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USA Triathlon: A race toward sustainability

April 7, 2020

Led by his passion about sustainable change in the sports industry, Master of Sustainability Solutions student Brian Boyle decided to create a sustainable event guidebook for USA Triathlon events. The project focuses on providing resources, capacities, and strategies to manage and mitigate the overall sustainability footprint of USA Triathlon (USAT) events with an emphasis on outcomes and behaviors that adhere to sustainability principles.

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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 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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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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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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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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Sustainability and Cronkite film students expose the tragedies of homelessness

December 19, 2019

Dawson Morford, Katharina Saloman, and Sarah Aly El SayedHiding In Plain Sight and Fighting For A Home are two short films on the complexities of homelessness from School of Sustainability and Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication students in Peter Byck’s Sustainability Storytelling course.

Hiding in Plain Sight spotlights a woman’s experience with homelessness and the special challenges she faces that differ from men. The film’s protagonist struggles to find nutrition, health care and shelter while trying to fill roles as a caretaker, mother and friend. First-time filmmakers Dawson Morford, Katharina Saloman and Sarah Aly El Sayed piece together a powerful portrait of a unique partnership between a homeless woman and a chronically ill man, while chronicling the plight of homeless women in Phoenix, Arizona. Highlighting the vulnerabilities of unsheltered women, the filmmakers show us there is no single narrative for the multiple demographic groups of homeless people. Women, specifically, face unique personal safety and health hurdles while living on the streets.

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Meet sustainability master's student Matthew Burmeister

October 23, 2019

Matthew BurmeisterArizona State University student Matthew Burmeister has been doing incredible work in sustainability with "Sustainable Sound: Festival Guide," a guide to making music festivals more sustainable, which originated from a Sustainability Connect project.

Based on his experiences, Burmeister has some "sound" advice for students who are inexperienced in sustainability projects: “Don’t give up — when I first came up with the idea for 'Sustainable Sound' I had zero connections with anyone in the festival industry or even any experience in event planning. Regardless of my unfamiliarity with the field, I wanted to do this project so badly that I took the time to reach out to industry professionals and dug into the existing research and frameworks. After countless phone calls, emails, pitches and rejections, I am now working with some of my favorite festival organizations to help them transform their events.”

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ASU, CI and Potsdam researchers explore future of Alto Mayo, Peru

August 29, 2019

People sitting around table talking and brainstormingWhat is the future of coffee in a changing climate? How can we enhance the livelihoods of farmers while protecting the nature that surrounds them?

Conservation International and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research partnered with Arizona State University to help answer these questions.

“Farmers and government planners are making decisions today based on their past experience,” ASU-CI Professor of Practice and CI Peru's Director of Science and Development Percy Summers said. “This works in a [short-term, predictable] world, but increasingly change has become the new norm.”

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Meet sustainability student Heejoo Min

July 23, 2019

HeeJoo Min and friendsHeejoo Min had a pivotal moment when she realized that we needed to completely change our perspectives to include sustainability. This realization led her to ASU where she discovered the School of Sustainability.

“ASU was the only school that had a dedicated department for sustainability,” Min said (pictured top row, third from left). “I looked more into it and I thought it was very well-designed program. Other schools offered it as an environmental science degree, but I thought sustainability is so much more than just science.”

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Meet sustainability senior Paiton Upshaw

July 17, 2019

Student in graduation regaliaPaiton Upshaw was working at her previous job when she realized she wanted more. Motivated by her love for the planet, Upshaw decided to take the next step by attending the School of Sustainability online program through the Starbucks College Achievement Plan.

“I knew I wanted to do something to help the world because I love the world,” Upshaw said. “I saw that Starbucks paid full tuition to ASU online and upon looking through the ASU online majors, I found sustainability! I thought that sustainability aligned perfectly with what I was interested in, and I've really enjoyed my entire time at the School of Sustainability through ASU online."

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Meet Summer Vogel, intern at Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve

July 1, 2019

Summer Vogel in park ranger unifromSchool of Sustainability online student Summer Vogel has been interning with Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve since April. Vogel is a junior pursuing an online Bachelor of Science in Sustainability with a geography minor through the Starbucks College Achievement Plan, a partnership between Arizona State University and Starbucks. She shared her experience as an online student and provided insight into her internship with the National Park Service.

