ASU launches world’s first School of Sustainability

October 4, 2006

Fourteen years after the United Nation’s Earth Summit brought together 172 governments to focus world attention on global environmental issues such as the greenhouse effect, the growing scarcity of water and the need for alternative sources of energy, the world’s first School of Sustainability has been established at ASU.

The university, located in Arizona’s Sonoran Desert, one of the most complex natural environments in the world, is mounting an unprecedented comprehensive sustainability effort aimed at finding solutions to the most pressing sustainability issues the planet faces. This university program, with the newly established School of Sustainability at its core, encompasses such diverse fields as science, technology, public policy, economics, education and urban planning. Researchers believe that all of these fields, and others, can contribute to guiding humanity from its present course of environmental destruction. Download Full Image

ASU’s School of Sustainability, which begins enrolling students in January, will offer bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in sustainability. Within five years, the school expects to have 450 undergraduate students and 50 students each in its master’s and doctoral degree programs. This innovative curriculum builds upon an existing base at ASU that includes 300 courses, 80 degree programs and 170 research projects that involve sustainability.

This moment marks a milestone in the evolution of ASU’s sustainability initiative referred to as the Global Institute of Sustainability, initiated just two years ago with help from a $15 million planning investment from philanthropist Julie A. Wrigley.

Among the areas ASU research teams are investigating:

• Water use, conservation, and banking.

• Sustainable construction techniques and sustainable materials.

• Rapid urbanization including housing growth and planned communities.

• Transportation and alternative fuels.

• Greenhouse effect and urban heat islands.

• Environmental health issues, including ozone pollution and “brown clouds.”

• Economics and politics of ecology – how new technologies move (or fail to move) into the market, how consumers and political leaders make decisions that affect sustainability.

According to United Nations statistics, about 3.2 billion people live in urban areas. That number will increase to 3.8 billion by 2015, and to 4.9 billion by 2030. This unprecedented urbanization and its associated environmental problems will take place in industrialized and underdeveloped countries and regions. ASU’s leaders say that many of the environmental challenges that Phoenix faces today are ones that other cities in America and the rest of the world will confront in the next decade.

“Phoenix has doubled its population in the last 20 years to become the fifth-largest city in the United States. Our population – and our urban infrastructure – will double again in the next 20 years,” says ASU President Michael M. Crow. “Because this is the region doing so much building, we are the ones who have to figure out how to do it properly, and ASU has committed itself to being at the forefront of that effort.”

If metropolitan Phoenix fails environmentally in the next few decades, it may be only the first casualty. But if metropolitan Phoenix can grow in an environmentally sustainable way, it will provide valuable lessons for other areas going through both expanding urbanization and urban renewal.

Gary Campbell

Media Relations and Marketing Manager , Fulton Schools of Engineering


Commune with Culture

October 5, 2006

TEMPE, Ariz. – This fall, the arts and cultures of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands region can be explored through ASU’s Performance in the Borderlands Project events – everything from Gaytino!, a riveting autobiographical play to Movimientos!, a children’s reading and movement program. The events, workshops, lectures and discussions with artists, critics and scholars run Oct. 30-Dec. 19, and are presented by the ASU Herberger College of Fine Arts School of Theatre and Film. Several events are part of Smithsonian magazine’sCulturefest.

“This season brings one of the most significant recent Latino performance projects to our stages as Danny Guerrero presents his critically acclaimed Gaytino! in a one night Phoenix premier event,” says Ramon Rivera-Servera, assistant professor of Theatre in the Herberger College of Fine Arts and Southwest Borderlands scholar. Dan Guerrero Photo Credit: Zeke Ruelas Download Full Image

In addition to the special November performance by Guerrero, the Performance in the Borderlands Project also partners with Smithsonian magazine for its Culturefest celebration, Nov. 2-5.

“These special events held throughout the greater Phoenix area, offer cultural and artistic programming that showcases the wealth of the imagination across the U.S.-Mexico border,” Rivera-Servera says. 

Everyone interested in exploring topics related to the performing arts can come together at Performance in the Borderlands Project events to better enrich their knowledge about the people who live in and define the borderlands region. 

“The Performance in the Borderlands Project continues to strike a balance between engaging the many performance traditions of the American Southwest and charting the future of our culture through provocative and passionate exploration of the past, present and future of the arts in our region,” Rivera-Servera says.   

The Performance in the Borderlands Project is a research, education and public programming initiative dedicated to the understanding and promotion of cultural performance along the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands. In working to understand the diversity of cultures and artistic traditions in the region, this initiative examines a broad range of performance techniques including theatre, dance, musical practice, ritual, celebrations, and social and folkloric dance.

For more information on the series, contact assistant professor of Theatre, Ramon Rivera-Servera, (480) 965-0157.

Following is the fall 2006 Performance in the Borderlands Project calendar of events.  All events are free unless otherwise noted.

Lunchtime Lecture Series
This series of lectures focuses on various topics in relation to Performance in the Borderlands. Patrons are welcome to bring a lunch during the various lectures.

  • Oct. 30, noon-1:30 p.m.
    The Black Body Stands, Still: Stillness within J.T. Zealy's Daguerreotypes 
    ASU Memorial Union, MU 215 
    ASU Tempe Campus
    A public lecture by Dr. Harvey Young from Northwestern University re-thinking the Black Diaspora in terms of stillness and immobility through a close analysis of J.T. Zealy's 1850 photographs.

