ASU students go behind the scenes at Waste Management Phoenix Open

Special events students find out what it takes to serve tournament’s expected crowd of 750,000

February 4, 2022

The Waste Management Phoenix Open is the largest attended golf tournament in the world.

Students in ASU’s special event management program were treated to a behind-the-scenes tour of the TPC Scottsdale golf complex just days before it opened its gates to an expected crowd of more than 750,000.  Events management, students, 18th green, Phoenix Open, Waste Management, 2022 ASU events management students gather at the 18th green at the TPC Scottsdale to hear about preparations for the 2022 Waste Management Phoenix Open. Photo courtesy of Erin Schneiderman Download Full Image

More than 60 students attended the tour alongside Erin Schneiderman, a clinical assistant professor in the School of Community Resources and Development.

“There are so many event components that work in harmony to ensure a successful week,” Schneiderman said. “It is important for our students to fully understand the strategy, teamwork and timing needed to pull it off.”

The tour, led by officials from Pro Em National Event Services and M Culinary Concepts, focused on the operation of the tournament. This included the setup, security components and how the catering company manages to serve nearly 225,000 attendees in the tournament's hospitality suites. 

First, Brady Castro, principal of Pro Em, showed students the main entrance process.

“I have been doing this a long time, and it’s nice to see our visions come to life,” he said on the tour. 

After discussing how elements of the event were built, the integrity of the structures, timing and security considerations at the 1937 Club, it was time to switch gears.

At the E18hteen Hospitality Suites, students learned about menu planning, staffing, alcohol management and food waste recovery. 

Doug Janison, managing partner at M Culinary Concepts, has been serving the tournament for 23 years. 

“The special event industry is not a job, it’s a lifestyle,” he said. “I don’t feel like I’m ever actually working because I love what I do.” 

Seven on-site kitchens are ready to produce enough food to satisfy the appetites of more than 200,000 people. The food is prepared, properly stored and transported throughout the course for guests to enjoy in the hospitality clubs and suites.

After the tour, students said they had a better understanding of what really goes into planning a massive golf tournament. 

ASU events management students pose for a group photo at the TPC Scottsdale, site of the 2022 Waste Management Phoenix Open.

ASU events management students pose for a group photo at the TPC Scottsdale, site of the 2022 Waste Management Phoenix Open. Photo courtesy of Erin Schneiderman

“I was really surprised at the amount of time that it takes to set up and take down the event,” said Grace Doolittle, a junior studying tourism development and management. 

Pro Em started building the site four months in advance, and the cleanup will take another two months. 

Students also found out how they can get involved with the Phoenix Open, which event organizers call the “Greatest Show on Grass,” after the tour.

Schneiderman called the TPC Scottsdale her “classroom for the day.” Being able to learn in the field is not new for ASU special event students. They’ve previously toured Chase Field before an Arizona Diamondbacks game, and in March, they will be learning what goes on behind the scenes of the McDowell Music Festival.

Learn more about the special events management certificate and minor on the School of Community Resources and Development's website.

Story by Amber Victoria Singer, student journalist for the School of Community Resources and Development

Energy justice scholar joins College of Global Futures as Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow

Dominic Bednar is researching ways to address household energy inequities

February 4, 2022

Having the air conditioning running on a hot summer day can be a necessity to survive the heat. But keeping your home cool comes at a high cost.

For many, paying the energy bill can be a burden. People who have lower incomes and live in older, less energy-efficient homes often have the highest bills. Portrait of ASU Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow Dominic Bednar. Dominic Bednar Download Full Image

For energy justice scholar Dominic Bednar, the problem of energy poverty is something he's working to solve. In fall 2021, he brought his work to Arizona State University's College of Global Futures as a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow.  

"Energy justice helps us understand how benefits and burdens are distributed across income and race," said Bednar, who joined the School for the Future of Innovation in Society and the School of Sustainability. "How do we move toward a just energy transition that centers equity and justice? Here in the U.S., we don't have any formal recognition that energy poverty is a distinct issue. Without first defining the problem, you can't effectively solve it. It also misguides how we measure the issue, and consequently misinforms how we evaluate deployed responses or solutions to the problem. We need to think deeply and critically about what energy poverty is and how it manifests in multiple different forms."

One of the principal areas Bednar is exploring is how residential energy efficiency can mitigate energy poverty, including home repairs that would save energy and lower energy bills. It's an interest that stems from his background in carpentry and engineering. After graduating with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering, Bednar narrowed his focus to sustainability and energy justice. While earning his PhD in environment and sustainability from the University of Michigan, he published a research paper on the challenges of energy justice and the effectiveness of federal energy assistance programs.

"Climates are different; governments are different, so not everyone is particularly on the same page," Bednar said. "I think there's a lot of confusion and misinformation that really stifles and stymies what our progress looks like. Another challenge is how we engage with people in a deeply authentic way that seeks to build long-term partnerships. What's the role of communities in this process of thinking about what our energy future looks like?"

Bednar is now preparing for his upcoming journey to Chile, where he will study energy poverty and efficiency as part of his Fulbright Scholar Award. His research will include the assessment of household energy needs and disparities using a community-based lens.

"I’m particularly interested in learning about Chileans' approaches to mitigating energy poverty institutionally and at the community level. Moreover, I’m excited to learn and watch how they develop a new constitution. I’m hoping to better understand and learn more about their energy needs and interests."

Bednar says the support he received in his first semester at the College of Global Futures has helped him pursue his research to find solutions to energy poverty.

"Everyone has the capacity to be disconnected from their energy, but what are the factors that make some people more vulnerable to energy poverty?" he said. "What makes some people more likely to fall behind on their utility bills or experience a utility shut-off? What ways can we move forward to anticipate those types of disconnections and move toward a future where energy is actually a human right for all?"

Ashley Richards

Communications Specialist , School for the Future of Innovation in Society