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ASU's School Of Sustainability Celebrates 10 Years Pioneering New Academic Field

ASU School of Sustainability
(Photo by Charlie Leight - ASU Now)
Computer science students wait for class outside the School of Sustainability's Wrigley Hall on ASU's main campus. In 2014-2015, 1,500 students were enrolled as sustainability majors or minors.

Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability celebrates its 10-year anniversary Thursday with a day-long celebration — and reflects on the nation’s first sustainability degree program.

The school focuses on solutions for complex problems that often combine multiple fields of study to balance social, economic and environmental concerns. Studies include the economics of natural resources, planning for future water shortages and urban design to increase nutrition in low-income neighborhoods.

Dean Christopher Boone said when the school opened, it was an experiment.

“That early experiment has been validated by 150 other programs across the United States," said Boone. "To me that’s a great sign because we actually need that scale of programs working on these kinds of solution-oriented degree programs to meet some of the urgent challenges that we face.”

Last year the school surveyed its undergraduate alumni and 48 percent had sustainability related careers, double the national average in other fields. The first graduate became U-Haul’s manager of carbon sequestration to offset truck emissions.

The celebration is Thursday afternoon on ASU’s main campuswith a rescued food fest, speakers and ASU’s Marching Band. It is open to the public.

Andrew Bernier was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2014 to 2016.