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Sustainability News

Meet Our Alumni: Carolyn Phillips

School of Sustainability News Alumni News Alumni and Student Spotlights

September 16, 2016

Sustainability grad Carolyn wearing bright red top and holding dark red popsicleCarolyn Phillips, owner and chief alchemist of Alchemy Pops, is a 2011 Master of Arts graduate of the School of Sustainability. Her company is based in Texas, and focuses on creating new market opportunities for Texas farmers. She is one of many entrepreneurs who graduate with a degree from the School of Sustainability.

Why did you choose to enroll in the School of Sustainability at ASU? 

In my undergrad, while I was doing my BA in Entrepreneurial Management at Texas Christian University, I took a sustainability-themed graduate level class called “Chasing Carbon” – that got me charted on a path that interested me.

There’s always been a theme in my family and community of support about being a part of the solution. This can be interpreted in a lot of different ways – one being, "if you’re not helping, you’re hurting." Being someone who has an impact and is improving lives is the general theme guiding my trajectory.

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A glimpse into life after graduation

School of Sustainability News Alumni News

September 7, 2016

Student standing in food bank pantryFor its third consecutive year, the School of Sustainability offers its students a hands-on look into what their future might hold with a career in sustainability.

The Alumni Job Shadowing program, which began in 2014 and continues to grow, gives current students the opportunity to interact with and shadow a School of Sustainability alumnus for a day. The program provides students with insight into not only future career possibilities, but also into the world of professionalism, networking and higher education. Students receive one-on-one attention from their alumni sponsors and can see how their classes apply in the working world.

“This job shadow gave me great insight into how my sustainability degree can be used in a real-world job. This opportunity has rejuvenated my interest in getting a job where I can apply the knowledge I gained from my classes… I believe it has made me confident as a student that my degree is such an intricate part of how a business operates,” says Adrian Nunez, a School of Sustainability Bachelor of Science student.

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One of the 'coolest' schools in the US is in Arizona's desert

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

September 6, 2016

Students are working and/or interacting with other students in different learning environments and innovative spaces. These images should be natural and captured in the moment. It is very difficult to stage these type of pictures and doing so is easily picked up on by the viewer. Students enjoying class is a must. Moving up five spots from 2015, Arizona State University was named sixth in Sierra Club's annual "Cool Schools" ranking of roughly 200 colleges and universities.

The ranking lists schools based on a demonstrated commitment to upholding high environmental standards. A few of the categories ASU scored high in are bike facilities, organic gardens, undergraduate programs, student outreach and move-in/out waste reduction.

“For more than 10 years, ASU has demonstrated its fundamental commitment to sustainability,” says Christopher Boone, dean of ASU's School of Sustainability. “We are very pleased to be recognized by the Sierra Club for all of our hard work.”

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Making every day in the neighborhood a happy one

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August 30, 2016

Tall, smiling man with bike next to smiling young woman outdoorsThere are three factors that promote happiness where we live, say School of Sustainability Professor Scott Cloutier and his colleague Deirdre Pfeiffer. In a paper published in the Journal of the American Planning Association, they name these factors as access to open and green space, environmental design that promotes social interaction, and places that are safe and secure.

Cloutier and Pfeiffer conceived of the study after observing urban planning focused solely on improved physical health, leaving  mental and emotional health by the wayside. Now, the pair suggest strategies planners can use to measure all three “happiness” factors, and evaluate the extent to which their proposals would promote better health overall.

The researchers even developed a tool called the “Sustainability through Happiness Framework” that allows planners to collaborate with neighborhood residents on the creation of places where they'll be happy to live.

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Seminar provides sunny outlook on solar in Kosovo

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July 19, 2016

An old-looking power plantWhen asked to design a program on renewable energy and sustainability to be presented in Kosovo – a country that relies on two coal-fueled power plants – the School of Sustainability's Ryan Johnson gladly accepted.

Johnson, who directs the school's professional training and custom sustainability education efforts, then approached geographer Martin Pasqualetti and electrical engineer Ron Roedel because of their expertise in renewable energy, as well as with a similar program in the Middle East.

After studying Kosovo's great solar potential, the two professors presented their insights at a two-week seminar beginning in May 2016. Each day was split between presentations by Pasqualetti – a sustainability scientist who focused on the social aspects of transitioning to a new energy source – and Roedel, who focused on the technical aspects of renewable energy. Together, they demonstrated the value of renewable energy and interdisciplinary collaboration.

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Locust outbreak brings ASU expert to Argentina

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July 14, 2016

A hand holding three locusts of different sizesWhen a massive locust outbreak struck Argentina in 2016, Senior Sustainability Scientist Arianne Cease flew to the scene to offer her expertise.

Cease, a professor in the School of Sustainability, has studied locusts around the world. She and her lab manager arrived to swarms more than four miles long and two miles high – the worst Argentina had seen in 60 years.

After assessing the situation and sharing her research, Cease hosted a two-day workshop. Here, she described to university researchers and government officials how to address locust outbreaks using a systems approach.

