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School of Sustainability Graduate Culminating Experiences


Date Range
2016 2018

In Senegal, West Africa, soils are a vital resource for livelihoods and food security in smallholder farming communities. Low nitrogen (N) soils pose obvious challenges for crop production but may also, counterintuitively, promote the abundance of agricultural pests like the Senegalese locust, Oedaleus senegalensis. In this study I investigated how the abundance of locusts and grasshoppers are impacted by soil fertility through plant nutrients and how these variables change across land use types. We worked in two rural farming villages in the Kaffrine region of Senegal. Overall, there was little variation in soil properties and an agricultural landscape low in ...

Contributors
Word, Mira, Hall, Sharon, Robinson, Brian, et al.
Created Date
2018-04-10

This report describes the process by which I created a concise but comprehensive online source of information about best practices in sustainability for urban planners. The goal of the project was to provide accessible information that would help planners in ways that help them comprehend and implement sustainable solutions to common planning problems that are found throughout the United States. To create the website, I researched methods for communicating clearly to planners, took a graduate course in communicating about sustainability, and drew on information that I had compiled on sustainable solutions for transportation, economy, water, green space, and governance.

Contributors
Nassar, Cara, Pijawka, David, Kyle, Kathryn
Created Date
2017-12-01

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is a non-profit organization that prides itself in “responding to the world’s worst humanitarian crises”. Through its New Roots program, IRC is using an aquaponics urban garden incubator site “to train refugee farmers in aquaponics agriculture and good business practices in the United States.” The site is an example of the conversion of brownfield into “healthfields” and sustainability and resilience initiatives including the Year of Healthy Communities Program-2017, the Maricopa County Food Systems Coalition, and other community health initiatives that involve major partners including the City of Phoenix. Entering into the next development phase, IRC ...

Contributors
Jordan, Amanda (Toohey), Dunton, Tristan
Created Date
2017-04-28

Since the the Long Walks of the 1860’s Navajo people have wrestled with the problems of acculturation and assimilation, while trying to preserve their spiritual and cultural foundations. Though history has negatively affected Navajo wellbeing (happiness), sustainable Navajo principles and practices act as a positive counterweight. Aspiring to build the most socially and environmentally sustainable chapter house possible, the Navajo Nation’s Tonalea Chapter collaborated with our ASU research team. Two roundtable discussion with Chapter elders and members, led to a vision foundation that embodies physical, functional and environmental conditions, as well as cultural and spiritual beliefs and values. Initially, Houde’s ...

Contributors
Prosser, Paul, Cloutier, Scott
Created Date
2016-11-24

Strategies and interventions have promoted the sustainability of urban communities, but effective communication of these solutions is lacking. Documentation of current solutions tends to be dense and difficult for non-academics to understand. Sustainability scientists and practitioners need ways to meaningfully and intelligibly communicate their experiences to the lay public. This project sought to visually present sustainable community development solutions to address this communication barrier. Members of urban/community gardens in Phoenix and Tempe, Arizona, and Copenhagen and Aarhus, Denmark, were photographed, interviewed. Their feedback was then examined to assess the degree to which photographs can tell a holistic sustainability story. The ...

Contributors
Rosenstein, Rachael, Cloutier, Scott, Prosser, Paul
Created Date
2017-11-15

"Community and Composting in Victory Acres” implemented a pilot composting program for a local neighborhood in an effort to increase community cohesion. Victory Acres is a low-income, culturally diverse neighborhood located in Tempe that used to have easier access to the Escalante Community Center before the 101 freeway divided the community. Residents of the neighborhoods surrounding ECC do not have access to the Escalante Community Garden except on Community Harvest Days twice a month. The goal of the project was to reconnect broken ties to the ECG through a neighborhood composting service. Through composting, residents could directly benefit from the ...

Contributors
Kiefer, Alyssa, Cloutier, Scott, Prosser, Paul
Created Date
2017-04-28

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions cause climate change, and if the world does not lower its GHG emissions soon, it will cause irreversible damage that will have overwhelmingly negative cascading effects on the entire planet (Mann & Kump, 2008). Up to 47% of the United States GHG emissions are the result of energy used to produce, process, transport, and dispose of the food we eat and the goods that we consume (US EPA, 2009). The linear-economy status quo does nothing to slow down climate change because it puts resources into landfills. This project promotes a circular economy which combats climate change ...

