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School of Sustainability Graduate Culminating Experiences


Student capstone and applied projects from ASU's School of Sustainability.




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

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

The City of Apache Junction is located in an environmentally and culturally rich location on the eastern edge of the Phoenix Metropolitan area. This suburb is expected to grow in the future with undeveloped land zoned for development. Despite its uniqueness, the city is challenged by a negative reputation in the region. To help improve the city's image and promote development, the City of Apache Junction has partnered with Arizona State University's Project Cities program. Through this partnership both parties work to work toward sustainable development of Apache Junction. This Culminating Experience project is one of several initiatives working for ...

Contributors
Gonzalez, Andres, Prosser, Paul
Created Date
2018-04-27

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

Girl Scouts – Arizona Cactus-Pine Council is a mission driven organization that aims to help build the leaders of tomorrow. Girls in Girl Scouts-Arizona Cactus-pine are served through mission building programs that aim to build girls of courage confidence and character who make the world a better place (Girl Scouts, 2017). The intention of my sustainability engagement initiative was to ask staff to take part in a three-phased program that encouraged them to think differently. The initiative asked them to look at how, as an organization they can work to improve their sustainability habits. Tasking them to be just as ...

Contributors
Pontius, Cristi
Created Date
2018-04-13

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

Cities with a car-oriented mobility system are significant consumers of energy and require drastic transformations in their structure and function to minimize their harmful impacts on environment and people and to achieve sustainability goals. To promote such sustainable transformations, municipal administrators need to act as change-agents. Because municipal governments are often not agile organizations, they tend toward incrementalism even in the pursuit of transformational goals. Therefore, there is a need in municipal governments to build individual transformative capacity so that municipal administrators can design, test, and implement plans, projects, and policies that are capable of transforming cities toward sustainability. This ...

Contributors
Reutter, Leo, Withycombe Keeler, Lauren, von Wehrden, Henrik, et al.
Created Date
2018-06-28

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

The purpose of this paper is to identify the absence of sustainability teachings within our private school systems, introduce a program for the school systems to incorporate into existing curriculum, and present the process that would be needed to be followed for introduction of this program. There is a growing interest in the topic of sustainability and how it potentially will affect the next generations. Today some large companies and even some countries around the world are engaging in sustainability practices. Currently this is a very small piece of action regarding what needs to take place to hope to promote ...

Contributors
Janner, Brian D.
Created Date
2018-04-24