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Sustainability News

Study abroad programs in Cuba, Costa Rica teach students about sustainability

School of Sustainability News

August 2, 2018

3 ASU students show ASU pitchfork hand signals on a street in CubaDuring spring 2018, 14 Arizona State University students spent nine days in Havana, Cuba through the School of Sustainability program, “Cuba: Unlocked and On the Edge of Rapid Transitions.” This study abroad opportunity, offered in partnership with the Council on International Educational Exchange, allowed students from six ASU colleges to dive deeper into areas of energy systems, food systems, waste management, social equity and economy.

Students lived with host families during the program to better understand what it’s like to be Cuban during a time of economic struggle coupled with an increase in tourism due to the country’s newly opened borders. Through various off-the-beaten-path learning experiences, such as visiting urban gardens and volunteering in neighborhoods and waste facilities, students were able to interact with Cuban citizens and observe first-hand some of the complex issues exacerbated by the burst of tourism.

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Sustainability students graduating at high rates, winning elite scholarships

Board Letter School of Sustainability News Alumni and Student Spotlights

July 31, 2018

Student wearing maroon and gold graduation own walks among graduatesThe statistics are in: 81 percent of Arizona State University freshmen who enrolled in the School of Sustainability in fall 2013 graduated from ASU in four years. This is higher than the university’s overall four-year graduation rate.

Though all of the students included in the 81 percent started out in the School of Sustainability, about seven percent of them changed their major at some point.

“It’s okay if a student changes their major during their time at ASU,” said Lisa Murphy, Director of Academic Services at the School of Sustainability. “It’s important that students find the right major for them.”

Still, even with a small percentage of students shifting gears, the School of Sustainability holds one of the highest graduation rates at ASU. As of spring 2017, 1,098 students have graduated from the School of Sustainability since it opened in 2007.

ASU students, including students from the School of Sustainability, are winning more prestigious scholarships and fellowships than ever before.

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ASU sustainability alumnus Andy Stein named to '36 Under 36' list

School of Sustainability News Alumni News Alumni and Student Spotlights

July 17, 2018

Andy Stein smilingArizona State University School of Sustainability alumnus Andy Stein was just named to the seventh annual “Double Chai in the Chi: 36 Under 36” list, selected by the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago’s Young Leadership Division (YLD). The list highlights the societal contributions of Chicago’s young Jewish population.

“To see so many people creating new opportunities that better our community is truly inspiring,” said Alex Entratter, current YLD campaign chair and former honoree. “This is just the beginning of a bright future for these individuals and the community they are impacting."

Stein graduated from ASU with a Master of Sustainability Solutions. While at ASU, Stein was concurrently a Project Manager for the Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives. Now, Stein is a Sustainability Program Coordinator at Northwestern University, where he focuses on the university’s Built Environment Program. He has a particular interest in sustainable building practices and incorporating sustainability into business operations.

When asked by the “36 Under 36” list’s organizers to describe himself in 10 words or less, Stein responded: “Passionate about creating a healthy and sustainable future for everyone.”

Meet sustainability alumna Diane Trimble

School of Sustainability News Alumni News Alumni and Student Spotlights

July 12, 2018

Diane Trimble stands with Dean Chris Boone at the School of Sustainability convocation as she receives her master's degreeDiane Trimble now has two degrees from Arizona State University, but the journey to those achievements wasn’t easy. Trimble dropped out of college in Nevada in the mid-1990s, but in recent years, she wanted to become a better role model for her sons and community. Thus, she enrolled in online classes at Arizona State University through the Starbucks College Achievement Plan partnership and earned a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership in 2016. But she didn’t stop there. This year, Trimble graduated from the Executive Master of Sustainability Leadership (EMSL) program in the School of Sustainability.

We asked Diane questions about how her ASU education has changed her life for the better and what sustainability means to her.

Question: What was your “aha” moment when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?

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Meet sustainability master's student Anthony Contento

School of Sustainability News

July 10, 2018

Anthony Contento stands near a sign for his business, Contento RecyclingAnthony Contento, an Arizona State University School of Sustainability student, wasn’t looking to get a master’s degree. But after he found out about the Master of Sustainability Leadership, he couldn’t help but enroll. It was the perfect opportunity to learn how to apply sustainable practices to his family's New York business in construction and demolition debris recycling.

On top of working on his master’s degree, Contento recently earned a LEED Green Associate certificate because, he said, “the area of green building is closely related to construction and demolition debris recycling.”

Contento answered a few questions for us about how he will use his sustainability degree to build a more sustainable future in New York State, where he lives.