Contributors
Velez, Daniel
Created Date
2017-04-10

Humans, throughout the world, build houses to live in and raise their families. The construction of houses and other buildings produces a large quantity of waste during this process. This waste is not necessarily biodegradable or derived from environmentally friendly materials. They often damage the environment causing pollution and contributing to greenhouse gas emissions (Tam, V. W., & Tam, C. M, 2012). This type of waste is categorized as Construction and Demolition(C&D) waste. My culminating experience focuses on C&D waste and this summary is divided into three parts. In the first part, the report covers the impact of the C&D ...

Contributors
Parthasarathy, Soumya, Breetz, Hanna
Created Date
2017-04-28

Multiple studies have reported potential risks posed by a rapid expansion of glacial lakes in the Mt. Everest region of Nepal. People’s perception of such cryospheric hazards can influence their actions, beliefs, and responses to those hazards and associated risks. This paper analyzes local people’s perceptions of cryospheric hazards and risks using a social survey dataset of 138 households in the Khumbu and Pharak areas of the Mt. Everest region of Nepal. A statistical logit model of categorical household data showed a significant positive correlation with the perceptions of cryospheric risks to their livelihood sources, mainly tourism. Local people’s GLOF ...

Contributors
Sherpa, Sonam Futi, Shrestha, Milan, Boone, Christopher, et al.
Created Date
2018-04-18

Sustainable purchasing has become and increasingly salient way by which local governments can decrease their resource consumptions, while also addressing broader climate action goals. Successfully implemented sustainable purchasing policies have the potential to reduce consumption and waste, expand green purchasing markets, and catalyze spillover benefits such as financial savings. Furthermore, city-level actions have become increasingly significant as the federal government ceases critical climate research and pulls out of collaborative climate deals (i.e. The Paris Climate Accord). Using data from the Sustainable Purchasing Researching Initiative at Arizona State University’s Center for Organization Research and Design, as well as qualitative policy analyses, ...

Contributors
Burwell, Caitlin, Darnall, Nicole, Schoon, Michael
Created Date
2017-12-01

Sustainable purchasing policies and e-procurement are both fast becoming popular topics across city governments in the United States. As these two relatively new initiatives meet, the relationship they share has some promising implications that have gone mostly unexplored until now. E-procurement systems have gained a reputation of being one of the most effective ways to advance sustainable purchasing goals, but the belief alone may not be enough to create director-level buy-in throughout city governments. The possible link between these two tools was identified while working with the City of Phoenix’s Office of Environmental Programs. While helping them integrate sustainability considerations ...

Contributors
Iles, Jeffrey, Darnall, Nicole
Created Date
2017-04-17

Greater cross-disciplinary collaboration between the fields of sustainability and clinical psychology could lead to improved outcomes for both. Moreover, some forms of mental disorder, such as PTSD and Moral Injury, constitute serious challenges that require the attention of sustainability’s interdisciplinary, systems-focused, solutionsoriented approach. My research frames the impacts of combat-related psychological trauma on military veterans as a sustainability problem according to criteria put forward by Arnim Wiek’s Transformational Problem Solving framework. I also provide a review of studies demonstrating the treatment benefits of agricultural therapy for veterans diagnosed with PTSD or symptoms associated with Moral Injury. I then describe my ...

Contributors
Gabriele, Adam, Hirt, Paul, Cloutier, Scott, et al.
Created Date
2018-03-27

As arid cities’ water scarcity concerns grow, so does the importance of residential water conservation. Understanding the drivers of participation in water conservation programs can aid policymakers in designing programs that achieve conservation and enrollment targets while achieving cost-effectiveness and distributional goals. In this study I identify and analyze the characteristics that drive participation in the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s Water Smart Landscaping rebate program – a program that pays homeowners to replace their grass lawns with xeric landscaping – and how those characteristics change over time as rebate values and water prices vary. In order to determine what characteristics ...

Contributors
Russo, Jonathan, Abbott, Joshua, Brelsford, Christa, et al.
Created Date
2018-04-21

This project explored the potential effectiveness of sustainable initiative programs in a typical office setting. The project area was focused on the Arizona offices of Expeditors International, a global, Fortune 500, third-party logistics company. The goal of the project was to set up recycling and composting services as well as create a culture of sustainability through educational materials distributed through various means to the employees. Throughout the project, it was discovered that there can be many barriers to effective implementation of sustainable initiatives, such as resistance to change. However, this project also highlighted that with a reasonable amount of effort ...

