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Sun Devils Together: An empathetic approach to ASU student homelessness

March 31, 2020

This article was co-written by William Walker VI, a sophomore in the School of Sustainability and Paul Prosser, Project Partner Liaison at the School of Sustainability. 

All students in Arizona State University’s Master of Sustainability Solutions (MSUS) program are required to design and execute a culminating experience project, with the goal being to partner with a community to confront a current sustainability issue. For their project, students Maryam Abdul Rashid, Skyliana Dosier, and Omar Sanchez are creating awareness about student homelessness, breaking down the corresponding stigmas, and improving access to services for homeless students in partnership with ASU’s Dean of Students office. The project explores the three fronts where homeless students experience the most insecurity: housing, health, and food.

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Meet online sustainability senior Samantha Selway

March 26, 2020

A medical condition forced Samantha "Sammy" Selway to transition to online schooling. It was while she was in the process of doing this that she found Arizona State University's sustainability degree.

"After I had decided to leave [another university] because of the Misophonia, the director of their Disability Resource Center told me about ASU’s online programs and then I found the sustainability major," Selway said. "It was perfect and looking back, having to leave in-person college seems like a blessing in disguise."

Selway is a senior at ASU pursuing an online Bachelor of Science in sustainability with a focus in energy, materials and technology. Continue reading to get acquainted with Selway, her propensity to power through the obstacles of life and her research project.

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ASU professor works to mitigate impact of extreme heat in Tokyo Olympics

March 23, 2020

Editor's note: Although this summer's Tokyo Olympics have been postponed due to COVID-19, there is a possibility they will be rescheduled to next summer. With Tokyo's extreme summer heat and humidity, dangers to health would remain. The following information holds true for August in Tokyo, including August 2021.

This summer’s Tokyo Olympics are expected to be one of the hottest Olympic Games on record. According to Jennifer Vanos, an assistant professor in Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability, long-term climatology tells us that the question is not if it will be hot and humid in Tokyo, but rather how much hotter than normal it could be. In an effort to obtain more precision on these marginal differences and how the extreme heat will impact athletes, spectators and volunteers, Vanos and an interdisciplinary group of global researchers just published a paper in the journal Temperature.

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Meet sustainability senior Nick Johnson

March 17, 2020

Inspired by sustainability, public transit and urban spaces, School of Sustainability senior Nick Johnson took on a year-long internship with Valley Metro.

“As I continued my studies it became clear that these urban spaces are also capable of manifesting strong and environmentally responsible communities. From then on I knew that I am most passionate about working towards creating more sustainable cities that have robust transit networks, walkable spaces, and human-oriented design."

The passion he felt has manifested in projects, student leadership and fostering a culture of sustainability, right here in the valley. Read more about Nick Johnson in his Q&A.

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How to act cooperatively in the face of a pandemic

March 16, 2020

ASU psychologist Athena Aktipis and collaborators weigh in 

Cooperation is essential during a pandemic. As societies deal with the rise of disease in different ways, a consistent theme is that knowing how diseases spread and evolve can put you in a much better position to evaluate what is or isn’t a real threat.

We asked Arizona State University’s resident expert on cooperation, Athena Aktipis, and some of her collaborators about how to encourage cooperation during a pandemic. Aktipis is an assistant professor of psychology in the ASU Department of Psychology who studies cooperation and cheating and co-directs the Human Generosity Project.

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Discover resources for remote learning and teaching

March 16, 2020

Hands typing on laptop computer at deskAs ASU continues to monitor COVID-19, the university is temporarily transitioning classes wherever possible to remote teaching and learning, starting March 16, 2020. The university’s primary goal is the continuation of classes and the commitment to high-quality delivery of learning. ASU has collected all the resources available to you on one website so that you are prepared to teach, learn and work through digital remote options.

Meet sustainability alumna Victoria Erran

March 4, 2020

Inspired by a vegan documentary, Victoria Erran decided to make the life-altering decision to study sustainability.

"I had just watched one of those famous vegan documentaries where it talks about how much land, water and energy it takes to grow animals for agricultural purposes," Erran said. "I was in shock, and I wanted to learn why no one was talking about this!"

