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Creating Sustainability at ASU: Closing the Gap Between Concept and Application

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This thesis is exploring the potential disconnect between the operational and cultural parts in the making of sustainability at Arizona State University (ASU) to find the disconnect in operational goals, student engagement, and thus student behavior in building sustainability at

This thesis is exploring the potential disconnect between the operational and cultural parts in the making of sustainability at Arizona State University (ASU) to find the disconnect in operational goals, student engagement, and thus student behavior in building sustainability at the university. To do so, I compare and contrast how ASU, Northern Arizona University (NAU), and the University of Arizona (UA) define, create, and demonstrate sustainability in their university’s culture and campus engagement programs. I first define what “culture” is in this study to provide context on how the word is being applied. Next, I assess how culture is reflected in the mission, vision, and/or goals of each university to set the tone for how the university intends to shape the culture of student experience through its services, as well as provide context where sustainability concepts may fit within. Then I assess what sustainability is demonstrated and defined as at each university. To thread each of these components together, I compare and contrast campus sustainability engagement programs at ASU, NAU, and UA based on the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) reports produced by The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s (AASHE), as engagement programs are a reflection of the university’s vision, goals, and values brought from theory to practice. My findings are demonstrated in the form of a policy analysis, followed by recommendations on closing the gap where engagement programs and opportunities are potentially missing. These recommendations are intended to advance a stronger culture of sustainability on campus at ASU.

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2020-05

Sense of Place, Place Attachment, and Student Perceptions of Sustainability in the Salt River Valley

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The purpose of this study was to investigate undergraduate sustainability students' engagement with sustainability in relation to their sense of place in the broader Salt River Valley community. The study was guided by two research questions 1) How do undergraduate

The purpose of this study was to investigate undergraduate sustainability students' engagement with sustainability in relation to their sense of place in the broader Salt River Valley community. The study was guided by two research questions 1) How do undergraduate Sustainability students explain their sense of place in the Valley with relation to their perceptions of sustainability? 2) Does residency in a different city, town, or state prior to entering the Sustainability program influence students' sense of place in the Valley? The study consisted of two distinct parts. In the first part, twenty students were interviewed using a narrative inquiry process to understand their perceptions of sustainability, their sense of place in the Valley, and how those two components influenced their engagement with sustainability in their communities. In the second part, these narratives were analyzed, synthesized, and samples of the stories were placed into a creative nonfiction collection to express an overall picture of sustainability in the Valley. Results showed that students generally relied on academic, professional, and social factors to identify places in which they could practice or engage with sustainability. Regardless of previous residencies, students expressed similar frustrations or limitations in expressing their sense of place, as related to sustainability, in the Valley.

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2014-05