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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

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

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. 

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.

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