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Sustainability News

Meeting emissions targets after Paris climate talks

Board Letter ASU Sustainability News School of Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News

May 19, 2016

Smokestacks billow emissions in front of a blue skyWithin months of the Paris climate talks, more than 20 city officials from around the world gathered in Washington, D.C. for a "how-to" on inventorying sources of greenhouse gas emissions. The training – led by Raj Buch, practice lead for the Walton Global Sustainability Solutions Services – helped attendees determine where emissions cuts are most needed.

Twenty-one city officials attended, from countries including Argentina, India, South Africa, Korea, Bolivia, China and Bangladesh. All of them were clients of World Bank, an organization that mainly finances Third World infrastructure projects and is concerned about the effects climate change will have on them.

Bank officials asked the School of Sustainability to design and deliver a curriculum around this topic, as it had done for other topics in the past. The workshop will be produced in an online format, as well.


Leading the way to a sustainable future: Andrew Krause

School of Sustainability News Alumni News Alumni and Student Spotlights

May 18, 2016

sustainability-alum-andrew-krauseAndrew Krause is a two-time graduate of the School of Sustainability. He was a member of the first cohort of graduating undergraduates in 2009, and also received a Master of Science in 2012.

Andrew is now the CEO of eecosphere, which he co-founded while at ASU. eecosphere connects responsible brands with conscious consumers online through social advocacy campaigns. The platform helps users adopt new sustainability behaviors into their lives, and gives them tools to scale their daily actions into global revolutions.

Why did you choose to study at ASU’s School of Sustainability?

I’m not your prototypical “tree hugger,” but I’ve always been fascinated by the complexities that make up sustainable change in a system. Originally, I wanted to be in the construction engineering field. However, I quickly became more intrigued by the way sustainability science has the potential to motivate and empower the mainstream to collectively engage with complex global issues.

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Meet Our Alumni: Jeffrey Jennings

School of Sustainability News Alumni News Alumni and Student Spotlights

May 18, 2016

Sustainability student Jeffrey smiling in front of fountains and palm treesJeffrey Jennings graduated from the School of Sustainability in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts, focusing on Society and Sustainability. He also has a Professional Science Masters in Science and Technology Policy from ASU’s School for the Future of Innovation in Society. He currently works as a sustainability project coordinator for Arizona Public Service, where he focuses on corporate social responsibility and how to make APS a more sustainable company.

Why did you choose to study at ASU’s School of Sustainability?

Before choosing ASU, I considered Northern Arizona University and University of Arizona. It was a bit of a journey. I had always been attracted to multiple disciplines but wasn’t sure it would be possible to successfully combine my interests into one major. Initially, I started out in accounting and quickly realized that it wasn’t a good fit. Next, I strongly considered urban planning or supply chain before landing on sustainability.

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Building connections through big questions

School of Sustainability News

May 14, 2016

People talking and eating outside on a sunny dayby Alex Slaymaker, Master of Sustainability Solutions

Typical events include people who know each other talking about the weather and their to-dos.

But ASU’s School of Sustainability is far from typical. A group of undergraduate and graduate students decided to elevate the conversation to topics that matter during the School of Sustainability’s 10-year anniversary celebration on April 14, 2016.

The all-day celebration included a Rescued Food Feast, featuring food with approaching expiration dates or small bruises that was "rescued" from the landfill by a local grocery store. The event was hosted during lunchtime in the middle of campus, where the School of Sustainability offered the free food to engage students, staff, faculty, alumni and community members in the celebration of sustainability efforts at ASU and beyond.

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Student Spotlight: Kayla Bellman

School of Sustainability News Alumni and Student Spotlights

May 5, 2016

Kayla Bellman laughing in front of red hot air balloonChandler, Arizona native Kayla Bellman graduates from the School of Sustainability in Spring 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in the Sustainable Energy, Materials and Technology track. She will also receive a Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies with a Certificate in Human Rights.

What does sustainability mean to you?

To me, sustainability is the action of pursuing a just world. It is an act grander than one person, one community, and one nation. It demands the attention of the global community, immediately.

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

Growing up, I believed the medical field was the only way to “do good” – all my aunts and uncles are in the medical field. The product of two engineers, I was determined to do just about anything other than engineering.

Over the course of my senior year in high school, I came to the conclusion that environmental work could also fulfill my desire to “do good.” I found the School of Sustainability through a Google search, and I realized the best-of-the-best was in my backyard.