With the aim of creating a rapid-response team to address situations like the one in Argentina, Cease is building a Global Locust Consortium. She hopes to host the initial meeting by early 2017.

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A framework for fighting wicked water problems

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July 13, 2016

Pipes hang into a dried and cracked riverbedIn a Christian Science Monitor contribution titled "Water management is a wicked problem, but not an unsolvable one," School of Sustainability alumnus Christa Brelsford untangles the web of water supply and demand.

Brelsford, a postdoctoral fellow of the Arizona State University-Santa Fe Institute Center for Biosocial Complex Systems, discusses the reality of water in the West, writing "There is no new water to allocate, and so the water management task now is to make the best possible use of the water resources that are available."

She goes on to say that water management – which lies at the intersection of economic, legal, political, hydrological, climatological, ecological, agricultural and engineered systems – can result in solutions when a complex systems perspective is applied.

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A modern twist on the age-old concept of commons

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July 13, 2016

Meadow with yellow flowers below blue sky with cloudsImagine a village that boasts an open meadow with tall grasses accessible to all.

A local farming family has grazed sheep there for years without issue. But when the rest of the town’s sheep farmers discover its lush pastures, it becomes over-grazed and unable to feed anyone’s sheep.

The commons – common-pool resources like the meadow – are no stranger to conflict and debate. But as two sustainability scientists at Arizona State University explain in the latest edition of their book, Sustaining the Commons, they are also not without solutions.

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Meet Our Alumni: Manjyot Bhan

School of Sustainability News Alumni News Alumni and Student Spotlights

June 30, 2016

Manj wearing white collared topManjyot Bhan – a native of Mumbai, India – graduated from the School of Sustainability with a Master of Science in 2010. She also earned a PhD in Public Administration, with a focus on Environmental Policy, from American University in 2015.

Bhan is currently a Policy and Business Fellow at a think-tank called the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) – formerly the Pew Center on Global Climate Change – in Arlington, Virginia.

Why did you choose ASU's School of Sustainability?

During an environmental economics undergraduate class at St. Xavier’s College in Mumbai, I realized all our assumptions in textbook economics and of the marketplace were made based on private costs – without accounting for other costs such as environmental, social and health damages to society. My desire to pursue the field of sustainability came out of a classroom experience.

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Pioneers of environmental law to teach ASU course

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June 29, 2016

Industry-SmokestackThroughout the 1970s, the “Golden Age” of environmental law, Congress developed some of the most influential and enduring legislation still effectual in environmental policy today.

In a two-week course this fall, ASU students will have the opportunity to earn credit while getting first-hand insight from two of the “Golden Age” influencers themselves, Leon G. Billings and Thomas C. Jorling – the two senior staff members who led the Senate environment subcommittee during the 1970s.

Students will review key environmental legislation, such as the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and Superfund. But more than just the laws themselves, students will learn about the behind-the-scenes political inner workings that made consensus possible, and will assess both the formal and multidimensional components of that process.

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Students study culture and sustainability in Morocco

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June 27, 2016

Two scientists enjoying coffee outside a Moroccan cafeFor the fourth year in a row, the School of Sustainability sponsored a study abroad excursion to Morocco, where Arizona State University students studied the complexities of sustainable development.

Senior Sustainability Scientist Mary Jane Parmentier – who served as a member of the Peace Corps in Morocco in the 1980s and has maintained contacts there – led the program.  Students learned about the differing priorities among the unique cultures in this North African nation, then digested that knowledge during nightly meetings.

The study abroad program has evolved from year to year, becoming more culturally immersive and focused on evaluating sustainability solutions that are being implemented in host countries. For more updates from this excursion and others, visit the Global Sustainability Studies Program's blog.

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Sustainability alumni connect in the District

School of Sustainability News Alumni News

June 25, 2016

Eight School of Sustainability pose with Dean Boone outside of a D.C. restaurantOn June 10, School of Sustainability alumni in the Washington, D.C. area connected and caught up over dinner at Ardeo+Bardeo.

The fantastic evening, hosted by the School of Sustainability Alumni Association, was attended by Dean Chris Boone and eight sustainability grads, including Manjyot Bhan, MS '10; Chris Harto, MS '09; Debbie Namugayi, MA '14; Becky Schwartz, BA '10; Mike Herod, EMSL '15; Brian McCollow, BA '13; Alex Rogers, MSUS '15; and Robert Horner, MS '10.

To receive invites to future events, click here to make sure your information is up-to-date and keep an eye on your email.

Meet Our Alumni: Lexie Krechel

School of Sustainability News Alumni News Alumni and Student Spotlights

June 25, 2016

Lexie standing on a desert hiking trailLexie Krechel graduated from the School of Sustainability in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in the Society and Sustainability track.

Krechel also earned a Minor in Social Work along with a Certificate in Public Administration and Management. She currently works as the Community Outreach Coordinator for the Tempe Community Action Agency.

Tell us about your current job and how it is related to sustainability.

I found my current position at Tempe Community Action Agency by looking on nonprofit job boards. I knew that I wanted to stay in the nonprofit world, but just needed to find the right organization. I decided to pursue a position at TCAA because I wanted to be able to see the impact that my work was having on the community.

