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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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Date Created
2020-05