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Sustainability students promote "Green Growth" for Islands

March 2, 2021

Pacific islands, including Hawai’i, are vulnerable to the effects of climate change, especially sea-level rise, and extreme weather events. That’s why Master of Sustainability Solutions (MSUS) students Hailey Campbell, Latrell Kaye, and Tammy Nguyen are working with Local2030 Islands Network to create an adaptation framework to enhance islands’ capacity to deal with climate change impacts. Through locally-driven and culturally informed practices, they hope to advance sustainable development in island communities using the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals* (SDG).

Read more about the team’s effort in the Q&A below.

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Meet sustainability alum Jasmine Bolich

September 9, 2020

Woman smiling in dress sitting on marble buildingSchool of Sustainability 2020 alum Jasmine Bolich is passionate about film production, and wants to make a positive impact in the industry through being an advocate for sustainability practices. In her Q&A below, Bolich explains how she came to study sustainability (hint: sustainability degrees are flexible and can be applied to any field!), her capstone project, and how her degree is opening up opportunities for her.

Question: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?

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Meet sustainability student Sukhmani Singh

September 6, 2020

Portrait of Sukhmani Singh wearing a black turtleneck and maroon blazerSchool of Sustainability student Sukhmani Singh aims to establish a career as an environmental lawyer. With several internships and extracurricular activities at Arizona State University already under her belt, she's on the right path. Learn more about Singh's experiences in the School of Sustainability and how internships have enriched her education in her Q&A below!

Question: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?

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Preparing valley schools for heat readiness

August 6, 2020

Adora Shortridge is a Masters of Arts in the School of Sustainability conducting a research project on urban heat islands and how to prepare schools for it. The Urban Heat Island Effect has affected public health, safety, climate change, weather, and many other environmental issues. Adora seeks to solve these issues by understanding its effects on schools.

“As cities continuously morph and grow, it becomes more critical to design our communities to be resilient, diverse and inclusive, more livable, and natural. Educating all levels of the public and stakeholders is crucial to the effectiveness of strategies mentioned above, as well as to the future of our soon-to-be sweltering cities.”

Read more from Shortridge in her Q&A.

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Meet sustainability student and researcher Caitlyn Finnegan

July 27, 2020

Caitlyn Finnegan is a junior in the School of Sustainability who has spent her summer conducting research on fisheries with Assistant Professor Kailin Kroetz. Fisheries have always been a model for sustainable management, challenges, and discipline. They represent a relationship between humans and marine ecosystems.

“My interest in aquatic ecosystems and how anthropogenic activities interfere with their success drew me to assist Dr. Kailin Kroetz with her fisheries research. Fishery research is impactful because it represents a natural resource that continues to be negatively disrupted by human behavior globally.”

Read more from Finnegan in her Q&A. 

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Oui Nous Pouvons: subverting the single story of sustainable development

June 5, 2020

Led by her passion for empowering communities through sustainable development, Master of Sustainability Solutions student Abigail Johnson worked in the western African country of Togo on a documentary film about homegrown sustainability solutions. By amplifying marginalized voices and showing grassroots sustainability initiatives, Johnson counterbalanced the prevalent narrative that sustainability in Africa can only be done with non-African resources and people.

“Oui, Nous Pouvons” (translation: Yes, We Can) opens with Abby’s narrative, “I came to Togo as a Peace Corps volunteer, but just to be clear this is not my story. It’s a story about the people I met here and about the stories they tell themselves and each other.” And the story she tells focuses on a Togo community member named Aposto who has put his master’s degree in sociology to good use by creating homegrown solutions to local sustainability challenges.

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Using creative expression to convey sustainability solutions

June 2, 2020

Meet Doctor of Philosophy in Sustainability alumna Neda Mohaved. Her work is centered around international development as human development, and most recently “how we wear water.”

“Throughout the project, I worked with water metaphorically to equate the process of learning with embracing change. Paradigm shifts needed for sustainability require transformative learning where one is open to being shaped by new knowledge and experience," Movahed said. Read more in her Q&A.

