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New summary report released: Strategies for Municipal Fleet Electrification

May 31, 2023

The future of transportation in cities lies in the implementation of fleet electric vehicles (EVs). With the benefits of decreasing fossil fuel consumption and reduced maintenance costs, the City of Peoria is identifying opportunities for more sustainable transit systems. As Peoria expands its sustainable transportation systems, including the recent launch of RoboRide, the City is interested in adapting its fleet vehicles to include EVs. Students will research the costs and infrastructure needed for wide scale adoption of electric vehicles, and critically examine the benefits and limitations of fleet electrification.

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Meet affiliated faculty Hamid Marvi

May 30, 2023

In this series, we’re sitting down with the Swette Center-affiliated faculty to catch up on food systems, innovation, and what makes a good meal. See the rest of the series on our Food Systems Profiles page.

Read on for an interview with Hamid Marvi, Senior Global Futures Scientist and Associate Professor of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering in the School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy.

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Partnership highlight: ASU class helps small Arizona town with tourism, retention planning

May 25, 2023

Source: ASU News
ASU News highlighted a recent partnership between Project Cities and the Town of Miami! Here is a short excerpt:

"Students pointed out that social media is an important resource for both tourism and retention and can be launched quickly. They recommended letting younger town residents manage the accounts, using organic and paid social media to highlight news, the history and beauty of the town, future events and more.

“This is a team,” Rivera said. “This is not a solo team, this is not a golf team, this is not a volleyball team. … This is a huge team in order to accomplish everything that we want for the future of Miami.”

Read the full article.

Info of Interest - May 23, 2023

May 23, 2023

SCN Info of Interest–May 23, 2023

May's SCN Info of Interest was sent out via email. Includes info on: City of Flagstaff awarded Partners for Places Grant, SCN workgroup meetings, webinars, news, and more.

Check it out here.

Do you have a sustainability update for your community that you would like shared? Email us at We love local updates!

2023 Symposium on Behavioral Plasticity

May 19, 2023

By Mira Ries

The 2023 Symposium on Behavioral Plasticity was hosted by the talented students of the Behavioral Plasticity Research Institute (BPRI) on May 15th and 16th 2023 at the Baylor College of Medicine.

BPRI Symposium attendees

Attendees had the opportunity to hear from a series of excellent speakers who shared their research on behavioral plasticity, a field that examines the capacity of organisms to adapt and modify their behavior in response to environmental stimuli. The symposium was primarily attended by BPRI members from the core institutions —Arizona State University, Texas A&M University, Baylor College of Medicine, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Washington University in St. Louis, and the USDA ARS— “friends of BPRI”, were also able to attend and share about their experiences working on plasticity in systems outside of locusts.

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GirlsConserve program offers guidance for future environmental leaders

May 10, 2023

High school students interested in conservation and sustainability found professional development and learning experiences through GirlsConserve, a program focused on fostering the growth of environmentally conscious, empathetic and collaborative future leaders.

GirlsConserve was created partly in response to the lack of representation of diverse women in the science, engineering, technology and math fields. Leah Gerber, director of the Center for Biodiversity Outcomes and Kimberly Scott, founding executive director of the Center for Gender Equity in Science and Technology and professor at the School of Social Transformation, have been working together to address this issue since 2015.

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Project Cities highlight: Landscape architecture student creates xeriscape designs for city of Phoenix

May 9, 2023

Photo by Ken Fagan/ASU News

ASU News highlighted a recent partnership between Project Cities and the City of Phoenix Water Services! Here is a short excerpt:

"Lomeli’s project includes three possible designs based on the average size of a small, medium or large plot in Phoenix. Her plans incorporate a guide for how residents can transition to native and drought-tolerant landscaping. The city will distribute her plans to Phoenix residents free of charge."

Read the full article here.

New summary report released: Resource Guide to Support Aging in Place

May 3, 2023

As one of the fastest growing communities in Arizona, Peoria’s population continues to age, creating a need for the City to further develop its resources available for its population of older adults to ensure the well-being and active participation of all members of the community. In response to this need, the City’s Neighborhood and Human Services Department is interested in developing a resource guide for older adults that includes information about the City’s health services, recreation programs, and classes, as well as how to be an active member of the community

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Pioneering Farm to School

May 1, 2023

By: Jocelyn Moguin, ASU Sustainable Food Systems graduate student. 

Garfield Elementary School, located in Phoenix, Arizona, is pioneering the Farm to School movement through science, nourishment, leadership, sustainability, collaboration, and social and emotional aspects.

In December of 2022, Arizona State University Sustainable Food Systems Graduate Students had the opportunity to explore integral parts in food systems through a weeklong immersive experience across the state. Of these places, Garfield’s Garden on the Corner at Garfield Elementary School was a truly inspiring stop.

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Students kick off partnership with Town of Miami

April 28, 2023

The Town of Miami is a historic community with a rich history in copper mining. Incorporated in 1918, the Town established itself as a copper boom town while blending a new wave of business, arts, and tourism. While the Town seeks to revitalize its community by attracting new business and tourism, it also wants to preserve its historic roots. In a new partnership with ASU Project Cities, the Town of Miami is collaborating with ASU students and faculty to leverage the university for community development projects.

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Returning to Our Roots at Hayden Flour Mills

April 20, 2023

 By: Tim Sullivan, ASU Sustainable Food Systems graduate student. 

Our ASU graduate cohort arrived at Hayden Flour Mills, our last stop of the second day on our Arizona food and farm immersion, as the sun was gently moving downwards towards the western horizon. It was peacefully quiet while we soaked in the ambiance and awaited our tour.