  • Nov. 7, noon-1:30 p.m.
    Contemporary Children’s Theatre in Mexico

    ASU Fine Arts Building B029, ASU Tempe Campus
    A survey of contemporary theatre for youth practices in Mexico by Marco Novelo from Teatro Imaginarte in Mexico City.

  • Nov. 14, noon-1:30 p.m.
    Performing Mestizaje, The Native Body and the Borderlands 
    ASU Memorial Union, Room 219, ASU Tempe Campus
    Dr. Alicia Arrizon from the University of California at Riverside presents a provocative lecture on the traditions of representation of native bodies in the racial mythologies of Performance in the Borderlands.

Smithsonian Culturefest
Throughout Phoenix and Scottsdale
Performance in the Borderlands has various events in conjunction with Culturefest 2006, which runs Nov. 2-5. Smithsonian Culturefest pairs the Smithsonian Institution’s most interesting experts with local standouts to highlight the true cultural treasures of Arizona. For more information on Culturefest, visit or call (800) 774-5020.

  • Nov. 2, 10:30 a.m.-noon
    Movimientos! Dancing Into Reading

    Burton Barr Central Library, Children's Story Room, 1221 North Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85504
    Movimientos! is a reading and movement program for children ages 4-8 featuring Herberger College of Fine Arts faculty Ramon Rivera-Servera and Joel Valentin-Martinez. The project combines a public reading program of an illustrated book (selected in conversation with the booking library or venue), which relates to the natural and cultural wealth and diversity of the Southwest Borderlands region of the United States with an engaging creative movement activity to develop a fun and engaging 90 minutes of educational entertainment.

  • Nov. 3, noon -1 p.m.
    Craftsman’s Theatre: Tourism, Craft Markets and Indigenous Cultures in Oaxaca, Mexico

    ASU Art Museum
    This lecture looks at the contemporary indigenous crafts industry in Oaxaca in relation to international tourism. The presentation is arranged as a tour through the homes and studios of some of the most interesting and important Oaxacan artists working today.

  • Nov. 3, 8 – 9 p.m. 
    Contemporary Imaginings of the U.S.-Mexico Border

    Bentley Projects, 215 East Grant Street, Phoenix, AZ 85004
    This lecture looks at contemporary renditions of the U.S.-Mexico border region by an international roster of artists. Looking through the visual repertoire of these artists, Ramon H. Rivera-Servera proposes the arts as a significant venue for imagining the futures of U.S.-Mexico relations and to allow for the more complex philosophical engagement with the question of national boundaries in a region so historically porous and interrelated.

  • Nov. 4, 2 – 3 p.m. 
    Contemporary Imaginings of the Borderlands

    Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) at Scottsdale Center for the Arts, 7380 East Second Street, Stage 2 Theater, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
    This lecture looks at contemporary renditions of the U.S.-Mexico border region by an international roster of artists. This journey carries the audience through the imagination of some of the most creative and thought-provoking artists working in Mexico and the United States today. Also at SMoCA you will be able to see the exhibit, “The Border Film Project:  El proyecto fronterizo,” which evolved from a series of collaborations that focus on life on the Arizona/Mexican border.

Nov. 4, 7:30 p.m.

ASU Galvin Playhouse, ASU Tempe Campus
Tickets: $7 
Mariachi to Merman. Sondheim to Cesar Chavez.  Show tunes and canciones en Español. A remarkable life journey from East L.A. in the 50s, to New York’s Great White Way in the 60s and 70s and back to Hollywood, moving from the back of the bus to the front of American pop culture. A father/son relationship and a treasured boyhood friendship drive this 75-minute autobiographical play through decades of Chicano history and the gay experience from a unique and personal perspective. Touching, hilarious and absolutely one-of-a-kind, Dan Guerrero finally brings his two fascinating worlds together in a riveting solo show.

Dec. 19, 7 p.m.
The Phoenix Pastorela

ASU Galvin Playhouse, ASU Tempe Campus
Tickets: $25, call 602-242-4481
The Mexican Consulate General in Phoenix and the Performance in the Borderlands Project invite you to the third annual performance of the Phoenix Pastorela by Borderland’s Theatre. A funny and playful interpretation of the Mexican Shepherd’s play imbued with the end-of year review of life in Arizona.

The Performance in the Borderlands Project is sponsored by the Herberger College of Fine Arts and its School of Theatre and Film, the Office of the President, the City of Tempe, and the Mexican Consulate General in Phoenix. 

Arte Es Amor is a joint program of ASU and Tempe’s Mill Avenue District partners, including the City of Tempe, the Tempe Convention & Visitors Bureau and Downtown Tempe Community, Inc.  It is sponsored by Southwest Airlines.

The Herberger College School of Theatre and Film provides a comprehensive range of courses in performance and directing; design and production; new work development; theatre and performance studies; film; and theatre for youth. Its Theatre for Youth program is nationally ranked in the top three and the creative writing/playwriting program is ranked 15th among public institutions by ?U.S.News & World Report.? Learn more about the School of Theatre and Film at: