Sustainable Cities Network earns Green Government award

March 5, 2013

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized Arizona State University’s Sustainable Cities Network and its efforts in educating and promoting sustainability throughout the state.

On March 4 Jared Blumenfeld, the EPA’s Region 9 administrator and former director of the San Francisco Department of the Environment, presented the network’s program manager Anne Reichman with the Pacific Southwest Region’s 2012 Green Government award at ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability. group photo of Sustainable Cities Network volunteers Download Full Image

Reichman says the past four years have been busy for the network, and collaborations outside of Phoenix have increased.

“The network shows what can happen when organizations and individuals come together and focus on the positives and the things they share in common,” says Reichman. “Sustainability is a very broad topic so it’s exciting to convene the cities on some very specific areas such as solar and energy efficiency.”

The Sustainable Cities Network was developed as a program within the Global Institute of Sustainability in response to challenging sustainability issues surrounding Arizona. Through local partnerships, the network brings together experts, community members, tribal leaders and city officials to gather lessons learned and share them with neighboring cities. Work groups collaborate on sustainability issues such as solar installation, urban heat island mitigation, city-wide recycling initiatives and neighborhood design. 

“Sustainability is really about where you live,” says Blumenfeld. “And the network that’s been created from in and around metro Phoenix is really a testament to what the Sustainable Cities Network has been willing to do, and also a testament to ASU’s work in the community and ability to think about not just global issues, but local issues.”

Since the network’s inception in 2008, volunteers have connected with local and tribal sustainability practitioners from more than 25 jurisdictions and Maricopa County. The Sustainable Cities Network is an excellent example of ASU leveraging its place and supplying research to surrounding communities.

“It’s nice to see the cities use the network as a vehicle by which they can share what they’ve learned,” says Reichman.

Since 1999, the EPA has acknowledged scientists, organizations, teachers, journalists and others for their significant contributions to “protecting public health and preserving our natural surroundings” through its Environmental Awards.

Together, the EPA and the Sustainable Cities Network provide real-world solutions in ways that are applicable, adaptable and resourceful.

For more information on the Sustainable Cities Network, visit

Celebration marks opening of new Downtown Phoenix student center

March 5, 2013

Students at ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus have cause for major celebration with the addition of a new 24,000-square-foot student center filled with many amenities, meeting rooms and open space.

An opening celebration and ribbon-cutting for The Student Center @ the Post Office, 522 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, took place March 5. ASU President Michael M. Crow, civic officials, community members and several ASU students were on hand to commemorate the occasion. Download Full Image

"The Student Center @ the Post Office has increased the opportunity for students to gather and create new memories to enhance and shape their college experience,” said Georgeana Montoya, dean of students on the Downtown Phoenix campus. “So far the center has welcomed speakers and hosted several programs and we continue to see the possibilities of how impactful having the space is for students." 

The two-story facility is an adaptive re-use of an existing space in the Historic Post Office and took almost two years to plan and construct. The center features amenities such as a student lounge, convenience kiosk, 70-inch television, recreation room, game zone, mediated collaboration and presentation spaces, conference room, a large atrium and a “front porch” area opening to Civic Space Park.

The space also houses headquarters for the Programming and Activities Board, Undergraduate Student Government Downtown and Changemaker Central, a global nonprofit network of social entrepreneurs that supports entrepreneurship education in colleges and universities.

Hours of operation will be from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturdays; and noon to 8 p.m., Sundays.

The $4.7 million refurbishment was funded through a student government endorsed fee of $75 per semester and their feedback was solicited and incorporated throughout the design and construction process. The space is consistent with ASU’s focus on being one of the healthiest universities in the nation by promoting a space where students can engage.

The center also fulfills ASU’s commitment to sustainability and includes a number of energy saving features designed by Holly Street Studio Architects, a Phoenix-based firm. Features include natural day lighting, energy efficient lighting systems, low-flow water fixtures, new infrastructure for future Solar Hot Water system, and open vertical circulation to encourage use of stairs vs. elevators.

“It’s important to remember that the greatest impact to sustainability is where to house a project and ASU should be commended for its foresight. In the case of adaptive re-use, the design team’s task is to find ways to hit aesthetic and programmatic goals by seeing potential and transforming the space from one use to another. It happens all the time in older places but it’s exciting to see it happening in our own backyard," said Diane Jacobs, a principal architect with Holly Street Studio.

Students on the Downtown Phoenix campus pursue degrees offered by ASU’s School of Letters and Sciences, College of Nursing and Health Innovation, College of Health Solutions, College of Public Programs, and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Barrett, the Honors College also maintains an active presence on the campus, with students in all majors eligible to participate in Barrett programming.

For more information about the new ASU Student Center @ the Post Office, call the dean of students office at 602-496-4357 or

Reporter , ASU Now