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Steve Russell seeks to share resources and learn together to improve the world

Steve Russell

Program Manager
Project Cities
Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability
Arizona State University
+1 480-727-2698
Twitter: @ProjectCitiesAZ
Instagram: @ProjectCitiesAZ
Steve’s LinkedIn

Favorite Place

The Sonoran Desert is a truly fantastic and beautiful ecosystem. It is absolutely beautiful, hardy, diverse, and resilient; it adapts to significant challenges and survives.

What was your first interaction with a school-community partnership project? 

As a recent graduate student myself, I always sought out opportunities to double-dip my school work into addressing real-world challenges. Whether it was writing a grant for a local nonprofit, evaluating potential impacts on a local stormwater management system, or recording a podcast for the local farmers’ market, I have always found more meaning and greater lessons in applied work.

How did you first learn about EPIC-N?

I was hired into an EPIC-N program and first learned about the network during a several months-long session of drinking from the fire hose of running a program.

What are some of the top priorities you are working on this year?

Relationship building, value propositions, and brand awareness are my primary focuses at this stage.

In what ways are you looking to engage, or work with others, either from within the EPIC-Network, or in general?

I seek to share best practices and learn together from one another’s’ experiences.

Why do you think the EPIC-Network is important?

Sharing resources so we don’t have to recreate the wheel every time we do something.

What is your favorite part of the EPIC-Network?

EPIC-N Program Manager, Marshall Curry’s cute baby, Zoltan is–hands down–the best part of the EPIC-Network.

What do you want a community, or university, to know about the EPIC-Network?

EPIC-N is a world-wide coalition of programs with a similar mission: to make the world a better place and improve the student learning experience through win-win partnerships. The people are pretty cool too.

What led you to participate within the EPIC-Network in your current capacity?

Tapping into the EPIC-Network was integral to on-boarding into my new job at ASU. It was a no-brainer to be involved, as it offered the opportunity to ask questions of people who have faced very similar challenges to the ones I face, running Project Cities.

What are you hoping attendees will take with them after attending your presentation?

For my “Report Writing Best Practices and Program Structure” presentation, I hope attendees will learn from our successes so they can replicate those, and from our failures so they can avoid making the same mistakes.


Steve Russell is the Program Manager of Project Cities, an initiative of the Sustainable Cities Network at Arizona State University. Russell holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and Bachelor’s Degrees in Sociology and Interdisciplinary Studies, also from ASU. His most recent professional roles include directing the local food program at the nation’s largest coalition of local businesses, Local First Arizona, and launching a carbon management and urban forestry pilot program for ASU. Russell is a current member of the City of Tempe’s Sustainability Commission, where he assisted in the development and passage of the Tempe’s Climate Action Plan, 2019. Russell has also held numerous past public service roles, including: service with AmeriCorps, a seat on Arizona Department of Education’s Farm to School Advisory Committee, and founding membership in the Maricopa County Healthy Local Food Systems Coalition. Russell is a Phoenix, Arizona native and life-long Sun Devil.

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