The Devil's Dish

2014 Cronkite High School Summer Journalism Institute

ASU Conserving the future

By Hayley Gorman

A new addition to the ASU campuses is solar energy. As of Nov. 30, 2013, there were 68 total solar systems and 23.5 megawatts.


SJI participants received complimentary reusable water bottles. Photo by Hayley Gorman

Arizona State University is known for being Maroon and Gold, but they are also known for being green. ASU is committed to university-wide sustainability.

The Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability is the center for sustainability on ASU campuses. The Wrigley Sustainability Institute’s goal is to provide leadership and coordination for the sustainability initiatives.

“Sustainability is important because its opposite is unsustainable, meaning it can’t go on forever. Students in the School of Sustainability are learning to envision the future they want and use science and scholarship to find a way to get there without creating unwanted consequences,” said Michelle Schwartz, manager of the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability. “I think we can all agree that the future we want is one that is healthy, fair and secure.”

The institute focuses on four key areas:  education, research, business practices, and global partnership, and transformation.

At ASU as of Dec. 31, 2013, there have been 76,611 students, 78,100 solar panels, 937,125 riders annually on campus shuttles, 2283 tons of landfill waste diverted yearly, 36 LEED certified buildings, and 23.5 MWdc of solar power across the four campuses. Statistics are from Sustainability Operations.

“Each person can do his or her part – things like choosing alternative transportation, conserving energy and water at home and at work or school, buying and using reusable and refillable items like bags and water bottles, eating less meat (because meat is more resource-intensive than other foods), and of course recycling,” Schwartz said.

“Sustainability goals are different for everybody – you have to do what makes sense for you,” Schwartz added. “You might think that one person doing these things makes virtually no difference, but what I think is important is that, with each additional person that makes sustainable choices, the culture shifts a little bit. When sustainability becomes the norm, that’s when we’ll know we’ve made a difference.”

ASU has also won awards for their efforts in sustainability.

  • ASU was a Cool School in Sierra Magazine’s annual ranking of the nation’s greenest universities for the sixth consecutive year.
  • The university figured prominently in The Princeton’s Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges, released in April.
  • ASU made the “Sustainable 16” list in the Enviance 2013 Environmental March Madness Tournament.
  • ASU is one of only 51 colleges and universities nationally to receive The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) Gold rating.

Information from Sustainability Operations.

One eco-conscious program at ASU is the Zero Waste campaign, which hopes to achieve zero solid waste by 2015. To facilitate this goal there are efforts in recycling, compost, reuse and repurpose, and aversion stationed around campus.

“Arizona State University has made an institutional commitment to lead by example through the sustainable operations of its campuses. By demonstrating exemplary practices and sharing solutions, ASU stimulates changes in individual, institutional, and corporate behaviors to create a more sustainable world. ASU launched its sustainable operations plan with the signing of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. Four critical pillars focus the university’s effort: climate Neutrality, zero water/solid waste, active engagement, and principled practice,” Schwartz said.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s