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ASU sustainability continues to innovate

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Posted: Wednesday, April 3, 2013 9:49 am

Recently deciding to collaborate with Canon in a Digital University partnership is just one of the steps Arizona State University is taking to maintain its goals to achieve higher sustainability. Implementing “Sustainable Printing” has decreased its number of printers by 32 percent, but is still easily accessible for students.

The Global Institute of Sustainability of ASU has four main goals: to promote climate neutrality, zero waste, active engagement and principled practice. The Princeton Review listed it on its 2013 Green Rating Honor Roll, with a green rating score of 99. In May 2012, ASU also received the Climate Leadership Award by the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment.

To become a climate-neutral institution by 2025, the focus is on greenhouse gas emissions from building energy sources. ASU has worked toward this by supplying the discounted U-Pass and Platinum Pass to students and employees, so they can commute by public transportation instead of car. ASU’s Parking and Transit Services partnered with ECOtality, a clean electric transportation solutions company. It has set up electric charging stations. With more than 73,300 students, 17,500 are bicyclists so free tire changes and minor repairs are offered on the campuses. Several campus energy and water-conservation projects have been funded for $3.66 million by the Sustainability Initiatives Revolving Fund (SIRF).

The second strategy of having zero solid and liquid waste by 2020 has its relationship with Canon and Waste Management, Inc. Canon has caused a decline of 283,600 pounds of paper to be used on all four campuses, reducing carbon dioxide in greenhouse gas emissions.

John Riley, C.P.M., executive director of purchasing and business services, is one of the key players in the collaboration.

“Sustainable Digital University is far more than just printing in a sustainable manner. The concept is to develop methodologies and technologies so that we can perform without the use of paper,” he said.

Riley suggests using a multifunctional device that enables scan to email or digital document imaging capabilities from Canon can also help. All the Canon devices are leased and not purchased so it will not contribute to ASU’s waste stream.

Active engagement and principled practice in sustainability efforts includes ASU’s Tempe Farmers Market, zero-waste catering program and campus harvesting. Also, the University Sustainability Practices (USP) has created programs such as Green classrooms and Green labs.

With sustainability being such a hot topic all over the world today, ASU knows it needs to stay up to date with renovations to maintain a positive image. Especially to the tuition payers, whether it be parents, students, grants or scholarships, their efforts will be noticed.

• Sarah Stecko is a junior at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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