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

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Student helps expand bike share program, LEED certification in Phoenix neighborhood

School of Sustainability News Sustainability Connect Successes

July 9, 2018

Ethan McCloskeyDuring a 4 month internship, Ethan McCloskey, a Bachelor’s of Science student at the School of Sustainability, used his drive and work ethic to participate in the Stardust Affordable Housing Internship with the City of Phoenix. The department was so impressed with his work that now, after graduation, he is employed with his former supervisor expanding on the projects he worked on as an undergrad.

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Julie Ann Wrigley creates new sustainability scholarship

Board Letter School of Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News

July 5, 2018

ASU student walks across the stage at School of Sustainability convocationJulie Ann Wrigley isn’t one just to talk about what needs to happen in society. She takes action. At Arizona State University alone, Wrigley has invested more than $50 million dollars in something she believes deeply in: sustainability.

Without Wrigley’s investments in ASU, the university wouldn’t be the leader in sustainability that it is today. Her philanthropy at the university started in 2004, when she joined ASU President Michael M. Crow at a pivotal retreat where many of the world’s sustainability leaders discussed challenges facing our planet and what a university could do to address them. At this retreat, the vision for an interdisciplinary sustainability institute was born.

Wrigley helped make this vision a reality with an initial gift of $15 million dollars. In doing so, she became the co-founder of ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability, a dynamic hub of research, education and solutions. After Wrigley invested another $25 million in the institute, it was renamed after her in 2014.

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Meet sustainability alumna Genevieve Pearthree

School of Sustainability News Alumni and Student Spotlights

July 2, 2018

Genevieve Pearthree smilingArizona State University School of Sustainability alumna Genevieve Pearthree knew what she wanted to do in a career and forged her own educational path to get there. After creating her own bachelor’s degree in California, as she explained in the interview below, Pearthree graduated with concurrent ASU master’s degrees: a Master of Science in Sustainability in 2018 and a Master of Urban and Environmental Planning in 2017.

In April 2018, Pearthree attended the American Planning Association’s national conference in New Orleans and was awarded the American Institute of Certified Planners Student Project Award for Applied Research. She received this award for her grant-funded work discussing affordable housing in Ketchum, Idaho — a small city that relies heavily on tourism. Pearthree also serves on the School of Sustainability Alumni Board and is involved with the American Planning Association and the Arizona Planning Association.

Pearthree is now an Associate Planner with the City of Flagstaff’s Current Planning department, working with planners and developers to shape Flagstaff's urban form and meet long-term city goals around sustainability, walkability, public transit, open space preservation, affordable housing, historic preservation and more. She took a break from her busy schedule to talk sustainability and offer advice for current and future School of Sustainability students.

Question: What was your “aha” moment when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?

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ASU sustainability alumnus gears up for carbon-neutral road trip

School of Sustainability News Alumni and Student Spotlights

June 29, 2018

John Martinson shows off his Tesla at Green Living AZ event in Scottsdale, ArizonaTo Arizona State University alumnus John Martinson, “range anxiety” — the fear of becoming stranded in an electric vehicle after the battery dies — is a state of mind, not an actual concern.

With a bit of planning, a cross-country road trip in an electric vehicle is possible. And Martinson should know: On July 1, he’s embarking on a monthlong father-son road trip from Arizona to Canada and back in his new Tesla, which advertises up to 310 miles of range.

Completing an ambitious road trip in an electric vehicle may worry some people, but for Martinson, it’s another way to live his values. Martinson is a recent graduate of the ASU School of Sustainability’s Executive Master of Sustainability Leadership program, and he’s also the school’s alumni board president. Before he graduated from the school, Martinson co-owned the successful China Mist Tea Company for 34 years. He believes in natural capitalism, which is a business model that takes into account the value of earth’s natural resources and ecosystems.

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Graduate student rides the solar curve to a Master of Sustainability Solutions

School of Sustainability News Sustainability Connect Successes

June 27, 2018

Devon RoodDevon Rood completed her Solar Duck Curve and Sustainable Storage Options project in April 2018 as the culminating project for her Master of Sustainability Solutions (MSUS) degree.

Working with Arizona Public Services (APS), Rood’s goal was to evaluate the most sustainable energy storage option out of the three potential options APS was considering. These included pumped hydro energy storage, compressed air energy storage, and Lithium-ion batteries.

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Real-World Learning Experiences site helps professors teach hands-on sustainability

School of Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News Sustainability Connect News

June 26, 2018

Four students stand on a hillside and look off to the horizonAs a professor, it can be hard to implement real-world projects and activities into lesson plans. That’s why a team of Arizona State University sustainability researchers, staff and students created a website, “Real-World Learning Experiences for Sustainability,” to help instructors design different kinds of applied projects and implement them into coursework.

