University Deepens Its Commitment to Sustainability by Delivering Grist.org’s Award-Winning Environmental News, Advice, and Information to More Than 60,000 ASU Students

PHOENIX, AZ, and SEATTLE, WA—In the first collaboration of its kind, Arizona State University and Grist.org, the country’s leading source of online environmental news and information, today announced an agreement to send all of ASU’s 60,000+ students and many faculty and staff a biweekly e-mail with news, commentary, and advice about sustainability issues.

Launching on September 10, 2008, the e-mail newsletter will include timely reporting on national environmental and sustainability news, as well as localized coverage of issues affecting the university, the greater Phoenix community, the state of Arizona, and the Southwest. The agreement marks the first time a major public university has committed to regularly sharing environmental news with its students.

“Sustainability is a concept with as much transformative potential as justice, liberty, and equality, and ASU intends to foster it both in our academic institutions and broadly across business, industry, and government,” said Arizona State University President Michael Crow. “By teaming up with the environmental news experts at Grist, ASU will provide a steady flow of ideas and information that bring sustainability issues into practical focus for all members of our campus community.”

“Grist is thrilled to join forces with ASU in shaping how today’s students, and tomorrow’s leaders, think about issues of sustainability and their connections to everyday life,” said Chip Giller, founder and president of Grist. “From climate and energy to food and transportation, Grist.org is a place where students and faculty alike can turn to make sense of the latest green news in a way that’s fresh, relevant, and engaging.”

ASU and Grist make a perfect pair. ASU has built a reputation as one of the most sustainable universities in the country, and Grist has a track record of bringing environmental news to young people in an irreverent and funny style that keeps them entertained and engaged.

Grist.org has recently been ranked as a top green website by Time magazine and the London Guardian, and has been cited and praised in other media outlets from Vanity Fair to The New York Times to National Public Radio. Grist has proven particularly adept at appealing to college students and young people in their 20s and 30s.

This summer, The Princeton Review named Arizona State University as one of the nation’s 11 greenest colleges and universities based on ASU’s environmental practices, policies, and course offerings. In addition, the Sierra Club just announced that ASU is one of the top 10 coolest green schools placing the university on its “10 That Get It” list.

ASU has made an unprecedented commitment to sustainability and it permeates the entire university—teaching, research, and operations. It opened the nation’s first School of Sustainability in 2007, as part of its Global Institute of Sustainability. The school, which brings together multiple disciplines, aims to train a new generation of scholars and practitioners focused on sustainability and develop practical solutions to some of the world’s most pressing environmental, economic, and social challenges, especially as they relate to urban areas.

“We’ve developed a different kind of program focused not on a particular field or methodology but on designing a new, sustainable world that includes a variety of social, technological, and cultural institutions,” said Jonathan Fink, the Julie Ann Wrigley director of the Global Institute of Sustainability. The School of Sustainability offers graduate and undergraduate degrees, a professional certificate program, and classes for business students earning a concentration in sustainability. Both the Global Institute of Sustainability and the School of Sustainability were established through a generous gift from Julie Ann Wrigley.

“The greening of the university is part of an overall strategic plan that will increase the value of an ASU degree,” said ASU senior Chris Samila, founder of The Green Summit—a student-organized conference and expo that has grown into the largest sustainability-focused event in Arizona. “There are billions of dollars to be saved and made in redesigning our society to be more in balance with the environment. Grist’s content will help students better understand the opportunity and challenges we’re facing.”

In 2007, ASU President Michael Crow helped found The American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, a high-visibility effort to address global warming by neutralizing greenhouse gas emissions and accelerating research and educational efforts directed at re-stabilizing the Earth’s climate. More than 550 college and university presidents have signed the commitment to date.

The agreement with Grist deepens ASU’s commitment to respond to climate change and promote campus sustainability by keeping students, faculty, and staff informed about the important environmental issues and events shaping their world. Grist intends for the ASU agreement to be the first of many such partnerships with colleges and universities across the country.

About Grist
With a fresh spin on environmental news and views, Grist (www.grist.org) informs, inspires, and links America’s next generation of green activists. Founded in April 1999, Grist has developed the most recognizable voice in environmental journalism: funny, opinionated, and intelligent. Grist offers in-depth reporting, news analysis, opinions, and practical advice—all tailored to inform, entertain, provoke, and encourage its readers to think creatively about environmental problems and solutions.  Each month, Grist reaches more than 700,000 unique individuals through its website and e-mails, and it has enjoyed particular success among readers in their 20s and 30s. Through syndication arrangements with other media outlets such as MSNBC.com, Salon.com, and Yahoo, Grist is reaching an even broader audience that extends into the millions. Grist has been featured in The New York Times, Newsweek, Time, Vanity Fair, and dozens of other major media outlets.

About Arizona State University
ASU has a vision to be a New American University, promoting excellence in its research and among its students and faculty, increasing access to its educational resources, and working with communities to positively impact social and economic development. Sustainability is a fundamental precept underlying ASU’s teaching, learning, research, and business missions.

The Global Institute of Sustainability is the hub of ASU’s sustainability initiatives. The Institute advances research, education, and business practices for an urbanizing world. Its School of Sustainability, the first of its kind in the US, offers integrated degree programs that advance practical solutions to environmental, economic, and social challenges. For more information visit ASU at http://www.asu.edu or the Global Institute of Sustainability at http://sustainability.asu.edu.

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