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Student Spotlight: Anna Jean Bettis

School of Sustainability News Alumni and Student Spotlights

May 4, 2016

Anna Bettis wearing black-framed glasses and smilingAnna Jean Bettis graduated with a Bachelor of Arts – International Development from the School of Sustainability in 2014. This spring, the Kankakee, Illinois native graduates again - this time with her Masters of Sustainability Solutions.

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

During my senior year in high school in a marine biology course, there was a small section at the end about environmental destruction in the oceans. Up until this point, I was totally unaware of the massive environmental crisis we faced.

I took it upon myself to read more about environmental problems, from mass extinctions to the shifts in availability of water due to climate change. I was shocked and felt an urgency to be part of the solution. I had already planned to go to ASU, so when I learned that the School of Sustainability was a leader – the first in the nation – I was excited to apply!

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International innovation through partnership with Beijing Normal University

School of Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News LightWorks News

April 28, 2016

25496231294_902c0b3fc6_oStrengthening Arizona State University’s commitment to innovation, ASU and Beijing Normal University have agreed to establish the Joint International Research Laboratory of Disaster Risk and Sustainability Sciences. The mission of the Joint Lab is to establish an international innovation platform for fostering research, training and education programs in both disaster risk and sustainability sciences, with an emphasis on integrated risk governance for sustainable development.

The ultimate goals for the Joint Lab are to understand the transformation of social-ecological systems in the context of global climate change, to provide the knowledge required for societies elsewhere in the world to deal with risks posed by global environmental change, and to seize sustainable development opportunities in a transition to global sustainability.

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New partnership drives international sustainability education

School of Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News LightWorks News

April 28, 2016

26008456592_62e279a211_oArizona State University is developing a long-term partnership with Beijing Normal University through a joint education program. This program between ASU and BNU allows the universities to drive their shared vision of sustainability through education.

We’re excited to announce that BNU and ASU have agreed to establish a collaborative education program known as the “BNU-ASU 3+1+2 Program.” This program allows qualified undergraduate students enrolled at BNU to successfully complete three years of their curriculum at BNU, and then transfer to ASU for another year to finish their undergraduate program. When students complete the first four years in the program, they receive a bachelor’s degree from BNU, after which they have the option to pursue a two-year Master of Science in Sustainability degree at ASU's School of Sustainability.

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ASU mends the trails of iconic mountain on Earth Day

School of Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News

April 22, 2016

Teachers and students smile while collecting trash at A MountainTo commemorate Earth Day 2016, the ASU Wrigley Institute partnered with the City of Tempe to host a clean-up of "A" Mountain on April 22.

Roughly 150 volunteers from at least seven organizations hit the trails of Tempe's only preserve, armed with trash pickers and bags. Staff from the Department of Public Works – who had come in on their day off, in some instances – hauled away four dump trucks of debris, with many more small loads taken away in golf carts.

According to Robert Bartelme of the City of Tempe, up to 150 bags of trash were removed. This is a testament to the impressive volunteer turnout – the largest in the event's seven-year history.

Anniversary celebration propels school into its next decade

ASU Sustainability News School of Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News

April 14, 2016

asu-school-of-sustainability-ten-yearsIn 2014-2015, more than 1,500 ASU students were enrolled as sustainability majors and minors across business, engineering, sustainability, humanities and nutrition. Ten years prior, the degree did not exist – not at ASU or any other university in the nation.

The festivities on April 14, 2016, not only celebrated the evolution and accomplishments of the first-ever School of Sustainability, they recognized the foresight and collaborative spirit of Arizona State University as a whole.

The day began with a packed house at a Wrigley Lecture by best-selling author and food activist Michael Pollan, who discussed some disturbing trends in our food system and how they can be reversed. After receiving a standing ovation from the audience, Pollan joined the migration to the Rescued Food Feast, which served nearly 1,000 people with delicious meals made from nutritious foods typically disposed of for cosmetic reasons alone.

Diners then followed members of ASU's marching band to the front steps of Wrigley Hall, where Benefactor Julie Wrigley and President Michael Crow remarked on the occasion. Alumni, faculty and community members alike then enjoyed the Festival of Sustainability at ASU, featuring a Farmers Market, live music and exhibits by departments throughout the university.

It was a 10th birthday to remember!


