Tonight I will be attending–at the kind invitation of our students–the Honor Society for Sustainability banquet. This is a great chance to celebrate accomplishments, including graduation, as well as induct new members into the society. Similar to many other sustainability efforts, ASU was the first to create a national honor society specifically for sustainability.
I am pleased The Honor Society for Sustainability is open to students at ASU in other sustainability programs besides our majors. In my book, sustainability is something to be shared, not hoarded. In the next year, my hope is that chapters will open at other universities around the country. To really make a difference in addressing sustainability challenges requires concerted collaboration and network building.
I like the words “honor” and “sustainability” sharing the same space. Honor, as we know, can be a noun or a verb. As a noun, it is often used to describe something or someone held in high esteem. Sustainability deserves our highest esteem for the magnitude of challenges it takes on alongside the sense that we can create a better future. As a verb, honor can denote an action of holding something or someone in high esteem, like a great piece of art or a loved relative. To honor can also mean to fulfill an obligation or keep a promise.
For the students graduating from ASU this year and to the new inductees, I would like them to think of the Honor Society for Sustainability in both meanings of the word honor. We have events like banquets to hold you in high esteem as excellent students. But you should also think of honoring the society and honoring the promises and obligations you must keep to ensure that its mission, and the mission of sustainability, remain with you no matter where you go.