The Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Service at Arizona State University (WSSS) works to imagine and design local and global communities that are resilient and prosperous. By elevating public understanding of the intersections between environment, society, and commerce, this set of ASU programs funded by the Rob and Melani Walton Foundation (RMWF) fuses science and creativity to inspire responsible innovation and empower change makers.
The vision of WSSS is ambitious, but simple: to “harness the knowledge within the University to deliver solutions for the complex challenges of sustainability.” WSSS engages expertise from a variety of partners and collaborators inside and outside the university, including academic leaders, international specialists, impact investors, social enterprise organizations, public-private partnerships, and B corporations. Together, the team at WSSS works to:
- Solve: Creates custom, actionable, and scalable solutions to local and global sustainability challenges. The programs at WSSS span boundaries in the Phoenix community and beyond, helping communities develop solutions in twelve countries on six continents across the world, in many ways as a result of RMWF’s strategy to leverage investments by capitalizing on opportunities for connection and collaboration.
- Educate: Supports future leaders by developing the knowledge and skills to accelerate these solutions. In 48 states, K-12 teachers are implementing sustainability projects and programs in partnership with WSSS to reach over 310,000 students.
- Engage: Inspires people of all ages to explore, create, and support innovation in sustainability to make our planet a better place. A perfect example of an idea that started small and has rapidly expanded its reach, WSSS began programming Sustainability in Science Museums in partnership with the Arizona Science Center and California Academy of Sciences. Today, the Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability in Science Museums Program has reached 191 museums in all 50 states and 32 countries through its fellowship program and sustainability demonstration kits, with a potential reach of over 72 million people around the globe.
WSSS’s results-oriented approach to programming and its flexibility in adjusting its practices based on real-time outcomes has led to greater advances in innovation and helped further ASU’s position as a global leader in the movement for a sustainable future.
WSSS’s mission to go beyond the walls of academia can be seen in its community partnerships.
- When St. Vincent de Paul began planning the revitalization of its urban farm in Phoenix, RMWF connected WSSS to the project to share expertise around designing the space and materials to use. A graduate student at ASU is also assigned to provide ongoing consultation on the farm’s sustainability practices.
- RMWF also connected WSSS with Liberty Wildlife to implement sustainable design and construction of the facility and grounds at the Rob and Melani Walton Campus of Liberty Wildlife.
- ASU works with Conservation International to protect the environment by encouraging food producers to adopt sustainable practices and catalyzing future conservation innovation.
- The Sustainability Solutions Festival actively supports global events and activities year-round, culminating in an annual February gathering of experts and partners at ASU to explore ways we can work together toward a more sustainable future.
We invite you to visit the inspiring work of WSSS HERE.