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Meet sustainability alumna Kayla Kutter

June 17, 2019

Kayla KutterKayla Kutter recently graduated from Arizona State University with two degrees: a Master of Sustainability Solutions from the School of Sustainability and a Master of Science and Technology Policy from the School for the Future of Innovation in Society.

Kutter said she realized she wanted to study sustainability while she was in the Peace Corps in Tanzania. While living in a small village for two years, she did not have access to running water or electricity, and she had to minimize her waste due to the lack of trash collection infrastructure.

“Learning to live off the grid and be acutely aware of how much I was using was a huge change in my mindset,” Kutter said. Read more about her experience studying sustainability in her Q&A.

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Meet sustainability alumna Samantha Zah

June 6, 2019

Samantha ZahWith a growing number of sustainability programs out there, how do you choose?

Samantha Zah, a spring 2019 graduate of the Master of Sustainability Solutions (MSUS) at Arizona State University, said she chose the program because of its applied approach. “I was concerned with getting wrapped up in academia and losing connection with the real world, so I appreciated the option to straddle both while advancing my career in the MSUS program,” she explained.

Even before graduating, Zah applied the skills she was learning in class to a project with the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise, a business owned by the tribe. As part of the Navajo Nation’s strategic plan to advance economically by expanding tourism, Navajo Gaming is developing a travel center near Flagstaff — and Zah worked with the business to ensure sustainability was embedded in the project.

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Meet sustainability alumna Kaylin Ayotte

May 21, 2019

Kayin AyotteKaylin Ayotte is an Arizona native and a two-time Arizona State University graduate. After receiving a bachelor’s degree from the School of Sustainability and a minor in business, she went on to expand her education with the Master of Sustainability Solutions (MSUS), graduating in Spring 2019.

Along with fellow student Isabel Burdge, Ayotte developed a publication for sustainability professionals, Mindiac, that focuses on mindfulness. Read more about their culminating experience project, and Ayotte’s experience in the MSUS program, in her Q&A below.

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Meet graduating sustainability master’s student Anthony Contento

May 6, 2019

Anthony Contento stands near a sign for his business, Contento RecyclingLast summer, we did a Q&A with Anthony Contento, a Master of Sustainability Leadership student in the School of Sustainability. Now that he just graduated with a few more accomplishments under his belt, we thought it was time to do a follow-up interview to learn about his capstone project and hear reflections about his experience with the program.

Question: Can you tell us about your capstone project?

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Meet graduating sustainability master’s student Christopher Mutshnick

May 3, 2019

Christopher Mutshnick headshotOne of the goals of the Master of Sustainability Leadership in the School of Sustainability is to teach tools that can be immediately applied to benefit each student’s workplace — and student Christopher William Mutshnick is a great example of that succeeding. Mutshnick, who is graduating with an MSL degree this month, has worked in the field of educational outreach and equity for nearly 10 years and used his capstone project to create for his organization a program that addresses global challenges while improving student learning and access to higher education.

Initially, Mutshnick didn’t see how threats like climate change connected with education. But then it dawned on him: “In my quest to make the world a better place, I had failed to realize that a prerequisite was having a world left to save.” Read his Q&A to learn more about this realization and what Mutshnick has been working on since.

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Meet graduating sustainability master’s student Sophia Vitale

May 1, 2019

Sophia VitaleSophia Yvonne Vitale is days away from graduating with her Master of Sustainability Leadership from Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability. She said her inspiration to study sustainability came from a spiritual awakening in which she realized that all of her actions have impacts, and she wanted to do more to change the world.

Despite family tragedies occurring during her studies, Vitale was able to stay on track with her degree and learn a lot through her classes, school mentors, classmates and capstone project — a sustainability consulting project working with businesses. Read more about Vitale’s journey in her Q&A.

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The vegan event of all vegan events

March 13, 2019

Aly StoffoThe vegan smorgasbord on Aly Stoffo’s plate might be overwhelming for anyone else, but that is exactly what she’s cooking up. The food feast in her academic oven is a plant-based food event called: Eat Well Live Well. It’s a project she undertook for her Master of Sustainability Solutions (MSUS) culminating experience in partnership with Aramark — ASU’s primary food vendor and high-visibility supporter of university sustainability initiatives.

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