The Christian Science Monitor brings word that Arizona State University will launch a School of Sustainability in January — the first of its kind in the U.S. ASU leads a pack of similarly green-minded schools, some of which have begun to spend in the millions wooing specialists, building green, and offering sustainable curricula.
ASU, which hopes to integrate its program such that students majoring in other areas can minor in sustainability, will hire dozens of new faculty positions and require all new campus buildings to meet specific green standards. It has big donors on board, including gum heiress Julie Ann Wrigley and Wal-Mart chairman Rob Walton. Cool offerings to entice students include a Biodesign Institute and the fancy-shmancy Decision Theater, “a learning and decision space in which the latest understanding of complex social, economic and natural processes and their interactions are visualized.” Or, a space for community leaders to look into the future and realize the environmental consequences of their actions. Can we get one of those for the White House?
Campus sustainability may be a fledgling trend — ASU President Michael Crow estimates that student interest in sustainability at the school is “in the hundreds now, but our goal is to make it into the thousands” — but it’s growing fast. Case in point: The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education has quintupled in size this year (much to the delight, we’re sure, of onetime Grist InterActivist Julian Dautremont-Smith).