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Meet sustainability student and SURE researcher Tahiry Langrand

June 2, 2020

The Student Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) is an opportunity for undergraduate students to find a research fellow and gain substantive research on a faculty-supervised project. This year, School of Sustainability student Tahiry Langrand participated in a project on lithium mining with Datu Agusdinata.

“I was driven to work with Dr. Agusdinata on his research on the community impacts of lithium mining in Salar de Atacama because I was especially interested in the ethical considerations of natural resource extraction,” Langrand said. Read more from Langrand in his Q&A.

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Two short films explore sustainable food and water harvesting

May 22, 2020

Two new short films Holding on to the Corn and Plant the Rain, produced by students in the School of Sustainability and Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in a class taught by Peter Byck, highlight the benefits of a local regenerative food system.

Holding on to the Corn

Holding on to the Corn explores how Hopi spiritual beliefs, ceremonies and agricultural practices centered on corn are being re-established by tribe members. The original intent of the film’s proponents was to create sustainable agriculture and promote healthy access to food, only to discover that their tribal traditions and experiences provided all the knowledge they needed to succeed.

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Now emerging from a sustainable business incubator: “Together We Brew”

May 22, 2020

From his experiences in the beverage business, Master of Sustainability Solutions student Nicholas Shivka was painfully aware of how hard it is for local businesses to compete with the global giants. He knew that local business start-ups lack the financial support cities provide to multinational corporations interested in establishing a local presence. Those companies promise the addition of new jobs in exchange for tax breaks and other “attraction” incentives offered by city officials enamored with Fortune 500 companies, while local businesses receive minimal support and suffer financial disadvantages in the local economy.

Shivka saw a need to encourage and support local entrepreneurs in their quest to build sustainable businesses by creating a sustainable business incubator program. Using the co-op ownership model, sustainability methods, and participatory practices, he partnered with MSUS students Hanna Layton and Huda Khalife, under the guidance of Professor Arnim Wiek from the Sustainable Food Economy Lab, to build an educational program for aspiring entrepreneurs interested in sustainable food production. To test the program, they began the incubation of “Together We Brew,” a sustainable beverage business, with a group of Phoenix entrepreneurs.

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Meet Master of Sustainability Leadership alumnus David Ginn

May 8, 2020

One of the many changes David Ginn experienced as he moved from rural Pennsylvania to metropolitan Phoenix was the increase in his concern for the growing climate crisis. Motivated to do something about it, he decided to enroll in the Master of Sustainability Leadership program at Arizona State University.

“The focus on global and strategic perspectives in sustainability seemed like a great trajectory for the program, and the subject matter of the curricula for each course seemed very interesting to me,” Ginn said. “I was not from a traditional sustainability background for my undergrad studies, so this seemed like the perfect bridge into the field.”

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Meet Master of Sustainability Leadership alumna Laura Friedman

May 6, 2020

Overworked and experiencing health issues, Laura Friedman knew she needed to make major life changes. So, when her son recommended she go to college, she didn’t hesitate.

“I researched online graduate school degrees and learned that Arizona State University was ranked No. 1 in the country for innovation,” Friedman said. “I found the Master of Sustainability Leadership program and I believed combining and expanding the sustainability leadership themes with my technology career would enable me to make a valuable career shift.”

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Meet Master of Sustainability Leadership alumnus Joseph Aubert

May 4, 2020

Joseph Aubert was looking to make a career change when he discovered corporate sustainability. Excited by the opportunity, he applied to Arizona State University’s Master of Sustainability Leadership (MSL) program.

“My impression of the MSL was that it flipped that paradigm, and was much more 'macro' in scale, focusing on the big picture instead of the day-to-day management,” Aubert said. “A culture of sustainability needs to start at the top, which is where I want to be.”

This May 2020, Aubert is graduating from the program and will continue his journey to help bring about meaningful change in the world. In the following Q&A, get acquainted with Aubert and his future plans.

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Meet Master of Sustainability Leadership alumna Sydney Lund

May 4, 2020

A native of Southern California, Sydney Lund had been taught to be environmentally conscious from a young age. But it wasn’t until her undergrad that her passion for sustainability was awakened.

