Whatever mode of transport you take to campus your first day, you will not help but notice that ASU is a campus that takes sustainability very seriously. One example in plain view is the large number of photovoltaic solar panels. One of the New American University principles is to Leverage Our Place. We don’t call this the “Valley of the Sun” without reason. In a typical year, we receive nearly 4000 hours of sun, the most of any large city in the United States. That is a huge, free energy source and ASU has put in place enough solar panels to capture 25 megawatts, the most by far of any university on the country. It is enough to meet 43 percent of the university’s peak time needs. This example is more than a symbol — it is a very real commitment to making a difference in meeting global (and local) sustainability challenges. ASU is the national leader in campus sustainability.
President Crow was the original co-chair and leader of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, which seeks to reduce or eliminate harmful greenhouse gas emissions from university and college operations. ASU has a very bold commitment to become carbon neutral by 2025, to divert 90 percent of solid waste from landfills by 2015, and to integrate sustainability practices into all operations of the university. ASU has 6 full-time staff in its Office of University Sustainability Practices.
New sustainability projects crop up on campus every year, and students are often leading the charge. In the School of Sustainability, we use the campus as a “living laboratory” for how to learn about sustainability, and how to create and implement solutions. Many of our classes ask students to develop sustainability solutions and apply them to what is already a very sustainability campus — a welcome challenge! Students, as well as staff and faculty, can apply to a Sustainability Initiatives Revolving Fund (SIRF) that provides funds to foster and enable sustainable practices on campus. This past year, students in the School of Sustainability successfully won grant funds to build raised gardens in their residential community.
Walking the talk, learning by doing, and turning principles into practice are integral to the sustainability philosophy of ASU and especially the School of Sustainability. When you come to ASU and join our school you will be immersed in a learning and doing environment that lives and breathes sustainability, skills and ideas you will take with you no matter where you go. Start your journey now by joining the nation’s preeminent sustainability program. You will be glad you did. Tune in next week to see one more reason why.