School of Sustainability’s risk takers recognized for entrepreneurial spirit

Arizona State University's School of Sustainability was honored with the Bootstrapper Award at the Startup Bowl 2013 reception held August 29.

This year's Startup Bowl had 665 student participants. ASU’s School of Sustainability—with more than 300 majors and 500 minors—received the Bootstrapper Award for the highest amount of participants out of the School’s total enrollment.

"We are very entrepreneurial," says Christopher Boone, interim dean for the School of Sustainability. "We may be the smallest college, but we’re never short on big ideas."

The Startup Bowl is a competition under ASU's Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative, which provides funding, office space, and guidance to accelerate student-created endeavors. The all-campus competition honors the college that entered the most student proposals. The Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering received the highest award, the Startup Bowl Cup.

Past sustainability startups include FlashFood, a mobile app that restaurants can use to donate excess food to people in need. Jake Irvin, a graduate of the School of Sustainability, is part of the six-member team. Another graduate, Andrew Krause, launched an online social platform called eEcosphere that tailors and simplifies sustainability methods for everyday people.

"The School of Sustainability is pursuing and engaging in entrepreneurial programs at ASU," says Sethuraman "Panch" Panchanathan, senior vice president for ASU's Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development. "The commitment of faculty and students to sustainability and entrepreneurship is reflected by the number of students already engaged in entrepreneurial programs and the focus of the new interim dean Chris Boone to grow this program even further."

It's fitting that one of the smallest colleges received the "Bootstrapper" Award; sustainability, while gaining momentum, is still a relatively unique field of study. However, sustainability students successfully pick themselves up by their bootstraps to lead effective change.

"To me, this award means our students are what we expect our students to be—risk takers," Boone says. "I think our students are naturally drawn to these entrepreneurial competitions because sustainability is a young field, and so students that come into the field are risk takers to begin with."