Global Institute of Sustainability News

ASU Gammage turns audiences green, but not because of bad acting

Sustainability In Action

July 19, 2013

Gammage-action-shot-croppedIf you’ve ever enjoyed a world-renowned play at Arizona State University’s Gammage theater, you’ve probably taken a program or two home. But did you ever wonder about the trees that made those programs? ASU Gammage did.

Each year, ASU Gammage prints close to 350,000 programs. That’s a lot of trees.

To chip away at the impact, ASU Gammage has printed its programs and other marketing materials on FSC-certified paper with soy-based inks since 2010.

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Recycling, ‘Office Space’-style

Sustainability In Action

June 5, 2013

office space recycleSitting in your gray cubicle, writing a note on a Post-it using a bright red pen so you really remember to email Stan tomorrow and what happens? The ink in that plastic pen runs out just when you finish the “t” in “Stan.” Now what will you do with the pen? A trash can is right below your desk, but what if your red pen could give life to a new blue pen?

Enter ASU’s Materials Management team

In 2009, a group of employees from ASU Stores and Mail Services saw unwanted office supplies piling up in the trash and decided to do something about it. Back then, Mail Services was already collecting CDs, VHS tapes, and cell phones while ASU Stores was gathering toner cartridges for recycling. When the two departments merged in 2011 to create ASU Materials Management, their recycling and reuse efforts multiplied. Since then, the team has saved 400 pounds of CDs, DVDs, plastic jewel cases, more than 150 cell phones, and over 17,000 toner cartridges from the landfill—not to mention countless pens, markers, and rubber bands.

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Add some green to your graduation

Sustainability In Action

April 25, 2013

undergradA small orchestra is playing “Pomp and Circumstance,” everyone is in maroon, and your parents are waving their hands frantically in the stands. You’ve come a long way, kid. It’s time to graduate college.

You not only will be graduating from Arizona State University; you’ll be graduating with a degree from the School of Sustainability. We think that’s pretty cool. And to add to your efforts, we’ve made your graduation as sustainable as it can be.

Recently, ASU partnered with Herff Jones to offer caps and gowns made from 100% recycled materials. Called “Renew” caps and gowns, the Repreve® yarn is mostly sourced from post-consumer plastic bottles. Each gown removes approximately 29 plastic bottles from the landfill. How awesome is that? Even better, when you purchase your cap and gown at the Sun Devil Campus Stores or through Herff Jones, you receive a one-year membership to the ASU Alumni Association.

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#EarthMonth2013 @ASUGreen

Sustainability In Action

April 2, 2013

Earth Day is Monday, April 22, but Arizona State University is making the whole month of April a time to celebrate the natural world we all depend on. The Tempe and Polytechnic campuses feature a wide variety of events for Earth Month 2013 that you can get involved in.

For instance:

– Wrigley Lectures featuring England’s resident climate change expert Sir Crispin Tickell and science historian Naomi Oreskes
– Sustainability Series discussions with Local First Arizona’s Kimber Lanning and ASU’s Morrison Institute co-founder Richard Morrison
– film screenings of “A Fierce Green Fire” and “A Place at the Table: One Nation, Underfed”
– backyard date palm harvesting workshops
– Earth Week Festival
– Farmers Market @ the ASU Tempe campus
– local community gardening
– southwest storytelling workshop
– organic food eating contest

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How To Be Sustainable: Easy, Everyday Tips

Sustainability In Action

March 8, 2013

kim-grout-005-croppedA conversation with Kim Grout, Sustainability Concierge

When you walk through the third floor doors at Wrigley Hall, a petite, brown-haired lady named Kim Grout will most likely greet you. She’s the Sustainability Scientists and Scholars concierge, meaning; she coordinates meetings, flights, accommodations, and coffee runs to help them save the world.

Kim knows her sustainability stuff. She lives about 5 miles away from where she works at the Global Institute of Sustainability, but she either bikes or runs every morning and evening, Monday through Friday. The food she makes is from scratch or comes from her local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). She and her husband recently installed a solar water heater in their home and sometimes they cook meals in their solar oven. After work, Kim tends to her chickens—which are excellent scorpion killers and provide great compost for her garden. Not to mention fresh eggs.

