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Striving for sustainability: “Clime” pilot advances a more green UTO

ASU student

Climate awareness is a top priority at ASU. Ranked #1 in this year’s Sierra Club's "coolest schools," a competition among North American colleges and universities for the title of “most environmentally friendly,” ASU’s dedication to sustainability is undeniable. 

Sharing in that dedication is ASU’s UTO, having launched the “UTO Climes'' project in partnership with ASU’s University Sustainability Practices (USP) this semester. The three-week, interactive pilot was designed by USP to help UTO members monitor and reduce their carbon footprint. The first cohort included 19 participants, who undertook the challenge of setting lower-carbon dietary goals for themselves to lessen the unintentional environmental impacts of their meal choices. 

“I thought the New York Times stated it well when they said‘ ‘Does what you eat have an effect on climate change? The answer is yes, absolutely.’” Kelly Mukherjee, a portfolio owner and lead of the UTO Climes project, shared during a Mastering Leadership presentation, where participants were required to find a problem to solve.

Assisted by informational climate change and recipe resources to bolster "Clime goals," pilot participants were able to learn and grow as they progressed through their enriching, climate-conscious journey. One participant, Breanna Smith, felt emboldened to incorporate Clime lessons into her daily life: “I will be looking into creative ways to eat what I love with less impact.” This sentiment was shared by Lorenzo Vallone, whose experience throughout the pilot was transformational: "[Clime] was life changing for me and my family.”

Creating a long-term plan for substantial lifestyle changes, such as dietary preference, is no simple task. However, engagement and support between participants was rife within the program, encouraging aspiring green-thumbs to persevere in their conscientious efforts to better the world around them, one sustainable choice at a time