Welcome to Arizona State University and the nation’s first School of Sustainability where faculty and students alike, are embarking upon one of the boldest, most comprehensive approaches to sustainability attempted at any university. We are engaged in a global-survival experiment, in a time when sustainable solutions must be envisioned and implemented.
Sustainability is the “reframing” of the debate over the human-environment relationship critical to ensuring quality of life for future generations – whether the human life-support system on earth can continue indefinitely, or whether it is changing the world in radical ways that will lead to collapse. The debate has evolved from past polarizing conversations of “either development or environment” to discussions of how humankind can transform its economic growth system into a sustainable approach to living on a delicate planet.
Sustainability seeks to provide the best outcomes for both human and natural environments both now and into the indefinite future. Sustainability is becoming an increasingly important area of research and education within the academic community as a reflection of trends in society, industry, and government.
The urgent global issues that impact our way of life require new, effective institutional arrangements to harness science and technology and to envision and create adaptive solutions for a rapidly urbanizing world. The specific, interrelated challenges that frame the research and curriculum of the new School:
Our true potential as an institution is directly linked to realizing the potential of our society. The School of Sustainability is creating a new interdisciplinary model of education for the 21st century. Issues such as joint hires, transdisciplinary teaching, and community engagement will be central to the success of our School. We will be an incubator of innovative problem solving in sustainability through interconnections between research domains and curriculum.
The Global Institute of Sustainability is already successfully engaged in collaborative relationships with colleges and programs across the University and with institutions and corporations worldwide – with the aim of creating a community of experts to address complex environmental and social challenges. From this genesis, the Institute and School together are launching ASU’s university-wide sustainability initiative, creating a comprehensive transdisciplinary approach to creating knowledge and research in sustainability.
Arizona is a logical place to lead the nation in addressing the challenges of urban sustainability. ASU, deeply embedded in the Phoenix metropolitan community, is creating knowledge and use-inspired research to address time-sensitive issues in rapidly urbanizing areas. These issues, crucial not only to Arizona but to the world, include: the effects of urban heat island, pollution, limited water, and energy supplies, the need for sustainable material development, and urban planning. The Southwest holds a living laboratory to do use-inspired research and test approaches to urban sustainability.
Join us as the School of Sustainability positions ASU as a leader in sustainability education and a major force in the production of intellectual capital for sustainability research.