“We wanted this to be an open access tool to help facilitate real-world learning — not just at ASU, but anywhere in the world,” said Sydney Lines, Project Coordinator for Sustainability Connect, a platform for applied projects in sustainability problem solving at the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability. Lines designed the RWLE website using content developed by Katja Brundiers, a School of Sustainability Assistant Research Professor; Aaron Redman, a School of Sustainability doctoral student; and Dorothy Trippel Broomall, a School of Sustainability alumnus and adjunct faculty member.

The RWLE are divided into four levels: beginner to advanced, or freshman to senior. Each level revolves around a different concept: bringing the world into the classroom, visiting the world, simulating the world and engaging the world. The website provides a toolkit for each level of learning, including activities connected to the School of Sustainability’s core competencies, downloadable resources, links to videos and other assets, and featured real-world examples.

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Meet sustainability master's student Danielle Leoni

School of Sustainability News Alumni and Student Spotlights

June 25, 2018

Chef Danielle Leoni wearing a chef's coat and smilingArizona State University Executive Master of Sustainability Leadership student Danielle Leoni certainly has enough accomplishments under her belt without a master’s degree. She is the executive chef and co-owner of The Breadfruit & Rum Bar in downtown Phoenix; she owns her own business, Leoni's Focaccia; and she was recently named as a 2018 James Beard Foundation Women's Entrepreneurial Leadership program fellow. Last summer, Leoni was awarded a “Seafood Sustainability Seal” by the James Beard Foundation after she participated in its Smart Catch sustainable seafood program.

Even having accomplished all of that, Leoni is driven to learn and do more in the realm of sustainability — thus, her enrollment in the EMSL program in the ASU School of Sustainability. Read on for why she chose the program, how she balances all of her responsibilities and how she hopes other restaurants will incorporate sustainability into their practices.

Question: Why did you decide to join the EMSL program?

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Meet sustainability alumna Haley Paul

School of Sustainability News Alumni and Student Spotlights

June 22, 2018

Portrait of ASU sustainability alumna Haley PaulWhen we heard that Arizona State University School of Sustainability alumna Haley Paul became Audubon Arizona’s new policy manager, we knew we had to catch up with her. Paul graduated with a Master of Science in sustainability with a thesis examining the 1980 Groundwater Management Act and its impact on agriculture in south-central Arizona. After receiving her degree, she went on to work in fields related to water resources and water conservation before landing at Audubon Arizona in April 2018.

Paul answered several questions for us including how she became interested in sustainability and advice she has for current ASU sustainability students.

Question: What was your “aha” moment when you realized you wanted to study the field you received a degree in?

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Meet sustainability alumnus Adam Gabriele

School of Sustainability News Alumni and Student Spotlights

June 5, 2018

ASU student Adam Gabriele poses on a farmArizona native Adam Gabriele loves to learn. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science, a master’s degree from the School of Sustainability, and now he’s working on a doctorate from ASU’s School for the Future of Innovation in Society.

Gabriele’s mix of interests led him to pursue a unique research topic while at the School of Sustainability. His scientific paper, called “Living in a Wounded World: Sustainability and Psychological Trauma,” explored the psychosocial benefits of agricultural therapy for combat veterans impacted by PTSD and moral injury. “The results strongly suggest that sustainable agricultural can be of powerful clinical benefit to traumatized veterans and that sustainable behaviors and values in general increased as trauma symptoms decreased,” Gabriele wrote.

Read on for how Gabriele got inspired to do this research and what sustainability means to him.

Question: What was your “aha” moment when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?

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ASU students perform 'Positively Ghostly' scenes in Apache Junction

School of Sustainability News Project Cities

June 5, 2018

Two ASU students act out a scene for Positively Ghostly performanceIn the city of Apache Junction, at the foothills of the Superstition Mountains, graduate students from Arizona State University performed a series of theatrical scenes related to the city’s history. This event, called “Positively Ghostly,” brought to life tales of ghosts and lost treasures gathered from local residents, and illustrated the Old West history ingrained in the city. These performances allowed residents to connect with local legends and landscapes while reflecting on the value that their city brings to Arizona.

“Positively Ghostly” was a collaboration between the city of Apache Junction, ASU School of Sustainability students involved in Project Cities, and ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts students. The event was part of a wider tourism project called “Positively Apache Junction” led by Project Cities, a university-community initiative within ASU's Sustainable Cities Network. Watch performance highlights on the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability's YouTube channel.


Meet sustainability senior Austin Crane

School of Sustainability News Alumni and Student Spotlights

June 4, 2018

Austin Crane participating in a weeds crew community service projectSchool of Sustainability undergraduate Austin Crane has achieved a lot in the past year. Besides working on his bachelor's degree, Crane has been interning at Ewing Irrigation & Landscape Supply as a sustainability intern.