ASU partners with UH Hilo on energy certificate

School of Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News

February 22, 2016

solar panels, palms trees and ocean at sunsetThe University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo will begin offering a certificate in energy science in fall 2016. The program was made possible through collaboration with ASU's School of Sustainability, which shared courses, syllabi and rationale for its own undergraduate certificate in energy and sustainability.

Representatives from the School of Sustainability met with UH Hilo's Bruce Mathews – interim dean of the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management – and physics professor Philippe Binder when the certificate was in its infancy. Sustainability scientists Mike Pasqualetti and Jon Kelman helped to fine-tune further details.

“Energy science is a really critical component of our future,” said Mathews. “Our energy is dependent on outside resources, and nutrients used as fertilizers are derived from outside energy, too. We are so dependent on imported fossil fuel, oil and coal. For us to become self-reliant is extremely critical.”


Haley Paul: Leading through knowledge, and by example

School of Sustainability News Alumni News Alumni and Student Spotlights

December 23, 2015

Haley Paul - Sustainability AlumHaley Paul is a 2010 graduate of the School of Sustainability’s Master of Science in Sustainability program, as well as a former NCAA athlete for the ASU track and field and cross country teams. She works as a water conservation specialist for the Town of Gilbert, and recently sat down with us to discuss her experience at ASU and how it led her to where she is today.

Why did you choose ASU and to get a master's in sustainability?

I wanted to focus on sustainability because I felt there was a need to explore how our everyday lives were impacting the planet. As an athlete, I paid attention to the food I put into my body. I thought studying agriculture and how we can grow food sustainably - along with the impact that food has on our health and environment - would be interesting.

For my undergraduate honors thesis at Washington State University in Pullman, WA, I examined food system scale as it related to sustainability and worked on an organic farm. When I found the School of Sustainability at ASU, I knew it would be a great degree program in which to continue my studies.

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Sharyn Tom: Saying "yes" to opportunity

School of Sustainability News Alumni News Alumni and Student Spotlights

December 7, 2015

Tom in front of a mosque in Istanbul
Tom in customary dress in front of the Rustem Pasha Mosque in Istanbul - another "yes" that she will never regret.

When we last spoke with Sharyn Tom, she was graduating from the School of Sustainability with a Bachelor of Science in the Economics of Sustainability. She also obtained a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from the W. P. Carey School of Business.

Tom chose to major in sustainability because she wanted to study something meaningful that went beyond traditional disciplines.

She explained, “I lived with my family in Vancouver, Canada, in the summers, and sustainability efforts gave the city its vibrancy and charm. The initiatives also improved transportation, waste systems and peoples’ sense of personal responsibility.”

These initiatives are why Tom chose to live in Arizona; she wanted to share the enthusiasm that she had grown accustomed to.

Recently, we caught up with Tom for a debrief of post-graduation life.

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Sustainability a motivating alternative to doom and gloom

School of Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News

November 29, 2015

asu-sustainability-dean-booneIn a recent contribution to the Journal of Sustainability Education titled "On Hope and Agency in Sustainability: Lessons from Arizona State University," School of Sustainability Dean Christopher Boone examines how ASU prepares students to address the pressing challenges of living and working sustainably.

Boone starts by explaining the appeal of sustainability to many students — it offers a hopeful alternative to doom and gloom while encouraging everyone to participate in the creation of a desirable future. He then describes how — with the strong support of President Michael Crow — sustainability education flourished at ASU, making this optimistic science accessible to all of its students.

Focusing on curricular strategies while addressing some extra-curricular strategies, Boone discusses in detail how the principle of sustainability has been integrated into ASU. He also shares the post-graduate employment patterns of alumni who are now agents of sustainability in their places of work.


Sustainability grad receives prestigious NASA fellowship

School of Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News Alumni News Alumni and Student Spotlights

November 18, 2015

asu-sustainability-grad-nasa-fellowAnn Marie Raymondi, a 2013 graduate of the School of Sustainability's Master of Science program, has been named a NASA Harriett G. Jenkins Graduate Fellow following a rigorous selection process. Now pursuing her master’s in biology at Boise State, Raymondi is one of only 13 to receive a prestigious Minority University Research Education Project (MUREP) Advanced STEM Training and Research (ASTAR) fellowship.

The fellowship application required students to develop a research proposal, which was then evaluated by NASA for scientific rigor and impact. Raymondi's research will examine the effects of fire and climate change on plant communities in the sagebrush-steppe system. This is an important line of inquiry as many ecosystems that support life on Earth are undergoing rapid change, underscoring the need for tools to aid our understanding.

