at ASU, noted that another course – Energy and the Built Environment – “will provide practical approaches to applying sustainability principles and practices to public works activities, housing, facilities operations and management, military construction, master planning, and energy management.”

"Sustainability is key to the Army's future, and Net Zero strategies are the centerpiece of the Army sustainability initiative,” Kidd said. “As supply lines change due to operational vulnerabilities in Afghanistan, our fuel expenses increased significantly. Sustainability factors into everything we do, and that's why this new education program is so important."

This sustainability leadership program aligns with key sustainability initiatives set by the Obama Administration, including a 2009 executive order regarding federal leadership in environmental, energy and economic performance; the Army’s sustainability campaign plan of 2010; and the Army National Guard’s Readiness Center Sustainability Operations Order of 2011.

This partnership exemplifies ASU’s unwavering commitment to help create a sustainable future at local, national and global levels through education, use-inspired research and outreach. The Graduate Certificate in Sustainability Leadership builds on ASU’s established track record with the U.S. military, which encompasses a robust and long-standing ROTC program (founded in 1935) and innovative research collaborations including the establishment of the Flexible Display Center that brings together academia, industry and government to develop revolutionary flexible information portals.

G.I. Jobs magazine recently cited ASU among the most “military friendly” universities in the United States for a third consecutive year.

More information about the Sustainability Leadership Graduate Certificate at ASU is online at


Russ Knocke,

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Carol Hughes,

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