More than 1,500 prospective students, guests expected to attend More to Explore

The choose-your-own-experience program to take place Presidents Day weekend

February 8, 2016

Alexis Egeland thought she would study at a small college near the beach in her home state of California. The aspiring journalist’s mother suggested she attend More to Explore to check out Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

“I thought it sounded amazing, but wasn't totally sold on going out of state and leaving my friends, family and the beach,” said Egeland, 18. students visiting booths at ASU fair Prospective students and families can personalize their schedule of activities at each campus to tour state-of-the-art facilities, sit-in on classes, and check out open house events like Sparky’s Resource Fair hosted at the Polytechnic campus. Download Full Image

Her Presidents Day visit to the Downtown Phoenix campus last year convinced the Rancho Cucamonga native that Cronkite was the right college for her.

“The things that I got to experience at More to Explore are the things that I get to do every day as a student here at ASU,” she said “I was expecting to get to see a couple of facilities and maybe get to sit in on a class. But I was taught how to operate a news camera and sit behind the anchor desk, reading the news. It was really what set Cronkite apart and made me fall in love with the school.”

Alayna Mallory, 19, from Queen Creek, Arizona, felt the same way.

“I learned a lot about how I would pay for tuition and what scholarships to apply for,” the Perry High School alumna said. “I got to sit in on a design class, tour the library and talk to tons of current ASU students. Everyone I came in contact with was so kind and helpful.”  

More to Explore is a choose-your-own-experience visit program for high school and transfer students. This event allows students to build their own schedules for the day. They can choose from academic, admission and financial aid sessions; campus, housing and facility tours, including lab spaces, libraries and the Sun Devil Fitness Centers; Barrett, The Honors College information sessions and tours; and student engagement opportunities. The event boasts more than 300 activities and sessions, and it takes place across four campuses located in the Phoenix metropolitan area.

High school students who are admitted to Downtown Phoenix, Polytechnic, Tempe or West campus also have the opportunity to spend the night in a residence hall on Sunday, Feb. 14.

“More to Explore secured my decision to attend ASU because of how welcome I felt,” Mallory said.

Her overnight visit at the Tempe campus was a highlight of the experience. “I stayed in McClintock Hall with an extremely nice young woman who answered all of my questions and introduced me to tons of new people.”

More to Explore is ASU’s single largest recruitment event throughout the year, hosting more than 1,500 students and their families over two days. The Downtown Phoenix campus will host events on Sunday, Feb. 14, while the other ASU locations will have their More to Explore activities on Presidents Day, Feb. 15.

Matt Ellis, executive director of Admission Services, hopes each student leaves the event confident in their decisions to become Sun Devils.

“Simply put, we intend to have students fall in love with ASU. It is Valentine’s Day weekend after all,” he said.

Egeland says her experience at More to Explore was an honest glimpse at her life as a freshman at the Cronkite School.

“My first semester, I took three major-specific classes and worked behind the scenes on Cronkite News, which is broadcast weeknights to thousands of homes across Arizona. Now, in my second semester, I am taking two major-specific classes, I work two jobs on the State Press [the ASU student-run newspaper], and I work twice a week on the news show.

“If you want a school that will help you do what you love from the day you move in, ASU is the place for you.”

Mallory, now a communications and English literature double major, encourages students to tour every residence hall available to their major and “don’t be afraid to ask any questions.”

“Even if you aren’t totally sure what you want to do, go to a couple sessions for anything that interests you,” she added.

To learn more or register for More to Explore, visit

Putting a price on nature, literally

Researchers figure out a way to put a price on untapped natural resources with the goal of trying to sustainably manage those assets

February 8, 2016

We know that nature is valuable, but how does this value compare with other assets? Not as lumber or drinking water or a fancy dinner, but as standing forests, healthy aquifers or living organisms — what is the dollar value of this natural capital?

Arizona State University economist and sustainability professor Joshua Abbott can calculate an answer. Abbott — with lead author Eli Fenichel of Yale and colleagues from California State University at Chico, Michigan State University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — published findings on such values Feb. 8 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Joshua Abbott Arizona State University economist and sustainability professor Joshua Abbott. Download Full Image

The research team developed an interdisciplinary equation to estimate the current monetary value of natural resources, like groundwater, before it is pumped to the surface and used.

To calculate the value of natural capital, you start with the same economic principles used to value traditional assets, then factor in changes in ecosystems and human behavior that influence the appreciation or depreciation of that natural resource, Abbott explained. The result is a figure that can be compared on a balance sheet with traditional assets like real estate, factory machinery and infrastructure.

“Without an apples-to-apples valuation approach, the value of natural capital cannot be measured against other assets and expenses,” Abbott said. “Our work can help governments and businesses track the sustainable use of natural resources.”

The authors’ quantitative framework enables the valuation of natural capital in a way that is grounded in economic theory, accounts for biophysical and economic feedbacks and can guide interdisciplinary efforts to measure sustainability.

To illustrate their framework, the authors applied it to the value of groundwater in the Kansas High Plains Aquifer. The aquifer is rapidly depleting as farmers use the water to support food production.

Over the decade of 1996 to 2005, according to the authors’ calculations, Kansas lost approximately $110 million per year (2005 USD) of capital value. By depleting groundwater and changing the way they managed the aquifer, Kansas created an annual loss in wealth approximately equal to the state’s 2005 budget surplus.

“Without a calculation like ours, policy makers would lack critical information about how food production impacts our water wealth,” said Abbott.

“Kansas can improve the sustainability of its agricultural system through careful groundwater management, such as policies that truly foster water-efficient agriculture, and investments in other natural and traditional assets to help offset its lost water wealth,” said Yale’s Eli Fenichel.

Globally, groundwater supports 40 percent of the world’s food production. Abbott says the framework they have published would apply to any groundwater supply, not just the Kansas aquifer. It can also be applied to other natural resources.

Previously, the authors calculated the value of fish in the water as compared to fish sold at market.

The authors’ framework can help policy makers develop better measures of local, regional or even national sustainability — a need expressed by prominent agencies such as the World Bank and United Nations Environment Programme. 

“Sustainability is ultimately about making sure that the portfolio of assets we give future generations — including natural capital, but also our knowledge and physical infrastructure — is at least as valuable as the one we inherited,” Abbott said. “Our research helps us do a better job of bringing nature into the balance sheet of society, so that policy makers and business leaders can do a better job of evaluating trade-offs.”  

Director, Media Relations and Strategic Communications