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Sustainability News

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

Board Letter 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

Board Letter 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.


ASU offers dual masters of journalism and sustainability

School of Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News

August 26, 2015

Wind Turbine and Blue SkyThe Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the School of Sustainability have partnered to offer a Master of Mass Communications and a Master of Sustainable Solutions. The offering caters to students interested in careers reporting on environmental issues and alternative energy - as well as to those working in sustainability sciences who communicate with journalists - allowing them to pursue the separate degrees in less time through streamlined admissions procedures and course requirements.

“One of the critical aspects of moving toward a sustainable future is helping people understand why and how sustainability is relevant to their lives, and how best to communicate those ideas,” said Christopher Boone, dean of ASU’s School of Sustainability. “This dual-degree opportunity with the Cronkite School will provide our School of Sustainability students with a versatile skill set to effectively reach and engage a broad audience on the very best solutions for building a sustainable future.”

The partnership marks the fifth dual-degree offering of the School of Sustainability.


Vows and Values: Our Sustainable Wedding Story

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

July 17, 2015

Smiling bride and groom on sunny spring day
Photo by: Leanne Young of Leanne Michelle Photography

by Katie Peige Baker

School of Sustainability Alumna

Roses are red,

violets are blue,

our wedding was green

and sustainable too!

Brad and I met at Green Drinks, a networking group for environmental professionals. We both graduated from ASU’s School of Sustainability but never met during our undergraduate studies. Now, we are both sustainability professionals; I work for the Decision Center for a Desert City as the education and community outreach coordinator and Brad works for the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality as a hazardous waste compliance officer.

We wanted to practice what we preach, teach and enforce while making a green statement by having an Earth Month wedding. So we pledged to have as little impact on the environment as possible within our budget, which ended up actually saving us a bunch of green.

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Student Spotlight: Sharyn Tom

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

June 4, 2015

Senior Sharyn Tom presenting the "School of Sustainability's Student Survival Guide."

Sharyn Tom is a Spring 2015 graduate of the School of Sustainability, having earned a Bachelor of Science in the Economics of Sustainability track. She also obtained a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from the W. P. Carey School of Business.

Prior to graduating, Tom shared her sustainability story with us. We look forward to hearing where her curiosity and passion for problem solving take her next!

Why did you choose to major in Sustainability?

Because I’m a dual citizen between Canada and the U.S., I would go to Vancouver, B.C. every summer to visit family. I was constantly inspired by the city’s sustainability advances in transportation, First Nations Law, urban planning, policy and conservation. I wanted to be part of the revolution that brought those wonderful things to Phoenix, and I saw the sustainability program at ASU as an opportunity to become knowledgeable in the field.

Why did you choose the Economics of Sustainability track?

I was completely inspired by ECN 360: Economic Development - a class I took with Todd Schoellman. It remains one of my favorite economics classes because it opened my eyes to new ways of applying my sustainability knowledge for good. Understanding key elements of economics - such as supply and demand, market movements and financial incentives - became a powerful part of building the business case for sustainability.

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The development of sustainability education at ASU

School of Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News

May 13, 2015

sustainability-educationThere has never been a more important time to educate and train the leaders of the future to deal with the threats of instability. Current world leaders are discussing climate change at the same time that local communities in the U.S. strive for more resilience to increases in climate events.

U.S. universities have a responsibility to prepare modern sustainability business, government and other professionals with the innovative technical and management approaches needed to lead in a rapidly changing world. During this January 14, 2015, webinar titled "Innovative Approaches to Sustainability Education at U.S. Universities," Dean Christopher Boone discussed how ASU's School of Sustainability - the first of its kind in the United States - came to be and how it has evolved. He also described how the School is providing future sustainability leaders with the education they need now, along with tools to move the sustainability field forward.

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ASU's sustainability headquarters goes zero waste

ASU Sustainability News School of Sustainability News

April 11, 2015

zero-waste-wrigley-sustainabilityby Alex Slaymaker, Master's of Sustainable Solutions

The Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability is now equipped with a system capable of achieving zero waste, defined as 90 percent diversion from landfills.  The system offers the option of recycling, composting, TerraCycling, plastic film and bag recycling, and landfilling "waste" - a term now nullified as all materials diverted from the landfill are valuable resources.

This seemingly complex five-option system is viewed as standard in many countries around the world, including Germany and Japan.

The opportunity to practice what is preached at the sustainability headquarters of ASU requires students, staff and faculty to learn how to properly use the zero waste system. In order for Wrigley Hall inhabitants and visitors to see these bins as empowering rather than overwhelming, graduate student zero waste advocates held a Zero Waste Kick-Off Party on April 9. The celebration on the first floor of Wrigley Hall helped to raise awareness about the new zero waste pilot, eliminate myths about "waste" and educate on proper diversion practices.

