Knight Center wins President’s Innovation Award

April 8, 2010

The Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication has been awarded the 2010 President’s Award for Innovation. Arizona State University gives the awards each year to recognize innovative and multidisciplinary programs and projects.

"The Knight Center gives our students creative and entrepreneurial skills to help lead the changing media industry and provide a setting in which they can invent their own innovative digital products,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow. Download Full Image

Crow said the Knight Center helps position ASU as a national leader in entrepreneurship and innovation. Last year, ASU ranked No. 2 in the Global Student Entrepreneurship annual rankings for the number of student ventures created, about half of which originated from the Knight Center.

Funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the Knight Center brings together students from various disciplines throughout ASU to develop their own digital media products and services.

The program mixes classroom instruction, mentoring and hands-on product development with exposure to notable speakers and successful role models and the latest issues in media and technology.

The students work under the direction of Knight Center Director Dan Gillmor, one of the world’s leading experts in digital media, and Entrepreneur-in-Residence CJ Cornell, a venture adviser with experience in Silicon Valley and Los Angeles.

“The center teaches students how to innovate and think and act like entrepreneurs – something that’s more important than ever in a rapidly changing digital media world,” said Cronkite Dean Christopher Callahan. “Under Dan’s and CJ’s leadership, students are developing projects that we think will help shape the media of the future.”

Since it was established in 2008, more than 20 projects or companies have emerged from the center. Students have not only launched compelling ventures but have successfully garnered funding from grants, venture capital and other sources. CityCircles, for example, is a stop-by-stop information platform for the Phoenix-area light rail community created by two students that won a $100,000 Knight Challenge grant last year. Other examples of projects that have been developed at the center can be found at" target="_blank">

Team members:
Dan Gillmor, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication
CJ Cornell, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication
Chris Callahan, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication

Ground Services earns sustainability award

April 8, 2010

ASU is a greener campus because of the efforts of the Facilities Management Ground Services department that initiated programs that convert landscaping waste into compost and harvest sour oranges instead of sending the fruit to a landfill.

For these two programs, the department earned the 2010 President’s Award for Sustainability. Download Full Image

The composting program utilizes green waste such as prunings and weeds that are collected and sent to Singh Farms where the waste is turned into compost. Then the rich material is sent back to the Tempe campus where it is used as a fertilizer to nourish the soil.

“We get a very high quality product,” said Ellen Newell, Facilities Management associate director. “We’re not using any chemical fertilizers.”

Because the compost nourishes the soil with live organisms, ASU’s dirt is healthier with more worms and less compaction. The program also saves funds since the green waste doesn’t need to be hauled to a landfill.

Campus Harvest is a program that makes use of the approximate six tons of Seville or sour oranges that are produced annually on campus. Instead of throwing the oranges away, the fruit is sent to campus dining facilities where they can be used in marmalade and in recipes. Oranges are also given to the Arcadia Citrus Program and have been sent to hog farms on the Gila River Indian Reservation. Oranges that are spoiled are used for compost.

Between the two programs, more than 240 tons of previous green “waste” have been kept out of landfills.

Team members:
Ellen Newell, Facilities Management Grounds Services
Fernando Reyna, Facilities Management Grounds Services
Mike Schantel, Facilities Management Grounds Services
Deborah Thirkhill, Facilities Management Grounds Services
Ken Singh, Singh Farms LLC