University innovators lauded for disaster relief, virtual learning tools


April 10, 2014

The President's Award for Innovation provides formal recognition to ASU teams that have made significant contributions to ASU and higher education through the creation, development and implementation of innovative projects, programs, initiatives, services and techniques.

This year, the innovation awardees included two teams who are helping advance virtual learning and disaster relief. ASU student in classroom Download Full Image

Quest2Teach is a series of game-infused 3-D virtual learning curricula, unified by a social-professional network, designed for teacher education. These immersive experiences provide authentic and individualized practice for future teachers, while bridging between theory and practice. Quest2Teach is the first of its kind in teacher education, created at ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College through a unique collaboration between our Center for Games & Impact and our partner game-design studio, E-Line Media.

In Quest2Teach, future educators create an avatar and evolve their professional identity over multiple semesters in a variety of 3-D role-playing storylines within instructor-guided courses in the Teachers College. Quest2Teach provides safe, immersive experiences where learners can tackle authentic problems, fail safely, see the impact of their decisions and gain fluency in these practices. Students’ endeavors in the game then appear on their network homepage, evolving their real-world identity across semesters and student teaching. The Quest2Teach network provides a place to share and reflect with digital colleagues, locally and internationally.

The team's research with hundreds of students has shown significant learning and engagement gains, and students report increased confidence in their teaching, higher fluency in these practices and learning how "to actively do" (rather than "know about") these theories in practice.

Team members
Center for Games & Impact, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College
Anna Arici, Sasha Barab, Kathryn Dutchin, Adam Ingram-Goble, Lee McIlroy, Bill Slease, Janis Watson

Catherine Weber, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College

Ryen Borden, Benjamin Clark, Sanford Inspire Program, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College

E-Line Media
Logan Barnett, Graeme Bayless, Jared Beauchamp, Alex Burley, Demi Du, Scott Foust, Steve Malandra, Jake Martin, Justin Messner, Elio Rutigliano, Jeff Seaman, Brenden Sewell, Joscelyn Stephens, Jesse West

The Data Mining and Machine Learning lab has created systems employing social media since 2010 to connect first responders to actionable information in massive crowd-sourced data. This use-inspired innovative solution addresses the challenge of focusing information and technology to produce meaningful change by creating new kinds of value and a real impact in the critically important area of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

The project implements novel social media tracking and analytics systems: TweetTracker, TweetXplorer and ASU Coordination Tracker, which have been used in disaster tracking, reporting and research.

The systems impact existing processes for disaster relief and produce meaningful change by:

• reducing the time and effort required by first responders to track major disasters such as Hurricane Sandy and the Arab Spring through Twitter

• creating interdisciplinary collaborations with NGOs and institutions for creating scalable, real-time systems

• promoting relevant research through developing projects and sharing data, and publishing books and technical articles to enable researchers and practitioners to build on the findings

• engaging undergraduate participation in research

Team members
School of Computing, Informatics, & Decision Systems Engineering
Huan Liu, Shamanth Kumar, Fred Morstatter, Huiji Gao, Mohammad Ali Abbasi, Reza Zafarani, Grant Marshall, Daniel Howe, Mark Karlsrud, Xia Hu, Jiliang Tang, Pritam Gundecha, Zhuo Feng, Salem Alelyani, Xufei Wang,
Ashwin Rajadesingan

Suhas Ranganath, School of Arts, Media and Engineering
Jose Augusto Andrade Filho, Federal University of Sergipe, Brazil

Britt Lewis

Interim Communications Director, ASU Library

From biofuel to waste diversion: ASU employees awarded for sustainability solutions


April 10, 2014

Sustainability is a balance of environmental, social and economic concerns. ASU staff and faculty are advancing sustainability by demonstrating exemplary practices, sharing solutions leading by example to catalyze change.

The President's Award for Sustainability recognizes ASU teams that have demonstrated excellence in fostering the successful development, implementation and promotion of sustainability principles, solutions, programs and services in the teaching, learning, research and business missions of the university. solar panel parking lot on ASU Tempe campus Download Full Image

ASU Green Labs

In 2011, Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) implemented a program designed to promote an enhanced awareness of sustainability in the university’s laboratories that would result in a decrease in ASU’s overall carbon footprint. Laboratories tend to use three to eight times more energy than a comparable-sized office. EH&S is responsible for managing lab safety registrations and performing lab safety inspections for all of ASU’s 1,400-plus registered laboratories. This responsibility gave them an opportunity to create and implement the ASU Green Labs Program, which is founded on the conviction that scientific education and research can be conducted in sustainable ways without adversely impacting research quality.

The program began its inception with an EH&S-hosted Sustainable Lab Webinar, and it has expanded to include 240 certified Green Labs. The program has actively engaged over 450 lab employees and students and 13 ASU schools and departments in sustainable practices. EH&S has shared and partnered in sustainable lab solutions with SOLS, DACT, Biodesign, Harvard University, University of Colorado, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Alliance Laboratory Solution Team and 22 other universities.

The program’s ongoing goal is for labs to be empowered to act, following the Green Labs assessment process, to reduce waste and increase resource efficiency in ASU lab buildings.

