Skip to main content

ASU launches academy to educate young students about sustainability

people haveing a discussion at a table
February 26, 2015

Today’s students will become tomorrow’s leaders, and educating them about sustainability is increasingly important in light of the complex social, economic and environmental issues the world faces.

Arizona State University’s new National Sustainability Teachers’ Academy aims to bring teams of elementary, middle and high school teachers from across the nation together to establish an educational task force for sustainability.

As a program of ASU’s Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives, the teachers’ academy will focus on solutions-based curriculum with an emphasis on urban systems. ASU sustainability scientists and scholars will help coach and lead hands-on sessions on solutions surrounding food, water, energy and climate.

“Teachers are ideally positioned as role models for future generations and have the capacity to reach a younger population that can be inspired to think creatively about solutions,” said Monica Elser, senior sustainability scientist and education manager in ASU’s Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability. “By combining online learning with in-person participation, we’re preparing our educators with the knowledge and practical skills to foster change agents.”

The 2015 cohort of the teachers’ academy will be composed of teams of two middle school teachers from school districts across the nation selected to participate in a one-week professional development workshop at ASU’s Tempe campus. The workshop will be infused with research and strategies from ASU’s School of Sustainability, the nation’s leader in sustainability education. After the workshops, teachers will return to their school districts to lead workshops of their own, sharing what they’ve learned with their peers. Customized online curriculum and tools will continue to be available to teachers year-round.

“Sustainability touches so many core aspects of our everyday lives,” said Patricia Reiter, executive director of the Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives. “By creating experiential learning opportunities that integrate science, technology, engineering and math with concepts of sustainability, our educators can not only teach better, but inspire future generations.”

The academy is currently accepting applications for the first workshop taking place June 22-26.

Media contact:

Jason Franz,