Since its inception in 2006 with the first sustainability program in the United States, Arizona State University’s (ASU) School of Sustainability has been offering individuals the opportunity to become leaders for change in the field of sustainability through its varied and comprehensive academic programs. The school’s undergraduate and graduate degrees, professional certificates and customized training for businesses and organizations continue to mark ASU’s School of Sustainability as a global leader and innovator. And it was for this reason that Warren Gorowitz, then vice president of sustainability at Ewing Irrigation & Landscape Supply in Phoenix, was attracted to ASU’s Executive Master of Sustainability Leadership (EMSL) program.
“This degree was not a typical canned master’s degree; it was truly unique,” says Gorowitz, who graduated from the program in 2016. “It was designed and instructed by practitioners who had experience in different parts of the business world. The curriculum was fast-paced, dynamic, and included current events. And, I was able to be a student while working full-time and traveling frequently for work.”
The year-long EMSL program is based online with an on-campus component and immersive one-week cohort experience in Washington, D.C. Requirements of 30 credit hours include core courses, electives, the immersive, and a capstone culminating experience. Students also have the opportunity to engage in monthly individual-faculty coaching sessions to support professional and career development.
Designed for professionals with five or more years of work experience, the EMSL program prepares participants to meet the challenges of achieving the three pillars of sustainability—economic, environmental and social—within their businesses, organizations, and communities. EMSL students strengthen their skills in organizational leadership, communication, collaboration and the process of solution-based change.
Gorowitz, now the director of corporate social responsibility at Hunter Industries in San Marcos, California, credits the EMSL experience for preparing him to further his career and sustainability leadership within his profession and community.
“Sustainability can be challenging to integrate into an existing business, and it requires persistence and patience, things that don’t happen overnight,” he says. “Sustainability leaders are often pioneers in their companies and, using the lens of sustainability, they inspire others.”
EMSL benefits continue to impact Gorowitz today.
“The cohort was one of the best parts of the program. We came from different walks of life, backgrounds, and varying knowledge and experiences within sustainability. I have made lifelong friends,” he says, also noting that the program staff worked tirelessly to ensure a positive experience. “The instructors were outstanding. They pushed us out of our comfort zone, but they also knew how to give us the confidence to succeed. Each of their backgrounds was unique in regard to their sustainability experience, but they were masters of the course threads they were teaching.”
For more information, visit ASU’s School of Sustainability at https://schoolofsustainability.asu.edu.