Student spotlight: Amber Bolling-Galuppo and Emily Harding

Project Cities is excited to highlight two students who worked on sustainability planning for the City of Peoria, Emily Harding and Amber Bolling-Galuppo. As part of Candice Carr Kelman’s Policy and Governance in Sustainable Systems course, Emily and Amber were split into groups to for the Sustainability Plan Review project. Throughout the semester, Emily and Amber identified key benchmark cities and developed recommendations for Peoria’s upcoming SAP rewrite. For the Sustainability Action Plan (SAP) updates, Emily and Amber conducted research to identify and evaluate sustainability planning best practices for their respective topics. Emily worked on the transportation section of the plan, while Amber worked on water resources.   Question: Why did you decide to take up a project with Project Cities with the applied research component? Answer: Working on an applied project was a complete surprise to Emily when she signed up for the class! Emily reflects that it was a great surprise because it was her first time working in a group directly with another city. Being able to present directly to city staff was a great learning experience. Amber saw the applied project aspect in the course in the course description and looked up Project Cities to learn more, “I chose that class because it was hands on, so I really enjoy getting to work with an actual city and getting to contribute to my local community.”  
Amber Bolling-Galuppo
  Question: What were some of your key learnings in terms of professional development and educational outcomes? Answer: For Emily, communication in a group research setting is also crucial, but she also learned how cities view sustainability and the various factors that go into decision making. Amber remarked that taking the information she had researched and figuring out how to best communicate that information to Peoria was a challenge but a good practice in communicating information to a target audience.  
"It's [sustainability] not just the ecosystem, there's also the social aspect and how people are involved with that. So, to me, it’s also the future generations and preserving things for the future, and also for us right now, in addition to that there should be that heavy emphasis on the social aspect on people globally, locally."
Emily Harding on sustainability   Question: How do you imagine sustainable development and what do you like about this concept? Answer: Emily sees sustainable development as “a way to create or change systems that are in place to make them more sustainable and resilient.” Amber remarks that sustainable development happens on a local level, or personal one. Amber remarks that everyone deserves to have their basic needs met, “sustainable development should really start at the basics and with you.”   Question: Do you have any parting advice for students that are coming into the Project Cities program or ASU students in general? Answer: Emily advises students to get involved and take advantage of the various opportunities that ASU offers. Amber echoes Emily’s advice, and adds that mental health is an important piece in being successful, “Try to balance your schoolwork and your health.”   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.