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School of Sustainability News Alumni and Student Spotlights

March 28, 2019

Sustainability students Zer Waste exhibit at Change the WorldThe first Change the World event showcased how Arizona State University students are making a difference through their entrepreneurship, art and ambitious initiatives. Hundreds of students from every campus participated in or attended the festival, held Wednesday at Sun Devil Stadium. At least 15 School of Sustainability students showcased projects, and many other ASU students from around the university presented initiatives relating to sustainability.

The School of Sustainability projects and ideas presented included:

Villas and Vista del Sol (VVDS) Composting Program: This is the first residential community composting program on ASU’s Tempe campus, consisting of an educational component and a physical component. The program is currently in the pilot stage with plans for growth within the VVDS community and expansion to other ASU residential communities.

Urban Farming Together: Garden in a Box Project: This project aims to increase food security and nutrition among low-income schoolchildren by providing free raised-bed gardens and gardening workshops. Working in collaboration with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (specifically, the urban farming and family wellness programs), this project builds upon pre-existing initiatives that seek to promote urban agriculture and holistic wellness in the Phoenix area.

Inequality in Health and Wealth: Students are creating virtual field trips with the purpose of narrating their own place-based stories connecting to United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Ultimately, these virtual field trips will be shared with peers globally to motivate youth action around sustainability.

Sow It Forward: Vertical Garden Project: This team has already brought vertical garden education to nine schools in the past year and a half. The vertical gardens are indoor, aeroponic systems that come equipped with UV lighting and a dolly, so the gardens can grow indoors and be moved anywhere throughout the school. This food can be used for lessons in science, nutrition and gardening.

Food Tech for The Future: Growing Digital Farmers: This project brings "food computers" and digital farming education to high school students. Food computers, developed by The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, allow users to grow food in controlled conditions and manipulate variables such as temperature, lighting and humidity to experiment with best growth conditions. This project aims to give students experience with technology and coding.

What Does Fair Trade Mean to You? Sun Devils for Fair Trade is the primary student organization at ASU promoting ethical consumption and production practices. The organization is active at ASU events, and at Change the World, they asked participants to describe what fair trade means to them and educated students about fair trade and the efforts taking place around the world to advance it.

The Growing Hope Project: This project aims to address barriers that low-income families and children face to accessing affordable, sustainable and nutritious food. The project's vision is to use hydroponics to alleviate food insecurity for students, families and community members of the Karandu Primary School in Otjiwarongo, Namibia. Through collaborating with Paavo Nashidengo, their partner and local school-teacher in Otjiwarongo, they hope to help establish a hydroponic garden that will transform learners into self-disciplined citizens who are committed to success, hard work and their own version of happiness.

Trading post (top photo): A table at Change the World acted as a trading post to encourage people to swap their unwanted items instead of trashing them.

The Constellation Project: In development, this is a student-run networking platform with the mission of fostering a network of students and sustainability student organizations who can converse and collaborate in real time. They plan to start at ASU and then expand to other Arizona universities and community colleges.

Eat Well, Live Well: ASU’s First Large Event to Celebrate Plant-Based Diets and Sustainability: Alessandra Stoffo highlighted her March 14 event, "Eat Well, Live Well," which celebrated plant-based diets and sustainability. The purpose of this event was to educate, inspire and motivate the ASU student body to eat plant-based — for the planet and their health.

Bringing policy-making to diverse communities: Sustainability PhD student Nicholas Weller shared his research. He has found that in the U.S., many citizens increasingly shun political parties, express reservations about democratic institutions, and see "the other side" as the problem. Weller says need new models of involving people in the issues that impact them. Deliberative forums designed to include diverse audiences in informed, respectful dialogue provide an alternative pathway for people to be involved in democracy.

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