Student spotlight: Kasi Darnell

To highlight some of Project Cities star students, we sat down to interview Kasi Darnell, an ASU graduate with a Master of Sustainability Leadership. With Project Cities, she worked on community engagement component as part of the sustainability action planning public outreach project for the City of Peoria. As part of this project, Kasi focused on community engagement collecting resident feedback for the Sustainability Action Plan 3.0. Kasi’s primary role focused on collecting public input, including community surveys and listening sessions, in addition to devising a dissemination strategy for the surveys. The following dialogue and summary come from an interview with Kasi about her experience in the Project Cities program.   Question: COVID made you guys adapt your project, and the listening sessions went very well. So, how do you think that adaptation worked to your advantage? Answer: “I think being online, in general, it opens it up for people who normally would not be able to physically go somewhere, you know people can just sit on their couch and attend this session if they want to, and there’s some perks to that. So, I think that was part of it, people can be safe from COVID by attending the online listening sessions.”   Question: What motivates you to strive for sustainability in your life and career? Answer: According to Kasi she was introduced to sustainability as an undergrad working on her geography major. Having children, she wants to ensure a productive and happy future, so she incorporate sustainability principles at home, “…I really try to embody that at home, making sure they have the tools that they need to live good lives in the future…I go hiking a lot, spend a lot of time outside, participating in state and local politics. I try to be aware of things that are happening or could happen environmentally, to promote that sustainability in our world.”   Question: What does sustainability mean to you? Answer: “Personally, it means living in balance, not using up resources…moderation is key.”   Question: What is your primary focus with the UN Sustainable Development Goals? How do you imagine sustainable development? Answer: Kasi believes that education is key to addressing the other development goals, especially when it comes to addressing inequities, “...without education we really wouldn’t be able to achieve many of the other goals, it’s the number one thing we can do right now to be successful in the other goals. Without education you’re not going to know how to implement the other things. Education for women especially…you’re educating your whole family; women carry that on to their children and their children to spread that knowledge and navigate their world.”   Question: Do you have any parting advice for students coming into ASU? Answer: “For me, working with a place that I was not familiar with, really getting to know that place and doing a lot of research on what it means to live in that place was really helpful to me. Also, to when working with a city, you have to understand that there’s processes and channels that everything has to go through. So, the end result might not be what you had envisioned but realizing that’s ok and moving forward would be helpful advice.”   Project Cities is a member of the Educational Partnerships for Innovation in Communities Network (EPIC-N) and is administered by ASU’s Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory and the Sustainable Cities Network. Stay up to date with Project Cities and the Sustainable Cities Network by following us on social media or subscribing to our newsletter.