Walking the sustainability talk

May 1, 2012

For their work to reduce water bottle consumption on the Tempe campus, students Eric Beeler and Natasha Yenina received this year’s Pitchfork Award for Outstanding Sustainable Project.

Beeler is a sustainability student and Executive Director of Campus Student Sustainability Initiatives. Yenina studies political science and Russian and is the Campus Affairs Coordinator for the Undergraduate Student Government. Eric Beeler holds his Pitchfork Award trophy Download Full Image

The two had been separately working on bringing water bottle refill stations to campus – in residence halls, the Memorial Union, the Student Recreation Complex, and potentially libraries. In the fall of 2011, they decided to pool their resources and research capacity and focused on getting water bottle refill stations into the Memorial Union.

If you haven’t noticed refill stations in the Memorial Union, it’s because they’re awaiting funding approval. The pair’s award-winning proposal has been approved by the Office of University Sustainability Practices; they hope to fund the project through the Sustainability Initiatives Revolving Fund.

Relating education to practices

As is the case for many ASU students, a scholarship originally led Beeler to attend ASU. After spending some time as a finance major, Beeler switched his major to sustainability. His family had been sending him articles about the growing field of sustainability, and he took an interest in it.

He says he found his niche working on campus sustainability initiatives. In his work for ASU Housing, he was involved with the School of Sustainability Residential Community last year and continues to serve as a mentor to some of those students.

Beeler said something that sets ASU and the School of Sustainability apart from other institutions is the amount of practical experience students benefit from.

“I wouldn’t have gotten as much support and acknowledgement at another institution. Everyone on this project can say it’s been a learning process,” he said. “It’s rewarding that that desire and academic pursuit has been nourished at SOS and by the academic professionals.”

Beeler is also a member of Alpha Chapter of the Honor Society for Sustainability Society at ASU.

His advice to future students is to get involved on campus early. “If they see something that they don’t think is right on campus – like, why are the lights always on at night? – really question those things. Work with facilities management and Dr. [Nick] Brown’s office. They can work through their problems and submit proposals, and then that’s a real-world project.”

Beeler recognizes that the definition of sustainability is evolving. “It’s finding that healthy balance, looking at costs and benefits and trying to have social equity, economic balance, and environmental health. Not just for now, but also for future generations.”

In May, Beeler will graduate with a degree in sustainability, a minor in urban planning and sociology, and a certificate in public administration and public management.

In the fall, he will be a graduate assistant at the University of Kansas as he works toward a master’s degree in higher education. Ultimately, he wants to incorporate his passions for sustainability and higher education into his career.

Written by Kathleen Gormley

Media contact:
Carol Hughes, carol.hughes@asu.edu

Michelle Schwartz

Senior Program Manager, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory


Coach Graham to appear at Talking Rock Ranch

May 1, 2012

Todd Graham, first-year head football coach at Arizona State University, will appear in Prescott, Ariz. at Talking Rock Ranch, noon, May 7. The lunch and program, "Talking Victory," is presented by the ASU Sun Devil Club and the ASU Foundation President's Community Enrichment Programs.

Graham, who was named the head football coach of ASU in December, has vowed to be a visible and accessible force in the Arizona sports scene since his arrival in Tempe. From national, regional and local radio shows and television appearances tocampus tours and community events, he has placed a high priority on transparency and building greater exposure for the Sun Devil football program. Download Full Image

"I'm excited to get up to Prescott, meet some of our fans, make some new ones and share my enthusiasm for what I believe will be an outstanding season of Sun Devil football," said Graham, who is 49-29 in his six-year head coaching career and most recently was head coach at Pittsburgh in 2011. He is well-known for his four-year stay at Tulsa from 2007-10 when he led the Golden Hurricane to a 36-17 mark, which included three bowl wins and three seasons of 10-plus wins. The Golden Hurricane was one of just 11 schools to post back-to-back 10-win seasons in2007 and 2008.

"I am impressed with the spirit I have seen by our student-athletes this spring, and the team we field will have high character and discipline," Graham added. "The players recognize that how you do the little things will ultimately determine how big things happen.

"I'm looking forward to a very competitive season and to sharing my thoughts with our fans in Prescott."

A native of Mesquite, Texas, Graham had seasons at Tulsa which included records of 10-4 (2007), 11-3 (2008) and 10-3 (2010). In his final season the Golden Hurricane won games at Notre Dame and then topped No. 24 Hawaii 62-35 in its own bowl game. The Notre Dame win was dubbed the biggest upset of the 2010 college football season by ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit.

Tickets to "Speaking Victory" are $25 each. Because seating at Talking Rock is limited, registration begins at 11:30 a.m., and those who wish to attend should register early bycalling Sally Moore at 480-540-1462. The lunch and program with Coach Graham begins at noon.

About The Sun Devil Club: The Sun Devil Club is a 501(c)3charitable organization whose mission is to sustain a culture that promotes and protects Arizona State University through Sun Devil Athletics. The Sun Devil Club annually provides Sun Devil Athletics with financial assistance for operating expenses, scholarships, academic support, facility maintenance and more. Contributions to the Sun Devil Club are up to 80% tax-deductible.

About President's Club Community Enrichment Programs: President's Community Enrichment Programs (PCEP) are premier community outreach events that connect metropolitan Phoenix and other Arizona communities to ASU's visionary scholars and ideas through multi-week courses, single lectures and custom campus tours. PCEP showcases how ASU is creatingsolutions to the major challenges of our time and is a unique gateway to greater involvement with the university. What began as a grassroots engagement effort in 1998 has flourished into a successful program that connects more than 1,000 community members each year with the momentum and intellectual power of a New American University.

Information contact:
Sally Moore, sally.moore@asu.edu
Director PCEP