Project Cities celebrates successful fall semester at student showcase

Student standing and smiling near poster presentation during discussion with Glendale city officialArizona State University Project Cities held its end-of-semester fall student showcase with the City of Glendale at ASU Wrigley Hall on November 28, 2018. Project Cities is a young program at ASU that celebrates the power of project-based learning and the value of a client-centered educational experience for students. Project Cities aims to create value for students, faculty and local communities by drawing connections between university resources and real-world municipal sustainability challenges. Over the course of the 2018 fall semester, ASU students, faculty and City of Glendale staff worked collaboratively to address several environmental, social and economic sustainability challenges. At the showcase, students from multiple ASU campuses and five different classes presented their research findings through engaging presentations and posters. One project generated best practices and drafted policies to support the city’s plan to hire their first full-time social media manager. Other projects proposed the creation of a youth civic engagement committee, provided recommendations for a new sustainable facilities master plan and more. Approximately 50 people attended the event, which included City of Glendale staff and dignitaries, ASU faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, and university staff. Other valley communities were also represented, including the Town of Gilbert and City of Peoria. From the City of Glendale were Councilmember Bart Turner, City Manager Kevin Phelps, and Assistant City Managers Chris Anaradian and Tom Duensing. About 20 people from Glendale and ASU pose in front of Wrigley HallThis semester’s five major projects and their corresponding classes consisted of: Multi-generational Community Engagement (PAF 509), Young Leader Engagement (CPP 201), Renovation of Field Operations Campus (SOS/PAF 545), Social Media Policy (TWC 522), and Social Media Plan (TWC 422). Amanda McKeever, Glendale field operations administrator and our Project Cities-Glendale program lead said, “It was great to see students think outside the box and bring fresh ideas that the city had not thought about before.” Before and after the presentations, students stood by large display boards to discuss their projects. Glendale staff, with an eye toward action and implementation, posed thoughtful questions and critiques of the work presented. These projects will serve as a point of reference for the City of Glendale officials when planning and executing future strategies to engage their community in a more sustainable manner. This marks the completion of the third Project Cities end-of-semester showcase since the program’s inception in August 2017. Project Cities is a member of the Educational Partnerships for Innovation in Communities Network and is administered by ASU’s Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability and the Sustainable Cities Network.