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Earth Day AZ 2023 Celebrates Community Resilience

April 18, 2023

Join mayors from around Arizona in celebrating Earth Day AZ 2023! This statewide collaboration campaign highlights the many ways Arizona communities support the Earth with the goal of inspiring residents to take action for Earth Day during the month of April and beyond.

As members of and in partnership with ASU’s Sustainable Cities Network, these Arizona mayors and communities are showing that there is power in unity and that we all have a role to play in ensuring our planet’s health now and in the future.

Collectively, we can protect our precious and diverse natural resources and secure a thriving future for our state and the world. Join us!

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Searching for Pests with USDA

April 12, 2023

By: Brock LaChapelle, ASU Sustainable Food Systems graduate student. 

This past fall, the ASU Sustainable Food Systems cohort visited the APHIS Plant Protection and Quarantine facility in Yuma, Arizona.  APHIS is an agency within the United States Department of Agriculture that oversees and initiates response pertaining to animal health, animal welfare and plant health. Additionally, they ensure that U.S. agricultural and food products meet the importing countries' criteria for entering their territories. APHIS is divided into various operations including Animal Care, Biotechnology Regulatory Services, International Services, Plant Protection and Quarantine, Veterinary Services, and Wildlife Services.

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SPRI Associate Director completes sustainable purchasing tutorial videos for thinkfour

April 11, 2023

SPRI Associate Director Shirley-Ann Augustin-Behravesh completed a series of five videos for UK based company, thinkfour. thinkfour takes complicated ideas and makes them accessible and easy to understand for classroom students. Augustin-Behravesh's series of videos on sustainable purchasing cover topics such as the importance of sustainable purchasing, impacts of both the government and private sector on sustainable purchasing, and how individual consumer purchasing habits impact global supply chains. The videos are currently in post production but we cannot wait to share them with you once they become available!

A Look Beyond Olives as Oil

April 6, 2023

By: Jacob DeFant, ASU Sustainable Food Systems graduate student. 

In early December of 2022, two dozen students from the new Food Policy and Sustainability Leadership cohort piled out of large Suburban’s, peeling off their extra layers from the early morning as they adjusted to the warm, sunny, and welcoming weather of central Arizona. The students had just arrived at Queen Creek Olive Mill for their next stop during their weeklong course focused on immersing students in the agriculture industry of Arizona. Tired from long days of traveling, the students stretched and readied themselves for another deep dive into Arizona food systems. The students did not expect the unique perspective Queen Creek Olive Mill had to offer on its unique participation in Arizona agriculture.

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SPRI and SPLC interviewed on E&E News about upcoming changes to federal acquisition

March 23, 2023

Nicole Darnall (SPRI Director), Steve Schooner (SPRI Global Affiliate), and our friend Sarah O'Brien with the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council (SPLC), were interviewed by Jean Chemnick from E&E News ClimateWire regarding upcoming changes to federal acquisition regulations.

"When you consider the purchasing power of the federal government, it has the potential to radically shape supply chains globally... While the primary source of those contracts is going to be a U.S. company, they’re sourcing their product inputs from all over the world.” said Darnall. Click here to read the full article.

JRN Global Drylands Modeling Workshop 2023

March 21, 2023

The Global Drylands Center is hosting the JRN Global Drylands Modeling Workshop 2023. At the workshop, we will discuss the important processes needed to represent drylands in a low-dimensional (i.e., “as simple as feasible”) process-inspired model, which will mainline Jornada insights while also representing global drylands. This process-inspired model includes at least wind and water connectivity, woody-herbaceous demographics and spatial-temporal impacts of soils, climate, herbivory and other disturbances, and how these can contribute to state-changes. Learn more and view the entire workshop agenda at

A Journey to a More Sustainable Kitchen with Atlasta Catering

March 20, 2023

By: Chelsea Radford, ASU Sustainable Food Systems graduate student. 

Have you ever worked in a restaurant and noticed the amount of waste produced daily? The endless cycle of taking bag after bag of trash to a dumpster at the end of each night? Well, Steve Short noticed and decided he could do something about it. In December of 2022, the Sustainable Food Systems master’s students at ASU were lucky enough to taste Atlasta’s delicious creations when they catered an event during the Food and Farm Immersion course in Arizona.

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SPRI student wins 2023 Doctoral Research Symposium Best Paper Award

March 17, 2023

Brian Seo, a SPRI affiliated student, won the 2023 Doctoral Research Symposium Best Paper Award at the 5th annual Watts Doctoral Research Conference. His paper, "Adopting Environmental Policies: Does the Form of Government Matter?" focused on whether different forms of local government (focusing on mayor-council vs. council-manager) had an effect on the type of environmental policies that are adopted.

Previous studies on local governments' sustainability efforts have used the form of government to infer that mayor-council governments are more likely to adopt environmental policies for its symbolic values while council-manager governments are more likely to adopt environmental policies that help increase operational efficiency. Using SPRI survey data, Seo then categorized the environmental policies into two categories based on whether adoption of certain policies had a more symbolic or cost-focused benefit. The result was a null result, suggesting that perhaps mayor-council and council-manager governments are not as different as previous literature has characterized them to be.

The conference was hosted by the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions on the Downtown Phoenix campus on Friday, March 3rd. There were a total of 16 different presentations from students across Watts College, including the School of Public Affairs; School of Community Resources and Development; School of Criminology and Criminal Justice; and School of Social Work.