Kim says she learned how to lessen her impact on the planet from her mom.

“I have been living this way since I was a child,” she says. “My mother was always very savvy about such things. She made everything from scratch, including yogurt, mayonnaise, bread, and ice cream. We also had a garden, chickens, and horses.”

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Join the Wrigley Building Energy Challenge

Sustainability In Action

February 14, 2013

We all know Wrigley Hall is sustainable and energy-efficient—but what about the Energizer Bunnies® inside the building?

Sustainability is not just about technology, economics, and biodiversity. It’s about people, too. ASU’s University Sustainability Practices knows that sustainable behavior is just as important as green buildings. That’s why it’s organized the Wrigley Building Energy Challenge from February 1 through April 30.

The Wrigley Building Energy Challenge aims to reduce energy consumption through the combined efforts made by the people inside the building: students, sustainability scientists, staff, and faculty. The main goal of the challenge—other than reducing energy usage—is to inspire energy efficiency through behavioral change, not through building modifications.

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Event: Valentine’s Day at the Tempe Campus Farmers Market

Sustainability In Action

February 6, 2013

Tuesday, February 12, 2013
9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Orange Mall, west of the MU fountain
Arizona State University, Tempe campus

At the Farmers Market @ the Tempe campus, guest vendors will have special products for you or a friend. Flowers Direct will provide fresh flowers.  Peppermint Jim will delight us with his farm grown mint personal care products while Polished Pepper will feature jewelry made from re-purposed silverware and precious stones.

ASU Sun Devil Dining will offer chocolate-dipped strawberries, heart-shaped chocolate chip cookies, brownies, Valentine’s cookies and cupcakes, heart-shaped vegan brownies, and Campus Harvest Devilade and Arnold Palmers made out of campus oranges. Udderly Natural and G.B. Proudfoot’s will provide natural soaps, lotions, and more.  Rich, chocolate truffles made from the finest ingredients will be on hand from our featured vendor, bNaked Chocolates. Yum!

Event: Using Project-Based Learning to Teach Sustainability

Sustainability In Action

February 4, 2013

Mark Henderson

Mark Henderson

Director, GlobalResolve
Co-Founder, InnovationSpace

Micah Lande

Assistant Professor, Department of Engineering

The sustainability movement is gaining momentum, but to keep the momentum going, it is important to prepare future sustainability leaders with a proper educational background. How does one teach the subject of sustainability?

Micah Lande

In this talk, Mark Henderson and Micah Lande will share select projects from The Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts’ InnovationSpace and College of Technology and Innovation’s GlobalResolve. These project-based programs build on real-world issues and utilize collaborative, student-centered teaching practices to provide powerful learning approaches to sustainability education. Henderson and Lande will identify strategies for instructors to successfully design and implement project-based programs and highlight educational opportunities for students.

Mark Henderson is a professor of engineering at the College of Technology and Innovation and associate dean of Barrett, The Honors College. His research focuses on computer-aided design and engineering. Micah Lande is an assistant professor of engineering and editor-in-chief emeritus of Ambidextrous Journal of Design.

A Sustainability Series event presented by the Global Institute of Sustainability.

Our graduates: Braden Kay

Sustainability In Action

December 20, 2012

Most five year olds may be more concerned with cartoon TV shows rather than their neighborhood community garden. But Braden Kay started his life mission early – at a local youth garden when he was just a kid.

“I grew up in Washington, D.C., and saw the challenges of providing quality services to an economically and racially segregated city,” he says. “From starting at the local youth garden at age five, I always wanted to be part of producing solutions that bring diverse people together to make their city better with opportunity for all.”

Kay says it was ASU President Michael Crow’s vision of Arizona State University as a New American University that drew him to the School of Sustainability to study urban development and sustainability challenges.

“The School of Sustainability provided me with the opportunity I was looking for – to become a world-class urban solution developer,” he says.

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Our graduates: Tim Exposito

Sustainability In Action

December 20, 2012

Tim Exposito’s interest in construction is nothing new. At 16, he helped his brother build a house. In high school, he worked at a cousin’s construction business. During his high school senior year, Exposito spent his mornings at a construction site and his afternoons in the classroom.

