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ASU launches Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory with audacious goal: Transforming the world for a better future

Editor’s note: This story is being highlighted in ASU Now’s year in review. Read more top stories from 2020. At a time of increasing challenges around the globe, successful responses and solutions depend on recognizing the complexity and interconnectedness of the Earth’s systems, both natural and societal. This includes confronting the accelerating dangers of a planet out of balance, the multiplicity of threats spurred by systemic failures — and embracing the enormous potential for humankind to set things right. In response to current crises and driven by the belief in making positive, substantive advances, Arizona State University announced this week the launch of a laboratory dedicated to keeping our planet habitable and enhancing the options for future generations to thrive. Such an undertaking might seem insurmountable. We have seen wildfires ravaging Australia. Storms flooding South Asia. Heat records in the Arctic. Drought-spurred refugees. Cities in conflict due to protest movements...

Arizona coalition focuses on inspiring young men in higher education

It didn’t take Larry Ross, a fifth-generation educator who launched the Omega Youth Leadership Academy in Arizona, long in his career to notice that there’s a group of students who go unnoticed when it comes to setting high goals after high school. They’re not necessarily the most underprivileged kids, he said. They may not be disruptive in class. But they tend to not be noticed for either gifted programming or learning interventions. Squeaky wheels need to get the grease, but these students are going with the flow. Arizona’s counselor-to-student ratio is 905:1, the worst in the nation. As a former classroom teacher and a parent, Ross has seen firsthand that there are a lot of young men, especially students of color, with potential who tend to fly under the radar. “I work in high schools where I can see these nice brown and Black boys who easily get overlooked because...

Syncing up ASU’s classrooms for live-hosted digital classes

Editor’s note: This story is being highlighted in ASU Now’s year in review. Read more top stories from 2020. The year 2020 is no traditional year. But Arizona State University is no traditional institution, which means university leaders have been preparing for weeks to create a seamless, socially responsible classroom experience for the fall 2020 semester — amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The University Technology Office has been preparing classrooms at all ASU campuses for a new learning approach: ASU Sync , which will provide students with technology-enhanced, fully interactive remote learning, using live lectures via Zoom. It's part of the three options for on-campus learning that students will have access to when classes begin Aug. 20. In all, more than 800 learning spaces will either be equipped or enhanced with Zoom features or capabilities, which will allow students on Zoom to hear the instructor from anywhere in the classroom and...

Improving business with philosophy

Tom Fournier had a successful career in engineering and business management and after co-founding and selling a company that measured automotive pollution for governments, he was able to retire early at 55 years old. The following two years were spent dabbling in hobbies as a private pilot and a skydiver and volunteering at Tucson’s Community Food Bank and Literacy Connects. Despite keeping himself busy, Fournier felt something was missing. “It was a lack of challenge, or maybe lack of personal growth,” Fournier said. “I began wondering whether 57 years old was too old to go back to school and found myself leafing through the community college catalog for courses unrelated to my prior degrees in engineering and business administration.” Fournier found himself hooked on philosophy just two weeks into a course in introductory logic and philosophy. After a few more beginning courses, he transferred to the University of Arizona for...

ASU ranked top in US, 5th in world pursuit of UN sustainability goals

Editor’s note: This story is being highlighted in ASU Now’s year in review. Read more top stories from 2020. In 2015, world leaders agreed to establish 17 objectives aimed at achieving a better world by 2030: among them, an end to poverty and hunger, clean water and energy, gender equality and decent work. Together, they are called the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. It was announced Wednesday that Arizona State University ranks top in the U.S. and fifth in the world out of 766 institutions in achieving those goals, beating out the University of British Columbia in Canada and the United Kingdom's University of Manchester and King's College London. The global ranking is a jump from last year’s 35th place. In the annual rankings published by Times Higher Education magazine, ASU scored 96.3 out of 100 points. It was the top American university in the rankings . Only three American...

Creating a healthy planet, one sustainable investment at a time

In honor of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, the resource-raising entity operating for the benefit of Arizona State University sheds light on its dedication to investing money where its values lie: to build a more sustainable and resilient future. “The university has made an institutional commitment to a more sustainable and resilient future, addressing the world’s most pressing challenges not only through its pioneering sustainability education and research but also its operations and practices,” said Jeff Mindlin, the chief investment officer at ASU Enterprise Partners. “Sustainability considerations are being embedded into the full scope of university activities, including how we invest capital in the endowment.” ASU Enterprise Partners operates as a parent organization of five nonprofits that identify new revenue-generating opportunities for the advancement of ASU’s mission. The ASU Foundation for A New American University, one of its five subsidiaries, has recently tried to align with the university’s climate-positive...

Celebrating 15 years of Julie Ann Wrigley’s commitment to sustainability

Since 2004, Julie Ann Wrigley ’s impact on Arizona State University and its sustainability education and research endeavors has been profound. But for her, the important thing isn’t what has been done over the past 15 years — it’s what lies ahead. “I recognize the need to continuously engage to stay ahead of the game,” Wrigley said. “We need to continue to think outside the box. No one is in a position to start getting comfortable with the old — even with the accomplishments of the last 15 years.” But to illustrate Wrigley’s commitment, we need to rewind. Fifteen years ago, her world collided with ASU President Michael Crow’s. From this meeting of the minds came what’s now known as the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability — the hub of sustainability research and solutions at ASU, and the birthplace of the nation’s first comprehensive School of Sustainability ...

ASU’s Committee for Campus Inclusion honored with city of Tempe’s diversity award

On Jan. 17, Arizona State University’s Committee for Campus Inclusion will be honored for its commitment to diversity in the city of Tempe. The Tempe Human Relations Commission will award the committee the 2020 MLK Diversity Award in the category of educational organization. The annual recognition is given to individuals, businesses or community groups that help achieve the goal of making the city a better place. It’s the first time the committee will be receiving this award, after being nominated by a university employee. “It’s wonderful to be in an institution that knows that inclusion is important,” said Cassandra Aska , associate vice president and dean of students and university chair of the Committee for Campus Inclusion. “To see that there’s a role that we can play to support the university and the people in the university, and then to have that work that we do be recognized for an...

ASU students go to town on sustainability

Apache Junction, Arizona — a city of approximately 42,000 residents on the eastern outskirts of the metro Phoenix area — has a complicated relationship with its 125 mobile home and RV parks. These parks represent more than 60% of the city’s housing stock and are a highly affordable option for people living on low or fixed incomes. Many of these parks are attractive and well managed, but a large number of them are run-down and unsightly and don’t conform to contemporary city codes. Many of the city’s mobile home parks were built well before Apache Junction was incorporated in 1978, so their property owners hold “rights of lawful nonconformance.” These rights allow owners to operate the parks as-is, but bars them from redeveloping in any way that doesn’t comply with current city codes. Revamping the parks to comply is cost-prohibitive to most owners, so many parks have fallen into a...

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