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ASU's Poly campus now offers degrees in sustainability

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June 24, 2016

Student explaining project on water use To meet an increasing demand for sustainability education, ASU's School of Sustainability has made its offerings even more accessible. Now, students at ASU's Polytechnic campus can enroll in the school's popular undergraduate degree programs, like its Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science in sustainability. Its 18-credit minor in sustainability is also available to Poly students, and makes a strong complement to virtually any major. Students attending a Maricopa County Community College may be eligible for MAPP.

Students at the School of Sustainability are reinventing the future of a world at risk. The school's programs introduce students to the concept of sustainability and how its application can transform the world for the better. This program is transdisciplinary, drawing from many academic fields. Students explore the interaction between societal, economic, and environmental factors and develop solutions to challenges at the local, regional and global levels.

Meet Our Alumni: Marina Acosta

School of Sustainability News Alumni News Alumni and Student Spotlights

June 24, 2016

former-asu-sustainability-studentMarina Acosta graduated from the School of Sustainability in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in the Policy and Governance track. She also minored in Psychology.

Currently, Acosta is in the Master of Science Obesity Prevention and Management program at ASU.

Why did you choose Arizona State University?

ASU is my home and I couldn’t imagine going anywhere else. I did not apply for any other schools. This was close enough to my family and allowed me to experience great diversity while receiving a top-notch education. Also, I’ve always wanted to make a difference and when I learned about the School of Sustainability, I knew that there would always be something for me to do. I thought it was an innovative and fast-growing field, and I was right.

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Meet Our Alumni: Brendan Denker

School of Sustainability News Alumni News Alumni and Student Spotlights

June 14, 2016

Bendan Denker smiling with palm trees and mountains in the backgroundBrendan Denker is a Fall 2012 graduate of the School of Sustainability's Master of Science program. He also received a Bachelor of Arts in General Engineering, and a minor in French Cultural Studies from Johns Hopkins University.

Denker works as an engineer at Salt River Project, where he's been employed for the last three years. He focuses on long-term planning within the Western U.S. electric grid, represents SRP’s interests with other entities, and is involved with tracking the water-energy nexus at SRP’s power plants.

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

I had always been interested in sustainability. I grew up immersed in recycling, composting and having empathy for others – which I always assumed was a normal, second-nature thing. However, when I got to college, it was a bit of a culture shock, because doing those things was not the norm.

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Meet Our Alumni: Jin Jo

School of Sustainability News Alumni News Alumni and Student Spotlights

June 13, 2016

Jin Jo wearing a graduation cap and regalia Jin Jo – a native of Seoul, South Korea – graduated from the School of Sustainability in 2010. He received the first PhD in sustainability and was a member of ASU's jazz band.

Jo is currently an associate professor of technology at Illinois State University and the associate director at the Center for Renewable Energy. In February 2016, he and two other faculty members at Illinois State University were recipients of the Outstanding Cross-Disciplinary Team Research Award.

Why did you choose the School of Sustainability at ASU?

I did my master’s degree at Columbia University, then applied for PhD programs at a few different places, including Columbia and Princeton. Although I was admitted to another university, I found the School of Sustainability was a perfect fit for what I had in mind – to explore a variety of strategies to achieve urban system sustainability.

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Camels don't fly, deserts don't bloom

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June 2, 2016

Tractor on a desert farmOne hundred miles west of Phoenix, a Saudi Arabian-owned farming operation called Almarai grows alfalfa for hay year-round. Why would a foreign company grow one of the most water-intensive crops in the desert of La Paz County, Arizona? And what does this mean for the future of water resources in the state?

"Camels don't fly, deserts don't bloom" is a 2016 documentary by a team of seven ASU students from five countries – three of whom are enrolled in the School of Sustainability. Under the guidance of sustainability scientist Peter Byck, director of Carbon Nation, the 15-minute film explores the questions raised by this agricultural anomaly.

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Sustainability Highlights magazine covers a notable 2015

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May 27, 2016

ASU sustainability professor Arianne Cease holds a locust on her hand and smiles2015 was another momentous year for the ASU Wrigley Institute, with multiple milestones in solutions, engagement, education and research. School of Sustainability professor Arianne Cease was named among the Popular Science Brilliant 10, the international Urban Resilience to Extremes Sustainability Research Network was established with a $12 million grant, and the Walton Global Sustainability Solutions Services presented a plan to green Albania's schools to the prime minister of that country.

Eight ASU sustainability scientists, scholars and fellows attended the historic U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference in Paris, School of Sustainability grad student Anna Bettis asked Democratic presidential candidates for their climate change commitments during a televised CNN debate, and household names Tom Friedman and M. Sanjayan joined our growing list of distinguished Wrigley Lecturers.

And that's just a sampling. For a more in-depth look at what we accomplished last year, flip through our newly-released 2015 Sustainability Highlights magazine.

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Meeting emissions targets after Paris climate talks

Board Letter ASU Sustainability News School of Sustainability News ASU Wrigley Institute News Professional Training and Custom Sustainability Education

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.

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