UOG strengthens partnership with America’s most innovative university
The University of Guam is strengthening its partnership with Arizona State University, a global leader in sustainability that has also been deemed the top innovative school in the country for five years in a row by U.S. News and World Report. A new partnership between the two will advance sustainability-focused research, academics, and community engagement in Guam and the region through initiatives at UOG.
In an Oct. 30 meeting, ASU President Michael Crow invited UOG to become part of its world-renowned Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, which serves as the hub of ASU’s sustainability initiatives involving research, education, and influencing better business practices. The university also houses the nation’s first School of Sustainability, offering degree programs to create practical solutions to social, economic, and environmental challenges.
“We are grateful to be growing our partnership with the university that is pioneering solutions to some of the most pressing needs of our time,” said UOG President Thomas W. Krise, who met with Crow along with UOG Center for Island Sustainability Director Austin Shelton. “We will be working further with ASU to determine UOG’s involvement with the Julie Ann Wrigley institute.”
As part of UOG’s new Para Hulo’ Strategic Plan, the university is focused on becoming known as a partnership university in its quest to serve Guam and the Micronesian region.
“We need strong partnerships to achieve our sustainable future, and we are excited for the valuable expertise and resources that this partnership will bring to UOG and our island region,” Shelton said. “Likewise, islands have a lot to offer the world in return as innovation laboratories developing sustainability solutions.”
The partnership between UOG and ASU on sustainability initiatives kicked off in February 2017, with a delegation to the Tempe, Ariz., campus led by UOG Senior Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs Anita Borja Enriquez. UOG was then invited and sponsored by ASU to become a member of the ASU-supported Global Consortium for Sustainability Outcomes and now works with a network of 12 universities and research institutions around the world to accelerate sustainability solutions.
The GCSO membership led to two collaborations. First, UOG joined the ASU Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Service and Kamehameha Schools in Hawai’i to stimulate new circular economy industries in the islands. Seed funding from GCSO helped kick off the G3 Initiative, intended to grow a new green economy for Guam. An August workshop on transitioning to a circular economy brought together 50 participants from corporations, small businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies.
In the second collaboration, faculty from the UOG School of Education partnered on the Solar Powered Educational Learning Library to bring digital library hotspots on climate change and environmental science to remote island populations. UOG Professor Mary Jane Miller helped train teachers in Fiji over the summer as part of the project.
Next year, there will be an opportunity for students to attend a sustainability leadership practicum in Hong Kong along with students from all GCSO member organizations.
Additionally, the growing partnership with ASU comes at an opportune time to advance sustainability initiatives in Guam and in the region.
In September, Guam became a founding member of the Local2030 Islands Network during the 74th United Nations General Assembly and Climate Week NYC. The network will locally implement the UN Sustainable Development Goals, helping to put the world on a path to a more sustainable, equitable, and prosperous future.
Additionally, Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero signed an executive order to implement a Guam Green Growth Working Group to create an ambitious action framework. The University of Guam will be facilitating the working group.