The passion she felt at that moment remained with her and propelled her through Arizona State University's School of Sustainability, from which she graduated in the fall of 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in sustainability. Continue reading to learn more about Erran and her experiences at ASU.

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Meet sustainability master’s student Christa Burgess

February 27, 2020

Woman with blonde hair smiling into camera next to tortoiseChrista Burgess began her journey at Arizona State University in another major, but she always felt something was missing.

"After my first semester I got the feeling that the major wasn't quite right for me," Burgess said. "I enjoyed biology, but I realized that I was much more interested in learning how people interact with the environment and how to help balance the needs of both people and the natural world."

After some research, she decided to switch her major to sustainability with a focus in sustainable ecosystems. Last December, Burgess graduated a semester early from Barrett, the Honors College with a Bachelor of Science in sustainability and a minor in biological sciences. She remains at ASU as part of the 4+1 accelerated Master of Sustainability Solutions. Continue reading to learn more about Burgess.

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Changemaker Central rescues produce for communities and combats food insecurity

February 26, 2020

Girl smiling wearing Produce Rescue shirtThis article was written by William H. Walker VI, a sophomore in the School of Sustainability.

Food is integral in nourishing the mind, body, and soul as well as sustaining the communities around us. We live in a society where food is wasted in the home as well as in stores. At the same time, many people live in food deserts without access to fresh produce. How can we resolve these complex sustainability issues, alleviate food deserts, and increase access to healthy fruits and veggies? Changemaker Central at ASU has an initiative that combats all of these challenges.

Borderlands (also known as Produce On Wheels Without Waste or P.O.W.W.O.W.) is a food rescue initiative hosted by Changemaker Central on the Tempe and Downtown campuses that diverts edible food that ordinarily is sent to a landfill. P.O.W.W.O.W diverts produce that is surplus, on the verge of decomposing, or quality control rejections by retailers and restaurants, and sells it at a rate of $12 for 70 lbs or $6 for 35 lbs to students.

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Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability celebrates 15 years

February 17, 2020

Wrigley HallIn 2004, Arizona State University President Michael M. Crow convened a meeting in Temozón, Mexico, of a small but distinguished group of intellectual leaders who were exploring a new idea: sustainability science. Could sustainability be a core value of a large public research university?

It would have to instruct and inspire new generations. It would have to solve pressing real-world problems. And it would have to walk its talk.

On the 15th anniversary of the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, ASU has proven it can do all of that and more. Read more about the accomplishments and evolution of the ASU Wrigley Institute in these ASU Now stories:

Uplifting indigenous voices for a sustainable future in food

January 31, 2020

Assorted vegetables, fruits, meats, and grainsThis article was written by William H. Walker VI, a sophomore in the School of Sustainability. 

Modern consumers have lost touch with how food is more than a commodity and brings more than nutritional value. Cultural, spiritual, ecological and community values are bound up in everything we eat. For food systems to be more sustainable, consumers need to embrace indigenous and place-based food narratives that foster more equitable food systems. 

To push back against the common narrative of food for nutrition’s sake, the Wisdom of Indigenous Foodways conference highlighted uplifting agricultural, social and sustainable narratives from the indigenous community.

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Christiana Figueres inspires action to cut carbon emissions in half this decade

January 31, 2020

Christiana Figueres Wrigley Lecture ASUAt the Wrigley Lecture held on January 30 at Arizona State University, climate leader Christiana Figueres said extreme events like the Australian wildfires are foretelling of things to come if we continue to sleepwalk into the future. "That world is possible, but it is not inevitable," she said.

Figueres is recognized internationally as a diplomatic leader on climate change. From 2010 to 2016, she was executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. During her tenure, Figueres brought together national and sub-national governments, corporations and activists, financial institutions and NGOs to deliver the historic Paris Agreement on climate change. To accelerate the global response to climate change, Figueres founded Global Optimism Ltd., a purpose-driven enterprise focused on social and environmental change. On February 25, 2020, Figueres is launching her new book, "The Future We Choose: Surviving the Climate Crisis."