His passion for sustainability has always been there, too.

“I’ve always written papers about recycling, impacts and implications,” Exposito says. “Sustainability has always been a fascination of mine. It’s always been a goal of mine to reuse something instead of throwing it away. I do this in construction and everyday as much as possible.”

Now, Exposito gets to combine construction and sustainability in his career.

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Our graduates: Kim Pearson

Sustainability In Action

December 20, 2012

Growing up in Phoenix, sustainability and Spanish literature senior Kim Pearson was first introduced to the basics of sustainability through class projects on issues such as deforestation.

“I first heard the term, ‘sustainability’ when watching a documentary and I thought, ‘Now I can give a name to what I’ve been interested in all these years,’” she says.

Pearson is graduating from the School of Sustainability with an emphasis in sustainable economics because she wants to understand the economic policies behind agriculture and trade.

“I have been interested in sustainability concepts since elementary school, as I began to learn about environmental issues and their relation to human behavior, politics and economics,” Pearson says.

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‘Tis the season to be green

Sustainability In Action

December 17, 2012

Need some inspiration to make your holidays more sustainable this year? Take some advice from Arizona State University students, who came up with some pretty cool ideas!

Elizabeth Champagne: decorating with LED Christmas lights
Jathan Sadowski: reusing decorations and recycled-content wrapping paper
Rajthilak Murugesan: flying home to India on a fuel-efficient 787 Dreamliner
Madison Pike: wrapping gifts in newspaper
Nathan Ralph: cooking food from his own backyard and buying handmade crafts from small businesses.

Deck the (green) halls

Sustainability In Action

December 10, 2012

Let’s take a break from studying for finals and stressing out about work to really ponder what this season means. No matter what you celebrate, all the holidays bring together family, friends, and strangers. But let’s bring in another companion or two and include the natural world in the festivities.

The holidays in general are consumptive, more than usual. Decorations, gifts, baking, and parties all have their own set of impacts. So this year, we bring you some green holiday ideas that you can even apply after the celebrations. Ideas inspired by Earth911.

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Clean energy prevails at biodesign professor’s home

Sustainability In Action

November 5, 2012

ASU faculty member Phillip Stafford challenges his colleagues to implement clean energy at home. Stafford shares how he’s achieved a $12 annual electricity bill for his 5,000-square-foot, Phoenix home. To get off the grid, Stafford recently upgraded the photovoltaic (PV) solar panels on his home that generate more than 12,000 watts of electricity. He also uses LED lights, has two hot water heaters, uses mostly battery-powered lawn tools and has planted dozens of desert shade trees around his house. Stafford says that the high, upfront costs definitely are paying off.

Have questions for Stafford? Visit his ASU directory page.

Be ghastly green this Halloween

Sustainability In Action

October 24, 2012

sustainable halloweenFinally, the air has a bite to it, you can do homework outside, and the occasional breeze lets you know fall is here. And soon, the first holiday of the season: Halloween.

Halloween by definition is a one-time use kind of holiday, with revelers rarely reusing (woah, that’s a lot of R’s, almost like reduce, reuse, and recycle) their past costumes and decorations. Not to mention, leftover candy—but that would be gross. And normally when you think of Halloween, you don’t say “Hey, I think I am going to donate money to save big cats instead of buying a new costume” or “Where can I get a locally-grown pumpkin?” But we know you guys are wondering that!

So, we’ve scoured the internet and attempted to bring everything sustainable to you, for your Halloween pleasure. Check out the links below to get inspired to do some good while partying hard as Captain Planet or Rachel Carson.

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I want to save the world.

Sustainability In Action

October 1, 2012

ASU Students studying home energy efficiency

Such a simple sentence, yet so much meaning. That is what most students in the School of Sustainability want to do. At the School’s 2012 Fall Welcome, new freshman and transfer students mingled while eating free Chipotle burritos, met Dean and United Nations Champion of the Earth, Sander van der Leeuw (cue new student excitement: “That’s so cool!”), and pondered their futures.

