Meeting the demand for sustainability education and professional development

ASU Professors sitting and standing near ASU signAs global concern about climate change continues to grow, there has been a corresponding dual increase in the demand for sustainability education from students and more sustainability professional development opportunities from teachers and other professionals. Several professors from Arizona State University have recognized this and are working to gauge interest and gain insight about a potential center for sustainability education in Arizona. A team of professors and staff from the School of Sustainability including Molly Cashion, Daniel Fischer, Katja Brundiers and Carlos Casanova recently hosted two workshops: one for external partners and another for interested members of the ASU community. As part of the workshop, they invited Kim Smith, an educator, practitioner and co-founder of the Greater Portland Sustainability Education Network, to give a public lecture on the “Collective Impact and Regional Centers of Expertise.” Smith has invaluable experiencing from years spent developing her education network and mentoring similar networks across the country. The lecture was a success, drawing roughly 45 people including numerous ASU sustainability and education experts. In addition to that, representatives from various external organizations such as SPOT 127 Media Center, Arizona Sustainability Alliance, Citizens Climate Lobby, Arizona Center for Nature Conservation, Local First Arizona, Arizona Science Teachers Association, and the City of Phoenix were present. According to Cashion, the participants were enthusiastic about the idea of collaborating across sectors to make sustainability education impactful in Arizona. Following the lecture, the next steps are follow-up meetings and workshops over the next several months to establish a structure for future collaborations and a potential network to further sustainability education efforts in the Valley.