Contributors
Sponsler, James, Prosser, Paul
Created Date
2017-11-20

Local food systems are now facing a new set of intersecting economic, social and environmental challenges. Recurrent socio-economic and biophysical changes put the sustainability of food systems at risk. There is an urgent need to develop knowledge-based tools or metrics to assess and monitor food sustainability and to identify pathways for food security and resource conservation. Stern Produce is a small scale, family owned business that has been serving our local Arizona community for a 100 years now since 1917. Essentially, it is a food distribution company that conducts wholesale supply of agricultural farm produce, dairy products and meat. Their ...

Contributors
Pradhan, Salomi, Osgood, Kristen
Created Date
2017-11-25

Stern Produce has been a prominent agricultural produce distributor in Arizona since 1917, with three distribution locations in the state: Phoenix, Tucson and Flagstaff. The company is a wholesale supplier of produce, meat and dairy products. Stern Produce is seeking to create comprehensive sustainability metrics to develop sustainability baseline information on their operations. This project, in partnership with Stern Produce’s Sustainability Coordinator, provides a final report that describes the sustainability indicators and metrics, provides recommendations for future growth, and highlights immediate areas of impact using the Hart and Milstein’s Sustainable Value Framework (2003). Under the three tenets of people, earth ...

Contributors
Fernandes, Nagelle, Prosser, Paul
Created Date
2017-04-28

As an AASHE Gold university, ASU engages its students, with varying success in adopting sustainable behaviors. The Susty Games pilot project was developed to make the adoption process both interesting and engaging for students. The project goal was to increase sustainable behaviors in ASU students’ daily lifestyles by demystifying and familiarizing them with such behaviors. Familiarization occurred by getting students out and into their communities practicing eight specific behaviors that reflect ASU’s Sustainability Operations focus areas: climate neutrality, zero waste, active engagement, and principled practice. The project subject was ASU students because human, incentive, and support resources are readily available ...

Contributors
Love, Whitney, Jung, Kendon, Withycombe-Keeler, Lauren
Created Date
2017-12-01

South Africa, like many countries of the Global South, has witnessed explosive growth in urban population in recent decades. In a post-apartheid time, the majority of urban growth has accumulated in densely populated informal settlements. These areas delivered poorly planed and constructed single unit housing lacking adequate and necessary services, leading to increased economic and social exclusion in urban sprawl, with a need for full scale settlement redevelopment. The Kosovo Informal Settlement is one of the oldest and densest in Cape Town, South Africa, with a population of more that 26,000 in an area of 28 hectares. Kosovo is facing ...

Contributors
Ansara, Nicolas, Mpahlwa, Luyanda, Cook, Edward
Created Date
2017-03-16

Of the many challenges cities face, congestion and air quality are two interrelated issues that despite technological improvements in vehicle emissions standards and engine efficiency, continue to worsen. Of the strategies attempting to reduce automobile dependency, a popular approach adopted by cities is the concept of transit-oriented development (TOD). The strategy aims to better integrate land use and transportation planning, and is often characterized by a mix of land uses, high density, and proximity to quality public transit. While practitioners and academics argue the economic and environmental benefits of TOD, there are several examples along the Valley Metro light rail ...

Contributors
Santiago, Rebecca, Pijawka, David, Prosser, Paul
Created Date
2017-04-17

While we often see community gardens as material spaces managed by organizations, resources and institutional arrangements do not fully define a community garden or ensure its success. Understanding the “human factor” is key to implementing interventions at the subjective level that allow gardens to thrive. The Escalante Community Garden in Tempe, Arizona is a transforming social-ecological system wherein volunteers exhibiting collective efficacy are a crucial component. To keep this undergoing transformation on a positive pathway, I leveraged a sustainability intervention, a Transformation Lab, using a set of replicable participatory tools to support personal and interpersonal dynamics beyond an organizational perspective.

Contributors
Halter, Marley, Manuel-Navarrete, David, Cloutier, Scott, et al.
Created Date
2018-04-19