In addition to research conducted at Boise State during the academic year, Raymondi's award provides her with an annual 10- to 15-week center-based research experience at a NASA research center.


What's luck got to do with it?

School of Sustainability News Alumni News Alumni and Student Spotlights

November 5, 2015

lucky-sharma-asu-sustainability-gradSince graduating from the School of Sustainability in 2012 with a Master of Arts degree, Lucky Sharma has worked with Fortune 500 companies like Apple and US Airways.

And though her name may suggest otherwise, luck has had nothing to do with her success. Sharma participated in interdisciplinary research and worked as a teaching assistant to help offset the cost of her education, which she says would have been “almost impossible” to obtain without the financial support she received.

The San Franciso resident — who recently took a job with Tesla Motors as a commodity manager — talked about her passion for a greener future and how ASU’s emphasis on interdisciplinary study helped her get where she is today in this recent interview with ASU Now.


Sustainability student poses climate question during CNN debate

School of Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News

October 14, 2015

Anna Bettis appears on CNN debateAnna Bettis, a student in the School of Sustainability's Master of Sustainable Solutions program, recorded a question for Democratic presidential candidates via a CNN video booth at ASU's Tempe campus.

“As a young person, I’m very concerned about climate change and how it will affect my future. As a presidential candidate, what will you do to address climate change?” she asked.

Bettis says she did not expect her question to be aired during the Democratic presidential debate several weeks later, and was thrilled when she saw her face appear on the big screen of downtown's Desoto Market where she was watching.

Bettis credits a high school marine biology lesson, which exposed her to the natural resource challenges we face, for her sustainability passion. She received her bachelor's from the School of Sustainability in 2014.


Nat Geo spotlights company co-founded by sustainability grad

School of Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News Alumni News Alumni and Student Spotlights

October 6, 2015

Bin of green charcoal in HaitiCarbon Roots International - a company co-founded by School of Sustainability graduate and Founders’ Day Award recipient, Ryan Delaney - was highlighted in the October issue of National Geographic magazine with the headline "Bright Ideas can Change the World."

Launched in 2010, CRI uses sustainability principles to help rural farmers in Haiti develop more efficient agricultural practices. It trains farmers on the production of a renewable fuel known as “green charcoal,” which allows them to convert crop waste into a fuel source that can be used in cooking and to improve soil fertility.

CRI is one of 29 projects to receive a grant from the "Great Energy Challenge," an initiative of National Geographic in partnership with Shell that recognizes innovative energy solutions.


Leah Sunna: Connecting people to sustainability

School of Sustainability News Alumni News Alumni and Student Spotlights

October 5, 2015

Leah-Sunna-smilingLeah Sunna is a Tempe native, School of Sustainability alum and a true advocate for helping people find connections to the environment and world around them.

Sunna recalls, at a young age, opening Sierra Magazines on her mother’s coffee table and being interested in the environment. From then on, she always identified as a “nature-lover” with a passion for community involvement.

Though interested in the environment, the “feel-good” aspect of sustainability also appealed to Sunna. At the end of the day, she wanted to do something that mattered – something that made her feel like she was making a difference.

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Smart city designs earn ASU sustainability students Verizon grants

School of Sustainability News

September 18, 2015

Aerial view of Uptown PhoenixLast fall, ASU’s School of Sustainability teamed up with Verizon to offer a groundbreaking new course — the Smart City and Technology Innovation Challenge. Students spent the semester learning about the latest in smart technologies, and brainstorming how they could be applied to cities for the benefit of urbanites. They molded their ideas into business propositions, which were carefully considered for generous grants from Verizon.

Now, the challenge’s three winners have been announced. First-place winner Alex Slaymaker's waste-reducing proposition, PHXflow, is a vibrant online waste networking platform created for small- and medium-sized businesses interested in selling, donating, purchasing or exchanging unwanted materials with other businesses in the Phoenix metropolitan area.

Christopher Frettoloso, the second-place recipient of $2,000, conceived BetR-block, LLC — a manufacturer of sustainable, low-cost building materials from recycled paper and other cellulosic materials. Alex Cano is the challenge’s third-place recipient of $1,000 and the innovative mind behind BISTEG-USA. His proposition tackles the aesthetic concerns associated with current solar technologies, which are often relegated to out-of-sight places like rooftops.


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