ASU report: City of Phoenix reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 7.2 percent

December 3, 2013

The City of Phoenix is proving that it’s serious about going green, according to a recent greenhouse gas emissions report compiled by Arizona State University.

In 2008 the city council adopted a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from city operations to five percent below the 2005 levels by 2015. The city met and exceeded that objective within four years. Phoenix mayor Greg Stanton announces 2012 Greenhouse Gas report Download Full Image

The latest report was compiled by Arizona State University’s Sustainability Solution Services, a program within the Global Institute of Sustainability’s Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives, and states that in 2012, the city achieved a 7.2 percent decrease in greenhouse gas emissions by emitting 629,504 metric tons of carbon dioxide and carbon dioxide equivalents. When compared to the 2005 total emission of 678,150 metric tons, Phoenix is not only ahead of schedule in reaching its goal, but has gone 2.2 percent beyond its commitment.

“This is great for Phoenix, and I’m very excited to see that we may be able to double or even triple the reduction of our greenhouse gas emissions by 2015,” said Mayor Greg Stanton. “We are making Phoenix a cleaner and healthier place to live and work.”

With support and guidance from the mayor and city council members, the city was able to reduce greenhouse emissions through the use of sustainable infrastructures and programs, including advanced methane capture systems at city-owned landfills; biodiesel and ethanol alternative fuels; energy-efficient streetlights, traffic signals, water and wastewater upgrades; energy efficiency measures in more than 45 city buildings; and various city solar power projects.

“The fact that we have exceeded this aggressive goal years ahead of schedule is a testament to the city’s commitment to transforming Phoenix into one of the most sustainable cities in the nation,” said Vice Mayor Bill Gates, chairman of the Finance, Efficiency, and Economy Subcommittee. “This is just one piece of our overall sustainability plan, and I look forward to continuing our track record for success.”

ASU helped assess and verify the results of the greenhouse gas emissions report by comparing the city’s emissions in 2005 and 2012, and evaluating the progress made toward the Climate Action Plan. Huge improvements and changes were made by Phoenix since 2005, particularly in fleet services, where more than 50 percent of city vehicles, including trucks, are now operating on alternative/clean fuel, and through various solar projects.

“By already reaching its 2015 target for emissions reduction, the City of Phoenix has demonstrated its commitment to sustainability practices and reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Rajesh Buch, practice lead for the Sustainability Solutions Services at ASU. “Continuing these practices and adopting the recommended actions should not only double emissions reductions by 2015, but also create a more resilient metropolitan region.”

The findings of the 2012 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions Report was released by the mayor, Dec. 3, at the third annual Go Green Conference hosted by the city of Phoenix and ASU’s Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives.

Jason Franz

Assistant Director, Strategic Marketing and Communications, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory


Student forms ASU alumni club for nonprofit professionals

December 3, 2013

Colleen Dunbar believes in helping people make connections. A student in the master of arts in communication studies (MACS) program offered by ASU’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, Dunbar used her applied project as an opportunity to create a new club within the ASU Alumni Association for graduates working in the nonprofit sector who are interested in networking and philanthropic activities.

The ASU Nonprofit Professionals Alumni Club brings together Sun Devils from all degree programs and academic disciplines who have an interest in the nonprofit sector. The organization aims to strengthen the nonprofit sector on behalf of ASU and all Sun Devils by discussing collaborative opportunities, exchanging information about new resources and programs, advising one another on issues and challenges, and working hands-on with community issues. Nonprofit Professionals Alumni Club members Download Full Image

“It has been a really great learning experience starting this club, managing the board and being in charge of all the internal and external communications,” said Dunbar, whose goal is to pursue a career path in public relations in the nonprofit sector.

In the spring semester, she conducted background research on alumni groups, membership retention, communication campaigns and the nonprofit sector, while also completing primary research to determine the level of interest in this club with current alumni.

“I received a very positive response to both my research of potential members, as well as my proposal for the focus of the club,” Dunbar said.

She successfully completed the application process with the Alumni Association’s Board of Directors, and in May, the club was officially established. It held its first official event in September.

Activities include monthly events that vary from networking mixers to community service projects. “We volunteered as a group for the Y Race in October,” Dunbar said. “We also elected our club’s board of directors in June. I was voted to be president, and another MACS alum, Melissa Lopez, was elected vice president.”

“During her MACS program studies, Colleen has demonstrated a strong interest in organizations that represent the interests of professionals,” said Vince Waldron, a communication professor in New College’s School of Social and Behavioral Sciences on ASU’s West campus, who served as Dunbar’s faculty advisor for her project. “Her part-time position with the ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Innovation convinced her that nonprofit professionals needed a way to connect and have their voices heard.”

Waldron said Dunbar’s work with the Alumni Association became a classic win-win situation. “ASU benefits because many of the members of this new club are Sun Devils who graduated in recent years,” he said. “They play a vibrant role in the community and can bring energy and wisdom to ASU and our students. Colleen benefited from the Alumni Association’s experience in creating and sustaining organizations.”

Waldron noted that Dunbar’s project allowed her to apply many of the competencies she developed in the MACS program, including survey design and analysis, optimization of social media, relationship management and the creation of persuasive presentations. “A particular focus of Colleen’s project was the role of social media in growing and sustaining a group that bridges university and professional communities,” he said.

Dunbar has a track record of community service beyond her studies at ASU. She is an active volunteer for HopeKids Arizona, a nonprofit that offers weekly events and activities for children fighting life threatening illnesses and their families, as well as Sparked, an online micro-volunteering site where nonprofits describe current projects they need help with and volunteers use their skills to assist. She also donates time to organizations in her hometown of Vancouver, Canada.

The fact that she is an international student made Dunbar eligible for the Priscilla Richards Outstanding International Graduate Student award, presented by the International Students and Scholars Office for outstanding academic achievement and community/university involvement. Dunbar was recently notified that she was selected for the honor.

Dunbar said she is gratified to receive this recognition as she prepares for graduation this month and a transition from an academic career to a professional one. She said her applied project played an important role in readying her for that transition.

“Working with the Alumni Association not only provided me with real-world experience in my desired field, with a tangible outcome and portfolio of work, but it also helped me work towards my personal mission of making a difference in the nonprofit sector,” she said.

That’s exactly the point of having MACS students complete applied projects, said Lindsey Meân, faculty director for the master’s degree.

“Since the emphasis of the MACS program is communication and advocacy, the applied projects give students the opportunity to apply what they’ve learned, putting concepts and theory into practice in ways that actively engage within communities or organizations,” Meân said. “It’s a chance for them to become embedded with the groups, causes and issues that they feel drawn toward. For some, it is a way to give back to their communities or to engage with their passion.”