Arnaud Irakoze was born in Burundi, Africa, a country right below Rwanda. He is now a Phoenician, getting used to the heat like other newbies. Interested in solar power, Irakoze chose to explore the Sustainable Energy, Materials, and Technology challenge area. “Phoenix is hot and sunny so we might as well have solar power,” he simply puts it.

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Parking and Transit keeping their commitment!

Sustainability In Action

April 24, 2012

The Parking and Transit department here at ASU recently completed all three levels of the Green Office Certification program on all four campuses! This was a blistering accomplishment indeed and the Sustainability Practices office really commends their efforts! Way to go green devils!

Meatless Mondays at ASU?

Sustainability In Action

February 13, 2012

Yes, you heard correctly. Sun devils across the university are voluntarily giving up their meat-laden entrees each and every Monday in favor of meals that feature local, organic plant based meals. Why you might ask? The reasons for people vary greatly, but the most popular reasons we hear around the office include; health, animal welfare and global impact. Strike up a conversation today with a nearby foodie and maybe discover your own personal reason(s) for ditching meat one day out of the week.

Trick or (green) treat!

Sustainability In Action

October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween Sundevils! Hope you are off to a safe and fun holiday season. We know it’s tradition to give away those individually wrapped candies on this ghoulish holiday but did you know most major candy companies get their cocoa from unsustainable sources? If it’s not too late, opt for fair trade chocolate or skip the candy all together and try giving away little treasures instead. Check out this sweet (pun intended) website for more Halloween inspiration:

Do you have any ideas or tricks to greening your holiday that you’d like to share? Comment below!

Reflections on a sustainability pledge tree

Sustainability In Action

October 3, 2011

In October of 2009, I happened across a Sustainability Fair on the MU patio during my lunch hour away from my faculty office in the ASU Counselor Training Center.  Always intrigued by activities of the School of Sustainability, I browsed the booths and displays, sampling foods and collecting brochures.   I talked to a group of students about the pledge tree they had displayed there.  On each branch of the drawing of a tree were suggestions about living a greener lifestyle, and those who stopped by were invited to put a leaf on the tree on the branch that indicated a pledge they were willing to make.   Trees  so often inspire strong feelings in me, especially in the fall as the air finally cools and autumn colors glow.  In October afternoon sunshine on an ASU patio, I was ready to make a pledge.

Several of the actions listed on the tree branches were things I knew I could or would do, like using cloth bags for grocery shopping, or riding places on my bike more often.   But it made sense to pick one pledge of a new behavior to fully commit to doing every day.  Since I drink coffee most every day, I stuck my pledge leaf to the tree branch indicating a commitment to carry a reusable mug for my coffee, rather than buying and throwing away a paper cup each time I stopped at a campus coffee shop.  Since then I have brought my own mug from home most every work day, and I keep an extra mug in my office.  I carry the mug with me, and I estimate that I buy one cup per weekday on average for almost two academic years now, so that means I have reduced my contribution to campus garbage by approximately 320 cups since I made my original pledge.  That’s a lot less trash from just one person!

Now  I find myself noticing all the paper and plastic cups and food containers stuffed in overflowing campus trash cans, and I wonder what it would take to motivate more of the people who discarded them to pledge to bring their own reusable mugs and bowls.  If ten more people who drink coffee at the same rate I do also brought reusable mugs, there would be 3200 less disposable cups in the trash over the next two years; one hundred more people would mean 32,000 less cups trashed.  It takes some effort to develop the habit, but once established, it’s not much work to bring one’s  own mug.   I take the mugs home each night and stick them in the dishwasher, and I have a few mugs so I can grab one in the morning if the one from the day before isn’t yet clean.  It’s become a habit, and the pledge I made increased my commitment to establishing the habit.  I am interested to learn what could get more of us to bring reusable containers to hold our purchases rather than buying and trashing disposable containers with each new purchase.  What would get you to make a sustainability pledge you will keep?


Cindi Glidden-Tracey, Ph.D.

Clinical Associate Professor

Counseling and Counseling Psychology Programs

ASU School of Letters and Sciences

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