Team Members
Michael Ochs, Environmental Health & Safety
Dave Jaggers, Environmental Health & Safety
Leon Igras, Environmental Health & Safety
Robert Ott, Environmental Health & Safety
Betty Lombardo, University Sustainability Practices
Daniel Dickson, Student Media
Danielle Barrs, ASU Alumna
Jehnifer Niklas, ASU Alumna

B99 Biodiesel Fueling Station Project

A collaborative project involving ASU Facilities Management and Maintenance Stores, ASU students, REVbiodiesel, Brown Evans Distributing and Aramark has resulted in the construction of a biodiesel fuel tank and dispensing system. The system dispenses B99, a biodiesel fuel that is made from 99 percent used vegetable oil. Aramark’s used fryer oil is collected by REVbiodiesel, converted to the B99 and then sent to ASU by Brown Evans Distributing, a local company owned by ASU alumni. The fuel is used in maintenance vehicles and equipment in the Facilities Management Grounds and Surplus Property departments.

The B99 biodiesel fuel, which is considered carbon neutral, replaces the petroleum diesel previously used in the vehicles, so this is a step toward ASU’s carbon neutrality goal. Through the fall 2013 semester, 2,200 gallons of used fryer oil was collected from Aramark and converted to B99. As of January 2014, the use of B99 on campus reduced CO2 emissions by over 42 tons.

Team Members
Ellen Newell, Facilities Management
Michael Schantel, Facilities Management Grounds Services
Diana Gallese, Materials Management, ASU Stores
Larry Sorenson, Capital Programs Management Group
Maureen King, Materials Management, Mail Services
Kerry Suson, Surplus Property
Danny Alvarado, ASU Maintenance Stores
George Spoonmore, Facilities Management

Dan Rees, REVbiodiesel
Bob Flynn, REVbiodiesel
Kathye Brown, Brown Evans Distributing
Tim Sweeney, Brown Evans Distributing
Mark Panzica, Brown Evans Distributing
Anna Krithis, Aramark

Salt River Project Waste Diversion Program

In mid-2013, Salt River Project (SRP) engaged the Sustainability Solutions Services (S3) of the Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives to help them understand how to maximize waste diversion potential, increase the amount of materials recycled and reduce the environmental impact caused by their landfill.

In partnership with SRP and the city of Phoenix, S3 put together a team of ASU students, faculty and staff and SRP volunteers who performed a hands-on waste characterization study during a four-week period in September-October. The team sorted over three 3 of waste to identify the greatest areas of opportunity for waste reduction.

Based on the data produced from the waste characterization study, the S3 team went on to suggest six waste reduction solutions, which, when implemented, will divert an additional 866 tons of waste over 10 years and mitigate 79 metric tons of CO2 emissions. The diverted waste will reduce hauling costs by $65,000 and increase recycled material revenue by $50,000, for a total savings of $115,000.

Team Members
Global Institute of Sustainability (GIOS)
Chris Boone, Rob Melnick

GIOS, Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives
Patricia Reiter, Dan O'Neill, Rajesh Buch, Jessica Groeneveld,
Kristen Osgood, Richard Rushforth, John Hetrick, Seth Blumen,
Jeffery Butler, Shane Farmer

GIOS, University Sustainability Practices
Nick Brown

City of Phoenix
John Trujillo, Dan Montgomery, Kevin Grapes,
Robert Martinez, Jesse Duarte, Lorizelda Contreras Stoeller

ASU Solarization Program

What began as a pair of humble student demonstration projects at the Tempe campus has blossomed into a $160 million investment in the largest system of installations at a U.S. university.

ASU is now the leader in harnessing solar energy among U.S. institutions of higher learning. Since being launched by Facilities Development and Management in 2009, the ASU Solarization Program has developed 86 solar systems across its four campuses. The program has added 22.8 megawatts (MWdc) of clean, renewable energy, which totals 23.5 MWdc of electrical power produced at ASU.

The energy produced by the ASU Solar Program is equivalent to the energy needed to power 3,523 homes. The estimated annual electricity production of 40,505-megawatt hours (MWh) avoids 21,991 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year, reducing ASU’s carbon footprint by 7.1 percent – comparable to removing 4,311 cars from the road.

By July 2014, the ASU Solarization Program is expected to reach its 25 MWdc capacity goal, with plans to have more than 25.1 MWdc of photovoltaic (PV) solar, concentrated PV (CPV) solar and solar thermal systems at 90 locations across the university.

Team Members
David Brixen, Facilities Development & Management
Jean Humphries, Capital Planning Management Group
Karl Edelhoff, Capital Planning Management Group
Robert Vandling, Fire & Systems Support Technology
John Meredith, Office of the University Architect
Phillip Plentzas, Facilities Development & Management
Gerald DaRosa, Facilities Development & Management
Eric Jensen, Capital Planning Management Group
Bob Backus, Facilities Management Carpenter Shop
Jason Thomas, Facilities Management Electric Shop
Ray Humbert, Parking & Transit Services
Wendy Craft, Business & Finance Communications Group

Ameresco Southwest, Inc.
Jason Scott, Daniel Hunter, Mike McGill, Jim Lindmair, Tyge Nason

Arizona Public Service
Randy Clawson, Dan Daley, Patti Diaz, Renée Guillory, Keith Mercurio

Gammage & Burnham, PLC
Michelle De Blasi

Britt Lewis

Interim Communications Director, ASU Library