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Arizona State University – 2020 Outstanding Program Award Finalist

The Project Cities program at Arizona State University is one of the 2020 Outstanding Program Award Finalists!

Every year, EPIC-N celebrates outstanding contributions by university programs and community partners through the 2020 EPIC-N awards.

Project Cities is a university-community partnership. Through the program, sustainability faculty and students pair with a city to co-create strategies for better environmental, economic and social balance in the places we live. Students from multiple disciplines research challenging issues chosen by the city and propose innovative sustainability solutions that enable the city to make progress toward a better future.

Arizona State University and the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability have invested significant financial and time resources to support the formation of the ASU Project Cities program and the international EPIC-Network. Project Cities enjoys a growing name recognition around campus and increasing appreciation for the support it provides students, faculty and community.

ASU Faculty consistently convey heaps of praise and gratitude for Project Cities’ ability to lessen their load and ensure their students’ success. For instance, Dr. Nicole Darnall, Associate Dean of the School of Sustainability said,

“This was a terrific experience for me and the students in my class. I thank the Sustainable Cities Network and Project Cities for providing pathways for student engagement with area cities. I also appreciate how Project Cities liaised with city, coordinated the field trip to City of Glendale, and worked closely city officials to encourage them to respond quickly to student queries and draft reports.”

Dr. Nicole Darnall, Associate Dean of the School of Sustainability

Project Cities’s local government partners also praise the program strongly. The City Manager of the inaugural partner, Apache Junction recently said of their participation,

“The city of Apache Junction was extremely fortunate to be the inaugural city for the Project Cities program. All of the projects and studies paid high dividends to the community. Two projects especially stand out. The off-leash dog park analysis led the city to formalize plans, hire a design firm with expected construction in early 2020. The solid waste and recycling project which was done over several years and classes directed the city to a more sustainable method of solid waste and recycling collection and disposal. The city is moving forward with awarding a contract to a single hauler based on the RFP and Ordinance amendments that ASU students assisted the city in drafting. The city can’t say enough positive things about the Project Cities program and how it will continue to work in cities and towns all across Arizona. The communities and students are the beneficiaries of this visionary program!”

City Manager, Apache Junction

The Community Liaison with the City of Glendale, Amanda McKeever said,

“Project Cities has been a wonderful partner for the City of Glendale! Through working with ASU faculty and students, we have found great support and new ideas as we prepare for a more sustainable future. Through this innovative partnership, students have assisted staff on a diverse range of topics, including developing a new social media management plan, identifying strategies for improving community engagement with Glendale’s diverse residents, and generating benchmarks and best practices as our recycling program adapts to a changing market. Project Cities provides a great opportunity to continue strengthening our ongoing partnership with ASU, through a thoughtfully-curated approach to university-community collaboration. Sustainability is an important component for Glendale’s strategic focus on the future, making this partnership a win-win for us.”

Amanda McKeever, Community Liaison, City of Glendale

Additionally, Project Cities’ parent program, the Sustainable Cities Network (SCN), provides invaluable support to local cities who wish to advance sustainability goals. SCN regularly convenes higher level work groups, events and dialogues for municipal professionals, which help to ensure that PC projects have the extra support they need to be fully implemented later down the road.