ASU plans series of events and activities in observance of Campus Sustainability Month
Arizona State University first-year student Briana Wells has always been mindful of the universe around her and the carbon footprint she leaves behind.
She recycles cans, bottles, paper and old books, and she repurposes items for other uses in her daily life. But this year she wanted to step up her commitment.
That’s why she spent a few hours on a recent Monday toiling in the sun — planting bok choy, cilantro and jalapeños — along with a handful of other ASU students and staff in The Garden Commons on Arizona State University's Polytechnic campus.
“I’ve always liked plants, and I want to do my part for the environment,” said Wells, a robotics major in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. “Even though it’s not much, I still want to contribute. ASU has a large audience, and getting out the message of sustainability is something I really like about the university.”
Held every October, Campus Sustainability Month was started by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) and is an international celebration that encourages seeking innovative ways to make a positive impact on the world.
“Campus Sustainability Month is a chance for ASU to highlight our leadership and commitment to sustainability within our campus and the community,” said Susan Norton, program manager for University Sustainability Practices. “It is also a way to educate and engage the campus community about our numerous sustainability programs that speak to actionable steps one can take to help ASU advance our sustainability goals.”
All throughout the month of October, ASU has organized activities, events and experiences on different campuses to engage and inspire incoming students and other campus stakeholders to become sustainability change agents. They include sustainability tours and displays, recycling audits, produce giveaways, service projects and much more.
In addition to the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory — launched with the goal of keeping our planet habitable and home to the first ever school dedicated to sustainability — ASU is a global leader in this field.
And it’s not just talk — the proof is in the pudding.
Last month ASU ranked No. 1 on Sierra magazine’s annual “coolest schools” ranking of the most environmentally friendly colleges and universities in North America.
This marks the first time the university attained this honor out of a record 328 institutions, rising from No. 4 previously, thanks to its comprehensive approach to sustainability that spans academia, campus operations, student life and endowment investments. This is the seventh year ASU has scored in the top 10 of the Sierra Club’s national publication.
ASU is also one of the few institutions in the world that carries a platinum rating by AASHE, which provides a sustainability tracking assessment for colleges and universities.
In 2020, the university surpassed its lofty ambition to achieve climate neutrality by 2025 — six years ahead of its original goal.
There's also how ASU constructs sustainable building projects, shades its campuses and "LEEDs" the charge when it comes to demonstrating sustainability.
The university now has 65 LEED-certified building projects and 90 solar installations on all four campuses in the metro Phoenix area. The installations tally approximately 90,000 solar panels, shaded parking spots and stadium seats.