ASU honors first-ever graduate in sustainability
ASU awarded the first-ever master’s degree in sustainability at its fall commencement ceremonies Dec. 18.
The new graduate, Brigitte Bavousett, received her diploma from the university’s pioneering School of Sustainability, the first degree-granting institution of its kind in the nation.
“This is a special moment for our school and for the university,” says Charles Redman, director of the School of Sustainability. “We are very excited to see Brigitte graduate, and we look forward to her leading a long procession of graduates who become agents of change in our community and around the world.”
Bavousett ranks as somewhat of a pioneer herself in this budding field. She was among the first to enroll in the School of Sustainability after it was formally established last fall by the Arizona Board of Regents.
“I am honored to be making history as the first sustainability graduate,” she says. “It seems only a few weeks ago that I began this fantastic journey with my classmates and professors. I love the variety of the curriculum, the fantastic faculty and the interdisciplinary projects.”
Bavousett’s degree goes far beyond traditional environmental studies. The school’s curriculum draws on a variety of academic disciplines that can be applied to the world’s economic, societal and environmental challenges, preparing graduates to understand complex problems and find real solutions.
“Sustainability has captured ASU by storm, and we expect its graduates to transform our country,” Redman says.
During her time at the school, Bavousett has been involved in a variety of research projects with businesses and other organizations. One project involved U-Haul International, where she researched forestation processes and nonprofit partnership options to help the company create a plan to reduce its carbon footprint through carbon sequestration. U-Haul has extended Bavousett’s internship indefinitely as it begins implementation of the plan.
“Brigitte has provided the personal interest, enthusiasm and the most cutting-edge knowledge needed to further enhance our sustainability projects here at U-Haul,” says Michelle Sullivan of U-Haul International’s Phoenix corporate offices. “She has been a tremendous asset to our department.”
Bavousett, a working mother, says she has long had an interest in sustainability. She adds that she was involved in fostering societal sustainability before she even knew what it was. Previously, as the founding director of an international cultural exchange program, she toured former Soviet countries and the United States for six years, exposing performers and audiences to new customs and traditions while bringing theater to sometimes culturally starved audiences.
Bavousett says she feels prepared and confident as she set out on the path to finding a job after graduating.
“I may have to be creative in this economy,” she says. “But I feel comfortable with the foundation of skill sets and cutting-edge technologies the school has given me.”