ASU summer program draws students from around the world to tackle global challenges

Sustainability and Innovation Summer Experience invites participants to create solutions for the UN's Sustainable Development Goals

July 13, 2023

Arizona State University recently concluded its second annual Sustainability and Innovation Summer Experience program, bringing together a diverse group of students from ASU Cintana Alliance partner institutions around the globe.

The program aims to empower students to become catalysts for change in their own communities, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to tackle global challenges.  Group of students gather around an ASU banner at the Grand Canyon. International students from the 2023 ASU Summer Experience program visit the Grand Canyon. Photo courtesy ASU Global Launch Download Full Image

Central to the program is the collaborative development of sustainable solutions aligned with the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Leveraging their backgrounds and expertise, students formed interdisciplinary teams to address real-world challenges. They designed innovative projects tailored to specific regions and target populations, demonstrating the profound impact of localized solutions in effecting meaningful change.

Participants came from universities such as CEIPA Business School in Colombia, Universidad Latina de Costa Rica, Universidad Internacional del Ecuador, The Northcap University in India, Universitas Esa Unggul in Indonesia, Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara in Mexico, Mapúa University in the Philippines and the University of Donja Gorica in Montenegro.

Over the course of two weeks, 23 students engaged in a diverse range of activities designed to foster their personal and academic growth. They attended classes, lectures and workshops led by ASU faculty members from various departments, including the School of Sustainability, the School for the Future of Innovation in Society, Makerspace in the Hayden Library and the Thunderbird School of Global Management.

In addition, students heard from local Arizona entrepreneurs like Subash Yadav, the owner of Mr. Momo, a Napali food service, and also experienced Dreamscape Learn, immersing themselves in an interactive and educational virtual reality experience. A visit to the Grand Canyon further emphasized the significance of environmental preservation and showcased the natural beauty of Arizona.

“The overall experience is amazing. I’ve met many different people and amazing students from around the world, like Indonesia, Costa Rica and Colombia. We’ve had a lot of fun and visited very interesting places like the Papago Park, and we’ve been tasting very delicious food, hanging out and learning a lot about each other,” said participant Mia Sekulovic.

“I’m really amazed by everything that I have experienced here," said participant Katarina Scepanovic. "I have met more than 20 people from more than eight countries around the world that I would not have met otherwise. I even started learning a bit of Spanish and other languages, so I have to say that is the most important part of this summer experience that I appreciate for myself and my future career.” 

Both Sekulovic and Scepanovic are students from the University of Donja Gorica in Montenegro.

At the end of the program, students had the opportunity to showcase their projects and ideas during a pitch competition, discussing their innovative solutions with the information they learned over the two week period. To honor their achievements and mark their successful completion of the program, they received certificates recognizing their participation and dedication.

ASU faculty and staff said they were impressed by the students' motivation, enthusiasm and diligence.

"I am thrilled to witness the incredible impact of the second ASU-Cintana Sustainability and Innovation Summer Program,” said Global Launch Director Dianna Lippincott, who welcomed the students on their first day at ASU's Tempe campus.

“Students from diverse backgrounds came together feeling very unsure of what this experience would mean for them. By the last day, they had formed strong bonds of friendship with others from places they had never even heard about previously, had enjoyed a variety of experiences at ASU and had given true thought about their own future and how it is tied to the future of others around the world.

"ASU and Global Launch remain committed to fostering global collaborations and empowering students from around the world to lead the way toward a better future.”

The program was hosted by ASU Global Launch, with support from the School of SustainabilitySchool for the Future of Innovation in Society, Thunderbird School of Global Management, School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, ASU Luminosity Lab, Dreamscape Learn and the ASU Library — Makerspace.

For more information about ASU’s network of global universities, visit the ASU Global website.

Chloé Martin-Bonneville

Marketing and Communications Manager, Global Launch


Sustainable tea made from banana stems earns student entrepreneurs chance to study abroad at ASU

March 29, 2023

This spring, students from Universitas Esa Unggul in Indonesia won the first-ever ASU-Cintana Alliance International Student Competition, earning a scholarship to study abroad at Arizona State University this summer. 

Hosted by Cintana Education, Universitas Esa Unggul and the NorthCap University in New Delhi, India, the weeklong competition invited teams of university student entrepreneurs to develop a startup idea providing real-world solutions to any of the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. At the end of the week, each team presented their idea to a panel of expert judges, including Cintana Education president Rick Shangraw and Indian venture capitalists. The competition included students currently enrolled in universities partnered with Arizona State University and Cintana Education. Three students standing in front of a competition judge sitting at a table. The winning team of students from Universitas Esa Unggul present their startup idea to a panel of expert judges during the ASU-Cintana Alliance International Student Competition. Photo courtesy Global Academic Initiatives/ASU Download Full Image

Participants also attended four industry master-class sessions about entrepreneurship, gained firsthand experience at local industrial innovation hubs and explored local historical sites, including the Taj Mahal in Agra.

“It was a wonderful experience to be able to participate in the workshop and the competition,” said Muhammad Dhafi Iskandar, who mentored one of the teams. “We are eager to see what’s next for all the participants.”

The winning start-up idea went to students from Universitas Esa Unggul in Jakarta, Indonesia, who created “PePiPow,” a healthy tea beverage made from banana stems marketed to consumers in their 20s. The product aimed to reduce food waste and improve economic conditions for banana farmers.

Other participating teams came from Mapúa University in the Philippines, the NorthCap University in India and the University of Donja Gorica in Montenegro. Lorenzo Rosania from Universidad Internacional del Ecuador won the Young Achiever Award for outstanding presenter.

“It was amazing to be able to interact with students who have professional knowledge in so many different subjects,” Rosania said. “Being able to work, prepare a project and present with university students really helped me broaden my opinions and perspectives. Being able to share knowledge and experience with others from different countries was really wonderful.”

Each member of the winning team earned a scholarship to attend the second-annual ASU-Cintana Experience on campus at ASU this summer. The two-week experience, hosted by ASU Global Launch, provides a full campus immersion experience, including classes, lectures and other student experiences aimed toward finding sustainable and innovative solutions to global challenges.

“The ASU-Cintana Summer Experience helps students learn more about sustainability and innovation and develop skills that global employers have identified as critical, such as problem solving, teamwork, time management and resilience," said Dianna Lippincott, associate director of Global Launch. "Students in the summer experience will also develop their English skills, refine their business pitches and create global connections with other like-minded students. We are excited to welcome the winning student team from Universitas Esa Unggul and believe they will be an incredible asset to the program.” 

“Sustainable and innovative solutions are important not only to our planet, but also to us individually who live on this planet (and) who need more creative solutions on how to address climate change, sustainable economic issues, sustainable cultural issues and environmental issues that are pervasive across the globe,” Shangraw said. “We hope that competitions and initiatives like this continue to inspire the innovation needed to change the world for generations to come."

Samantha Talavera

Asst. Director, Global Marketing and Communications, Global Academic Initiatives