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Meet sustainability junior Cameron Chavez Reed

January 30, 2020

Cameron ChavezInspired by his passions for nature and correcting social inequities, and fueled by his alarm at the climate crisis, Cameron Chavez Reed began his Arizona State University career determined to obtain a degree that would enable him to make a difference.

“I knew I wanted to study something that could make a difference and integrate the interdisciplinary nature of sustainability into a single program,” Reed said. “ASU’s School of Sustainability has provided me this opportunity: a program that incorporates the social, political, economic, and natural ecological aspects of the incredibly diverse and complex issue that is sustainability.”

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The wisdom of indigenous foodways

January 27, 2020

top down view of dining table with food being sharedA food summit co-sponsored by Arizona State University brought indigenous voices to the forefront of a conversation about transforming our food system.

The ASU Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems, Food Tank and the University of Hawaii, West Oahu partnered for the inaugural Food Tank Summit, “The Wisdom of Indigenous Foodways." The event, which took place on January 22 at ASU Skysong, featured 22 speakers, almost all of them Native American or Native Hawaiian. Indigenous celebrity chefs Mariah Gladstone and Sean Sherman, founder and CEO of The Sioux Chef, were also present.

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Meet sustainability alumna Megan Warner

January 24, 2020

Megan WarnerMegan Warner just graduated with a Bachelor of Science in sustainability. As someone who has been dedicated to sustainability from an early age, completing the program was a dream come true.

"This program will change you in profound ways," Warner said. "I learned how to be mindful of the uncomfortable and inspiring feelings that sustainability brings."

In the following Q&A, read about Warner, her advice to those still on the journey of obtaining a degree, and her plans for the future.

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Creating a sustainable fashion industry

ASU Now | January 17, 2020

Mannequins wearing different outfitsAccording to the United Nations Environment Program, 20% of the global wastewater and 10% of global carbon emissions can be traced back to one source: the fashion industry. The UNEP estimates that these statistics are “more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined.” Alarmed by these numbers, Arizona State University students, staff and alumni, including the Business of Fashion group at ASU, are working to change it.

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Project Cities puts student talent on the map

ASU Now | January 14, 2020

Person presenting for project citiesThe city of Apache Junction, Arizona has a complicated relationship with the 125 mobile home and RV parks within its city limits. Some of the parks are well managed and provide an attractive, affordable option for low income residents. But many are deteriorating, unsightly and do not conform to contemporary city codes, presenting a detriment to Apache Junction’s image as it works to attract visitors and boost economic growth.

In an effort to address this, the city partnered with the new-at-the-time Arizona State University program Project Cities, a program launched in 2017 to “connect higher education with local communities, creating a powerful combination of knowledge and know-how.” Apache Junction was the inaugural community partner during the 2017–18 academic year and renewed its partnership through the spring 2019 semester.

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Meet sustainability junior Sha'kiya Morris

January 2, 2020

Sha'kiya MorrisShe runs two organizations from home, created a charity focused on helping veterans with PTSD and holds community events to raise awareness. She also helps personal brands and businesses benefit from innovative solutions. Oh, and did we mention she's a mother of two?

Meet Sha'kiya Morris, a junior at Arizona State University studying sustainability online. "To me, sustainability means an opportunity to practice mindfulness," Morris said. "I believe that with collaboration, transparency, and an openness to understanding, we can take our species to another level. But to evolve, we must first become involved."

In the following Q&A, we discuss her life, the reasons she created her organizations and why she decided to study sustainability at ASU.

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UREx SRN Alumni: Beating the heat in Phoenix neighborhoods

December 30, 2019

Melissa GuardaroSchool of Sustainability PhD graduate, Melissa Guardaro has made an impact on heat action planning in Phoenix, Arizona. As part of the Nature’s Cooling System Project, Guardaro strove to address social and geographical equity concerns related to heat mitigation and adaptation strategies in under-served areas. She partnered with local groups including the Nature Conservancy, community based organizations, city officials, and the public health department to develop heat action plans for three low-income communities: Edison-Eastlake Community, Mesa Care Neighborhood, and Lindo Park-Roesley Park Neighborhood.

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