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Grist.org, ASU team up to provide newsletter


September 08, 2008

In the first collaboration of its kind, ASU and Grist.org, the country’s leading source of online environmental news and information, have announced an agreement to send all of ASU’s 60,000-plus students and many faculty and staff a biweekly e-mail with news, commentary and advice about sustainability issues.

The e-mail newsletter, which launches Sept. 10, includes timely reporting on national environmental and sustainability news, as well as localized coverage of issues affecting the university, the greater Phoenix community, the state of Arizona and the Southwest. The agreement marks the first time a major public university has committed to regularly sharing environmental news with its students.

“Sustainability is a concept with as much transformative potential as justice, liberty and equality, and ASU intends to foster it in our academic institutions and broadly across business, industry and government,” says ASU President Michael Crow. “By teaming up with the environmental news experts at Grist, ASU will provide a steady flow of ideas and information that bring sustainability issues into practical focus for all members of our campus community.”

“Grist is thrilled to join forces with ASU in shaping how today’s students, and tomorrow’s leaders, think about issues of sustainability and their connections to everyday life,” adds Chip Giller, founder and president of Grist. “From climate and energy to food and transportation, Grist.org is a place where students and faculty alike can turn to make sense of the latest ‘green’ news in a way that’s fresh, relevant and engaging.”

ASU and Grist appear to make a perfect pair. ASU has built a reputation as one of the most sustainable universities in the country, and Grist has a track record of bringing environmental news to young people in an irreverent and funny style that keeps them entertained and engaged.

Grist.org recently has been ranked as a top green Web site by Time magazine and the London Guardian, and it has been cited and praised in other media outlets, from Vanity Fair to the New York Times to National Public Radio. Grist has proven particularly adept at appealing to college students and young people in their 20s and 30s.

This summer, the Princeton Review named ASU as one of the nation’s 11 greenest colleges and universities based on ASU’s environmental practices, policies, and course offerings. In addition, the Sierra Club has announced that ASU is one of the top 10 coolest green schools, placing the university on its “10 That Get It” list.

ASU has made an unprecedented commitment to sustainability, and it permeates the entire university. For example, ASU opened the nation’s first School of Sustainability in 2007, as part of its Global Institute of Sustainability. The school, which brings together multiple disciplines, aims to train a new generation of scholars and practitioners focused on sustainability and develop practical solutions to some of the world’s most pressing environmental, economic and social challenges, especially as they relate to urban areas.

“We’ve developed a different kind of program focused not on a particular field or methodology but on designing a new, sustainable world that includes a variety of social, technological and cultural institutions,” says Jonathan Fink, the Julie Ann Wrigley director of the Global Institute of Sustainability.

The School of Sustainability offers graduate and undergraduate degrees, a professional certificate program, and classes for business students earning a concentration in sustainability.

The Global Institute of Sustainability and the School of Sustainability were established through a gift from Julie Ann Wrigley.

“The greening of the university is part of an overall strategic plan that will increase the value of an ASU degree,” says ASU senior Chris Samila, founder of the “Green Summit,” a student-organized conference and expo that has grown into the largest sustainability-focused event in Arizona. “There are billions of dollars to be saved and made in redesigning our society to be more in balance with the environment. Grist’s content will help students better understand the opportunity and challenges we’re facing.”

In 2007, Crow helped found the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, a high-visibility effort to address global warming by neutralizing greenhouse gas emissions and accelerating research and educational efforts directed at re-stabilizing the Earth’s climate. More than 550 college and university presidents have signed the commitment to date.

The agreement with Grist deepens ASU’s commitment to respond to climate change and promote campus sustainability by keeping students, faculty, and staff informed about the important environmental issues and events shaping their world. Grist intends for the ASU agreement to be the first of many such partnerships with colleges and universities across the country.