In 2006, the Arizona Board of Regents gave ASU permission to start the first School of Sustainability in the country. By January 2007, the school began to enroll graduate students and in fall 2008, the bachelor degrees opened. The response was overwhelming. Within a year, more than 500 students had declared sustainability as their major.
So what does it mean to be first and why does it matter? For one thing, it meant that ASU had to invent a brand new program with no models to draw from. That spirit of entrepreneurship and inventiveness pervades the culture of the program to this day. Since we launched the degree programs, a stream of visitors have come to SOS to see how we did it. All have walked away amazed (and envious) of ASU’s bold commitment to create a comprehensive, degree granting program in sustainability.
Because so many colleges and universities look to the school as a model, this means that we remain in a state of continuous improvement. It is not enough to be first in chronology; we continue to work to remain the very first in quality — the best sustainability program in the nation.
When you decide to join the School of Sustainability at ASU, be proud that you are part of a team that continually pushes to be the nation’s model for how to education the next generation of leaders, ready and able to tackle the most pressing sustainability challenges. On one the School of Sustainability t-shirts, it reads, “The first, so that the world lasts.” Make the School of Sustainability your first choice, so that the world–and your dreams–last.