“During undergrad, I started formally learning about sustainability themes within the classroom where I became extremely passionate about the subject and received a certificate in sustainability leadership,” Lund said. “After graduation, I went to teach English in Costa Rica.”

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Meet Executive Master of Sustainable Leadership alumnus Dan Colton

May 4, 2020

Although he had been taught to live sustainably before he even knew the meaning of the word, Dan Colton’s interest in sustainability wasn’t sparked until he got to — of all places — law school.

“I was in law school taking classes such as Environmental Law, Water Law, and a newly formed class called Sustainability," Colton said. "I realized then that there are some incredibly powerful tools in our society that can help us responsibly use the world's resources in a way that protects them and makes them available for future generations. From that point on, I was always looking for ways to tie my profession back in to my interest in sustainability.”

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Exploring sustainability literacy through nature journaling in school gardens

April 20, 2020

Dedicated to fostering sustainable change through education, School of Sustainability master's student Julia Colbert helped implement nature journaling in local elementary school classrooms.

“Education has always been a significant part of my life. No matter where I go, what I do, and who I spend time with, I find myself gravitating towards education spaces,” Colbert said. Read more from Colbert in her Q&A.

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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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MSUS student travels to Senegal to help workshop locust booklets

April 6, 2020

This article was written by William H. Walker VI, a sophomore in the School of Sustainability. Edited December 2, 2020 by Alana Burnham.

Global Locust Initiative Senegal IPMFrom left to right: Team members Fatou Bintou Sarr, Sidikarou Badiane, Braedon Kantola, and Alana Burnham pose with a CFSA participant at a sabar or drum circle in Boulel, Senegal.

Imagine you are in rural Senegal, working on a farm. It's your livelihood, your culture, and a part of your well-being. You grow millet, peanuts, maybe even some tomatoes or eggplant. You do all you can to take care of your farm and your family. Yet, there is cause for concern: locusts and grasshoppers. One day, your field is suddenly overtaken by a swarm. You call your government’s USDA equivalent, but by the time agents arrive to spray pesticides, your harvest is all gone. How can you prevent this? What can be done to empower farmers? One way is by teaching them to identify and monitor pest species, so that they can inform authorities early on and outbreaks can easily be controlled. That’s what a team at Global Locust Initiative is working on, as a part of their larger project Communities for Sustainable Agriculture (CFSA) funded by the United States Agency for International Development’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance. Collaborating with the Senegalese Plant Protection Directorate (Direction de la Protection des Végétaux or DPV), locust experts in Senegal and France, and Senegalese community members, the team created a booklet on identification of locally relevant locust and grasshopper species. Master of Sustainability Solutions (MSUS) student Braedon Kantola assisted this team as a part of his culminating experience—which brought him all the way to Senegal.

In February 2020, Kantola accompanied booklet-lead and outreach specialist Alana Burnham to communities in central Senegal, where the team workshopped symbols and illustrations developed for the identification booklet. Along with local locust experts Sidikarou Badiane, Alioune Beye, and Fatou Bintou Sarr, they met with 100 farmers to gather feedback.

Global Locust Initiative Senegal MeetingEntomologist Fatou Bintou Sarr presents the first edition of the identification booklet to CFSA participants in Nganda, Senegal.

The finished identification booklet covers several topics: a general background on locust and grasshopper anatomy; species identification information such as markings, habitat, and diet; and contact information for local DPV agents. Written in French and Wolof, Senegal’s predominant local language, the booklet includes illustrations developed by Kara Brooks, a graduate student at the Herberger Institute for the Design and the Arts. This resource will complement a previous booklet on monitoring techniques, which is now available on GLI’s website.

Global Locust Initiative Senegal women groupA CFSA participant in Nganda, Senegal, reads a finished booklet on locust management. Participants in Nganda helped provide feedback on the booklets during the revision process.

During his time in Senegal, Kantola visited several rural communities, picked up a few phrases of Wolof, and even participated in a few Senegalese sabar or drum circles. Says Kantola, “having worked on this project has opened my eyes to so many experiences and learning opportunities.”

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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