It’s amazing to think that, this time last year, we were still adjusting to the realities of a global pandemic, people were waking up to the realities of systemic racial injustice, and the ASU College of Global Futures didn’t even exist!
It’s been a roller coaster of a year in which, on top of everything else, we had the audacity to take two existing schools: the School of Sustainability and the School for the Future of Innovation in Society; add a third–the School of Complex Adaptive Systems–and build a new college around them that creates a unique environment for educating and equipping the future-builders of tomorrow.
In fact, I suspect it’s been such a roller coaster of a ride that many of our graduating students are still slightly bemused by what all this means to them!
The short answer of course is that, in some ways, not a lot has changed. If you’re graduating this semester, you’re graduating from a program and a school that have been around for a while, and that will have given you the world-class foundation on which to build your career that you originally signed up for.
And yet in other ways, everything has changed.
If you’re graduating from the ASU College of Global Futures this semester, you’re now part of an extended family that is uniquely committed to building better futures for everyone. And you’re part of a community that is doing this by breaking down the walls of conventional thinking and blurring the lines between traditional disciplines.
Some of you will be focused on environmental justice or societal inequities, or working toward solutions to increasingly pressing environmental challenges. Others will be grappling with the complex interplay between powerful new technologies and their socially responsible and ethical development and use. Others still will be focused on economics, complex systems, biomimicry, energy transitions, urban transformation and a myriad other areas.
All of this reflects the rich diversity of expertise, programs and initiatives across the college. Yet tying everything together is a common vision of working collectively toward a future that is more just, more equitable, more sustainable, and more vibrant and full of promise, than the present.
This is the connective tissue that makes the college so much more than the sum of its parts.
It’s an endeavor that is bigger than any one school. And this is what makes the college so unique. Of course, we still have a ways to go–this is only Year One after all. But irrespective of which school you’re in, or which program you’re graduating from, you are now part of a college that is committed to empowering people to be builders of a better future, and doing so by weaving together a diversity of ideas, perspectives and expertise.
So to our graduating cohort of future-builders, congratulations. Now go change the world!
Professor Andrew Maynard, Associate Dean of Student Success.