Sustainability Solutions Festival aims to reimagine our world

September 10, 2014

Following the success of the inaugural festival last February, three leading sustainability organizations are bringing their events back together for the 2015 Sustainability Solutions Festival in Phoenix.

The three organizations – GreenBiz Group, The Sustainability Consortium and The Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives, a unit of the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University – are pooling their networks, expertise and audiences at the festival, a weeklong series of events held at various locations throughout Phoenix, Feb. 16-22. The festival is anchored by the annual GreenBiz Forum, Feb. 17-19, with more than 600 sustainable business executives attending from around the world. (re)imagine what's to come at the 2015 Sustainability Solutions Festival Download Full Image

The Sustainability Solutions Festival, produced by the Walton Initiatives, features a variety of activities and events for audiences of all ages, including a film festival and meetings of The Sustainability Consortium, whose members include businesses, NGOs, academic and civil society organizations working collaboratively to drive sustainable consumer products. The consortium is jointly administered by ASU and the University of Arkansas.

“The Sustainability Solutions Festival provides an opportunity for students, professionals and community members to participate in innovative and inspiring programs that show how to align the interests of business, society and the environment,” said Joel Makower, chairman and executive editor of GreenBiz Group, and host of the GreenBiz Forum. “It is rapidly becoming one of nation’s most important gathering of ideas and talent showing the way to a prosperous, secure and sustainable world.”

“The Sustainability Consortium (TSC) is based upon collaboration and an understanding that it takes everyone working together to drive change – the business community, NGOs, academic and civic organizations, and individuals,” said Sheila Bonini, chief executive officer of TSC. “In the same way, The Sustainability Solutions Festival brings together many audiences with a shared commitment to the environment, offering programs that are both inspiring and pragmatic.”

The 2014 festival engaged more than 8,400 people across 11 events, all focused on the theme, "It's time to find a better way." This year’s theme, “(re)imagine,” challenges attendees to envision a better future through a deeper understanding of how each person, community and organization can drive change at a global scale.

“As an institution that holds sustainability as a core value, Arizona State University is pleased to welcome esteemed business leaders who are focused on finding solutions that benefit their organizations, their communities and our planet,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow. “In only its second year, the Sustainability Solutions Festival has distinguished itself as a vital convening that explores transformative social, environmental and economic collaborations, and celebrates their impact on our world.”

The seventh annual GreenBiz Forum, the leading gathering of corporate sustainability executives, will take place at the JW Marriott Camelback Inn. The event is framed by GreenBiz Group's “State of Green Business” report, an annual accounting on how, and how well, companies are addressing the world’s biggest environmental challenges.

Jason Franz

Senior manager, Marketing and Communications, Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives


President Crow, community gather to celebrate ASU Prep expansion

September 10, 2014

Students, teachers and parents of Arizona State University’s Preparatory Academy Polytechnic Elementary School gathered Sept. 9 in Mesa for a dedication ceremony to celebrate a major renovation and expansion. They were joined by community members, CEO of ASU Preparatory Academy Beatriz Rendon and ASU President Michael M. Crow, who spoke at the event.

The new expansion provides additional classrooms for grades PreK-6, enabling the school to enroll 235 more students. ASU President Michael Crow posing with parent and students of ASU Prep Academy Download Full Image

To date, two phases of a three-phase project have been completed. Phase three will be completed by the summer of 2015, which will allow the school to accommodate and expand to PreK-8. 

"There is no reason that education cannot be fun, exciting, linked to other things, dynamic, engaged with technology, innovative and non-bureaucratic," Crow said at the event. "We build schools like this for any student from any family, any background, any circumstance.”

Upon completion, the renovation project will have converted 65,000 square feet of an existing Veteran’s Medical Clinic on ASU’s Polytechnic campus into a dynamic, progressive educational environment with cutting-edge technology and innovative school design that enables both personalized and group learning experiences.  

ASU Preparatory Academy principal Claudia Mendoza also addressed the crowd of more than 200, expressing her and other school administrators’ excitement about the additional classroom space and the learning opportunities it offers to more students.

“ASU Preparatory Academy Polytechnic Elementary prides itself on providing a highly rigorous and innovative approach to project based learning,” Mendoza said. “We strive to cultivate a community of critical thinkers, and our new space allows us to provide STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) classes, music, foreign language and physical education for all our learners in a beautiful environment that fosters creativity, cooperation and teaming between teachers and students.”

Fifth and sixth grade student leaders also had a chance to speak at the event.

Sixth-grader Tyler Kupfer said, "We have a new STEM class that we are very excited about. We get to do fun hands-on projects that teach us the skills that we need to be successful in life, and we get to create things to solve daily challenges, and learn about math, science, technology and engineering in a really fun way.”

Mia Edrozo, a parent of two children who attend ASU Preparatory Academy, had plenty of praise for the school.

"ASU Prep has allowed my children to learn more than just bubble-test regurgitation and rote memorization,” she said. “They have been propelled into an active learning environment where personal accountability is expected, bullying is actively disrupted and the seven habits are not just some poster on the wall, they are incorporated into daily activities and woven into the fabric of everything they do."