ASU kicks off Earth Month with launch of Zero Waste initiative


April 1, 2014

To minimize the amount of waste heading to the landfill, Arizona State University has launched the university-wide Zero Waste at ASU initiative on April 1 to kick off Earth Month 2014. The initiative hopes to help ASU achieve zero solid waste status by 2015.

The zero waste principle aims for the diversion and aversion of more than 90 percent of trash away from the landfill. Diversion techniques include blue bin recycling, green bin composting and reusing or repurposing; and aversion tactics include reducing or avoiding the use of non-recyclable and non-compostable materials altogether. ASU students sort recyclables Download Full Image

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, an average American generates 4.38 pounds of trash every day, of which 1.51 pounds is recyclable and compostable. In 2012, Americans generated nearly 251 million tons of trash, and only 34 percent was diverted away from the landfill.

"As a New American University, ASU is committed to catalyzing social change and enabling students to succeed by being at the cutting edge of a healthy, sustainable learning environment," said ASU President Michael M. Crow. "By aiming to become a zero-waste university, ASU is not only making progress toward its goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions and becoming climate neutral, but also instilling sustainability as a value in our students, staff and faculty, who form the critical mass to significantly impact the institution, as well as their communities."

“ASU is known for incorporating sustainability into research, education, practice and outreach,” said John Riley, ASU’s sustainability operations officer. “Our efforts to achieve zero waste status bolster our position as a living laboratory where we practice what we preach.”

To increase the amount of waste diverted away from the landfill, the blue bin recycling program, currently available university-wide, will be expanded.

Green bin composting will be available at select locations on the Tempe campus, such as Barrett, Hassyampa, Palo Verde and Manzanita dining halls as part of a pilot program. It will then be rolled out systematically across the university over time and more information will be provided as specific initiatives become available.

Individuals will be able to place recyclables such as hard plastics, glass and aluminum cans into the blue bins available university-wide, and discard organic waste such as food, liquid, paper towels and napkins in the green bins available at aforementioned locations.

"ASU has been testing the zero-waste principle at several of its events with support from partners and vendors," said Nick Brown, director of University Sustainability Practices. "One of our most successful zero-waste events was the March 2014 meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative University. The first day of the event saw 99.1 percent of trash diverted away from the landfill, while the final day witnessed a 94.6 percent diversion rate."

In addition, since the spring of 2013, Sun Devil Athletics has hosted zero-waste athletics events for men's basketball, women's basketball, gymnastics, volleyball, soccer, softball and baseball. In fall of 2013, ASU hosted its first zero-waste football games with the Territorial Cup match-up against Arizona and the Pac-12 Championship game against Stanford.

"The Zero Waste at ASU initiative challenges the status quo; it requires participants to forget everything they know about trash and learn the new way of doing things," said Corey Hawkey, Zero Waste at ASU program manager.

“Everyone has a responsibility; the first step is rethinking everyday activities and using recycling bins,” said Alana Levine, manager of ASU Recycling. “Even if you start small, you are contributing.”

More information regarding the Zero Waste at ASU initiative is available at zerowaste.asu.edu. Ask your questions regarding zero waste by tweeting @ZeroWasteASU.

Media projects manager, Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development

ASU Police Department supports victims of sexual violence


April 1, 2014

The Arizona State University Police Department is joining other police agencies across the nation in signing the “Start by Believing” proclamation in support of victims of sexual violence.

“Many sexual violence victims feel that the very people that they turn to for help often don’t believe them and are critical of them," said Daniel Macias, Arizona State University Police Sergeant. "This only serves to further their victimization. This is a message of support for those survivors, one that we hope will encourage them to report offenses and allow the system to hold the offender accountable. Download Full Image

"We’re also the first university police department in Arizona to sign the proclamation.”

Start by Believing is a public awareness campaign designed to change the way we respond to rape and sexual assault in our communities. Because a friend or family member is typically the first person a victim confides in after an assault, each individual’s personal reaction is the first step in a path toward justice and healing. Knowing how to respond is critical – a negative response can worsen the trauma and foster an environment where sexual assault predators face zero consequences for their crimes. ASU’s proclamation is signed by President Michael Crow and Police Chief John Pickens.

The campaign by End Violence Against Women International seeks to stop the cycle of crime, since rapists attack an average of six times. Therefore, a failed response can equal five more victims, according to the Start by Believing website.

The public awareness campaign started to bring attention to victims of sexual assault, and not revictimize them through disbelief when they report the crime. Disbelief may come from friends, family, nurses, law enforcement or others whom the victim normally would expect to support them.

“Sometimes victims will come forward and they may not be believed or are told they brought it on themselves,” Macias said. “There are many instances that aren’t reported because of fear of being told that someone brought it on themselves. This type of thinking needs to change. We need to start by believing victims of sexual assault when they come forward. It’s traumatic enough.”

Signing the proclamation coincides with Sexual Assault Awareness month in April. Events at ASU include a lunch presentation on healthy relationships, free testing for sexually-transmitted diseases, a sexual health fair, queer health care and self advocacy, and sexual assault prevention and response. More information about events may be found at http://www.sexualwellnessweek.com/events.