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ASU offers new Certificate in Food System Sustainability

ASU Sustainability News School of Sustainability News Food Systems News

April 6, 2015

food-system-sustainabilityFood systems are particularly important for human societies to sustain, as well as particularly vulnerable to multiple threats related to the interconnected sustainability challenges we face.

Reflecting the breadth of food system issues researched and taught at ASU, the School of Sustainability now offers a 15-credit interdisciplinary Certificate in Food System Sustainability - a comprehensive, sustainability-oriented introduction to food systems for undergraduate students.

The certificate, which complements a variety of majors from agribusiness to English, draws from food-related courses in the social sciences, humanities, life sciences and applied sciences. Each discipline approaches food sustainability from a different angle, giving students a holistic understanding of food-related challenges and solutions.

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Sustainability alum is geared for a greater good

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

September 15, 2014

brelsford-sustainability-alumLast week, School of Sustainability alumna Christa Brelsford represented her country at the Paraclimbing World Championships in Spain where she dominated her division. Recognizing that participating in the competition is a privilege, Brelsford tied her international appearance to an online fundraiser for the less fortunate called Christa Climbs for Haiti.

If you spend any time with Brelsford, who graduated this summer with a doctoral degree from the School of Sustainability, you'll get the sense that this is a supremely practical person who is guided by a strong sense of self and innate desire to do good in the world. That's what Matt Lauer found when he interviewed Brelsford the TODAY show after she was badly injured during the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, where she had been working on an adult literacy project.

The newly crowned climbing world champion returns home following her competition abroad, but her mission remains unchanged.

"My biggest goal in life is to use careful thought to do good in the world," says Brelsford. "I was in Haiti to learn how to help, and I research and study sustainability for the same reason."


Sustainability alum helps millennials live more mindfully

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

June 5, 2014

eecosphere-appSchool of Sustainability alumnus Andrew Krause has found practical application for his education through technology that helps users discover, adopt and share ideas for leading a more sustainable lifestyle. The eEcosphere app, now available for iOS, matches millennials with ideas that are tailored to their needs and improve their everyday decisions by providing quality local resources. This helps to prevent the common breakdown between intention and action while providing the user with a fun and collaborative experience.

Krause, who received a Master’s of Science from the School of Sustainability in 2012, was recently named as a delegate to the United Nations Foundation Global Accelerator 2014. He and fellow delegates will work with policy leaders on global issues to create innovative advancements toward key Millennium Development Goals. Because the accelerator seeks out the world’s top 100 entrepreneurs, the appointment is a great testament to the significance of Krause's work.


Sustainability grad influences water management reform

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

May 6, 2014

ben-warner2Ben Warner, a School of Sustainability doctoral student, used an interdisciplinary approach to determine the causes of water scarcity in the rural, semi-arid region of northwestern Costa Rica. By working directly with water and agricultural managers, Warner found that both drought and international trade liberalization treaties have had a major impact on smallholder farmers. As a result, they have become increasingly vulnerable to global changes and less capable of adapting to them.

In an effort to bolster smallholder farmers’ ability to cope with limited market access and frequent drought, Warner collected data from workshop proceedings, focus groups, interviews and surveys within the Arenal-Tempisque Irrigation Project in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. His analysis revealed that farm size, farming tenure, the presence of family members working outside of the agricultural sector, livestock ownership, perceptions of climate change and household reliance on agriculture were determining factors in farmers’ decisions to adjust their livelihoods. His findings have since been used to refine agricultural water management policy in the region.


Meet Our Alumni: Jessica Fox

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

March 31, 2014

Jessica Fox - Alumni ProfileNow working to bring a renewable surface water supply from the Colorado River to Central Arizona, alum Jessica Fox has a long-standing interest in sustainability.

As a high school student in in Canandaigua, New York, Jessica was fascinated by the intersection between environmental science and economics. Wanting to learn more, she enrolled in State University of New York’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Several years after graduating with a bachelor’s in environmental science and policy, along with a minor in management science from Syracuse University, she decided to pursue a graduate education in water policy.

“Water is obviously much more plentiful in the Northeast, and it’s governed differently there, so I wanted to study how water is allocated and managed under scarce conditions in the Western US,” Jessica says.

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Artificial leaf jumps developmental hurdle

School of Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News

February 18, 2014

Photo by: Michael Hagelberg
Photo by: Michael Hagelberg

In a recent early online edition of Nature Chemistry, ASU scientists, along with colleagues at Argonne National Laboratory, have reported advances toward perfecting a functional artificial leaf.

Designing an artificial leaf that uses solar energy to convert water cheaply and efficiently into hydrogen and oxygen is one of the goals of BISfuel – the Energy Frontier Research Center, funded by the Department of Energy, in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Arizona State University.

Hydrogen is an important fuel in itself and serves as an indispensible reagent for the production of light hydrocarbon fuels from heavy petroleum feed stocks. Society requires a renewable source of fuel that is widely distributed, abundant, inexpensive and environmentally clean.

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