Obama on screenNot everyone had a close-up viewdr. coop via FlickrOn Wednesday night, President Barack Obama gave a commencement address to graduates of Arizona State University, the first school in the nation to offer degrees from a dedicated sustainability program. One student from the School of Sustainability graduated last fall, but the first real class of 13 graduated this week.

Here’s what Obama had to say about the nation’s challenges:

It is clear that we need to build a new foundation — a stronger foundation — for our economy and our prosperity, rethinking how we educate our children, and care for our sick, and treat our environment. 

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Many of our current challenges are unprecedented.  There are no standard remedies, or go-to fixes this time around. 

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And here’s a green shout-out for ASU engineering grads:

With a degree from this university, you have everything you need to get started.  Did you study business?  Why not help our struggling non-profits find better, more effective ways to serve folks in need.  Nursing?  Understaffed clinics and hospitals across this country are desperate for your help.  Education?  Teach in a high-need school; give a chance to kids we can’t afford to give up on — prepare them to compete for any job anywhere in the world.  Engineering?  Help us lead a green revolution, developing new sources of clean energy that will power our economy and preserve our planet. 

Watch it:

ASU has emerged as a leader in sustainability in recent years, ranked high for its greenness by Sierra magazine, Princeton Review, and Kaplan. And in the ultimate manifestation of green cred, ASU teamed up with Grist to produce a special eco-focused email newsletter for its students, sent every other week throughout the ’08/’09 academic year.

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Read an interview with Charles L. Redman, director of ASU’s sustainability program, by Andy Revkin of The New York Times.