Since he started at Ewing in the summer of 2017, Crane has helped implement a variety of sustainability projects, including a sprinkler controller recycling program and community service events. He’s also made changes to the way Ewing’s employees are engaged in sustainability by creating training materials and relaunching a company-wide “Green Team.”

“Ultimately, my work is concerned with spreading the word about sustainability and letting people know that living sustainably is easy and doable,” Crane said. “I believe that we as sustainability professionals can only be successful if we can convince people to join us on our quest.”

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Meet sustainability master’s student Zoë Stein

School of Sustainability News Alumni and Student Spotlights

May 31, 2018

Student Zoe Stein holds an ASU Pitchfork Award for Outstanding Graduate Student Leader. She is posing with Katie Ulmer, her academic advisor.
Zoë Stein and Katie Ulmer at the Pitchfork Awards ceremony
School of Sustainability student Zoë Stein is a go-getter. In April, she won an Arizona State University Pitchfork Award for Outstanding Graduate Student Leader. She is currently a master's student in Global Sustainability Science, a dual degree program that awards degrees from ASU and Leuphana University in Germany. Once she graduates, Stein plans to run for local office.

“Zoë is going to change the world,” said Katie Ulmer, the School of Sustainability's academic advisor for graduate students. “She is the globally engaged Sun Devil! She will one day be a household name in the Phoenix area, synonymous for many great achievements.”

With that in mind, we wanted to pick Stein’s brain about her experience as a sustainability student. Here are a few of her answers.

Question: What was your “aha” moment when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?

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Master of Sustainability Leadership graduate uses skills at FedEx

School of Sustainability News Alumni News Alumni and Student Spotlights

May 18, 2018

portrait of Benjamin Fogg wearing a suitWhen Benjamin Fogg was brainstorming ways to bring sustainability practices to FedEx Ground, a company he began working for after completing his bachelor’s degree in Alabama, he discovered Arizona State University’s Online Master of Sustainability Leadership. Fogg applied to the program at the School of Sustainability, he said, because of its focus on innovation and leadership “paired with the broader, global context. Since FedEx Corporation operates all over the world, it felt like the perfect fit for my career.”

During his time as a master’s student, Fogg was promoted multiple times and moved to different states. “ASU Online allowed that mobility to happen while I continued my education,” he said.

Recently, Fogg was promoted to a Sustainability Specialist position at FedEx. His career goal, he said, is to “obtain a senior leadership position within the company that focuses on bringing sustainability to the forefront of what we’re doing.”


Navy technician graduates in engineering, sustainability

School of Sustainability News Alumni and Student Spotlights

May 17, 2018

Man in U.S. Navy uniform standing with wifeSchool days for Carl Harris were not the routine experience they are for most college students.

Harris has been on active duty or reserve status for the U.S. Navy for the past 18 years, with multiple deployments throughout the Middle East. On top of that, Harris earned a bachelor’s degree this month through the online engineering management program in ASU's Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, with a minor in sustainability from ASU’s School of Sustainability.

“I am a big fan of the whole sustainability movement,” Harris said. “Sustainable technologies are going to be a big emerging market around the world. I would love to work in engineering management at a cutting-edge sustainable tech company.”


Meet the Disruptors: Disrupt/Create/Sustain

School of Sustainability News Sustainability Connect Successes

May 7, 2018

Disrupt HeaderAs the largest university in the country Arizona State University inevitably makes quite a bit of waste. Sure we have a Zero Waste initiative, and we recycle and compost, but there are often items, large and small, that get overlooked. Students are helping to fill the gaps.

In spring 2018 a one-credit course was created as a cross-disciplinary effort between the School of Sustainability (SOS), University Sustainability Practices (USP), and the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts (HIDA) to bring students of different disciplines together to collaborate on a sustainability-focused art project. Students were charged with the task of developing a prototype of an outdoor common space for the Tempe campus. They focused on waste, recycling, and circular resources and were then released to complete the project with guidance from a team of staff from SOS, USP, and HIDA. The intention of the final installation was to engage campus visitors, students, staff, and faculty who move through common spaces at ASU. Groups were encouraged to consider innovative materials and construction processes for their installations.

Class time comprised of talks by artists, designers, and sustainability experts to give students an idea of the kinds of projects they could create, the specific issues they could focus on, and free time to work on their designs. Once student teams moved through development stages, they received approval to construct their proposed installation. Students were judged by ASU student peers, selected staff, and faculty. Funding and scholarship opportunities were also available for this group and were judged in a competition setting.

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