Media advisory for press conference with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan

May 6, 2014

WHAT: Media are invited to a pre-commencement press conference with America’s top educator Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Duncan will address nearly 9,000 Arizona State University students at the spring 2014 undergraduate commencement ceremony at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 14, in Sun Devil Stadium on ASU’s Tempe campus.

WHO: President Barack Obama named U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to his cabinet post in 2009. Since that time, Duncan has led initiatives to expand access to high-quality early learning for all children, strengthen K-12 education and close achievement gaps, and make college more affordable and attainable for everyone. ASU story: Download Full Image

WHEN: Reporting time for the press conference is 6:15 p.m. on Wednesday, May 14, 2014. The press conference will be held 6:35-6:50 p.m. A light snack will be served.

Please confirm your participation in the press conference by 5 p.m., Monday, May 12.

WHERE: Tom and Gloria Dutson Theatre at Ed and Nadine Carson Student-Athlete Center, 500 E. Veterans Way, adjacent to Sun Devil Stadium on ASU’s Tempe campus. Media parking is available at Stadium Parking Structure that has a clearance of 6’6’’. Media pad outside the stadium will open at 6 p.m. for television trucks only.

Please present your press pass for a media credential at the ASU media check-in table on the southwest entrance of Sun Devil Stadium.

HOW: A multbox will be made available. TV news media will require livepacks to cover the press conference, as it will be held on the third floor of Carson Center.

CONTACT: Please contact Iti Agnihotri, ASU Media Relations, at (479) 236-9969 (cell) or

LINKS: For information on pre-event and undergraduate commencement coverage, here is the media advisory on 2014 commencement coverage.

For traffic, list of prohibited items, and other ASU graduation related information, visit

Arizona State University – ASU is one of the nation’s leading public research universities and is ranked among the top 100 universities in the world.  Known for innovation and entrepreneurism, ASU has pioneered the model for a New American University with a focus on accessibility and quality education, training students to learn for a lifetime. According to its mission, ASU “will be measured not by who we exclude, but rather by who we include and how they succeed; pursuing research and discovery that benefits the public good; assuming major responsibility for the economic, social, and cultural vitality and health and well-being of the community.”

Media projects manager, Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development

Sustainability grad focuses on water management

May 6, 2014

How will global changes increase the need for better water management in the coming years? Ben Warner, who will receive his doctorate in sustainability from the School of Sustainability at Arizona State University, investigated the causes of water scarcity in his field research.

In a rural, semi-arid region of northwestern Costa Rica, Warner worked directly with water and agricultural managers. His findings have since been used to refine current water management policy in the region. Ben Warner posing surrounded by greenery in Costa Rica Download Full Image

After a post-doctoral stint at the University of Massachusetts, Warner plans to work as a consultant on water scarcity, as well as continue his research.

In Costa Rica, Warner found that drought and international trade liberalization treaties have had a major impact on small farmers.

“I found that Costa Rica’s 1983 economic restructuring limited smallholder farmers’ livelihood options to only rice production,” he says. “Recent threats of trade liberalization stemming from Costa Rica’s ratification of Dominican Republic – Central America Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA) have limited their ability to gain access to domestic rice markets.”

The economic impact combined with increasing drought in northwestern Costa Rica resulted in greater vulnerability to global changes and the power to adapt to them.

“Smallholder farmers’ livelihoods have been greatly diminished, and large rice and sugarcane farms are now more profitable,” he says.

As Warner sought how to increase farmers’ ability to cope with limited market access and increasing drought, he collected data from workshop proceedings, focus groups, interviews and surveys from small farming households within the Arenal-Tempisque Irrigation Project in Guanacaste, Costa Rica.

His analysis revealed that farm size, farming tenure, the presence of family members working outside of the agricultural sector, livestock ownership, perceptions of climate change and household reliance on agriculture were determining factors in farmers’ decisions to adjust their livelihoods. His work contributed to a multi-organizational effort to reshape agricultural water policy in northwest Costa Rica.

After Warner earned a civil engineering degree at Purdue University, he worked as a consultant designing large-scale water infrastructure projects. Then, he found himself drawn to ASU for his doctorate because of the university’s approach to interdisciplinary studies in the field of water sustainability.

“My program supports research in the interactions between rural development and large-scale water infrastructure. This interdisciplinary focus is not the norm across universities, but it is becoming more accepted.”

Warner was awarded the Graduate Completion Fellowship in spring 2014 to complete his dissertation.

Written by Michele St George

Britt Lewis

Communications Specialist, ASU Library