The Environmental Protections Agency (EPA) teamed up with Arizona State University on Wednesday, April 18 by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). This union stems from a combination of environmental concerns within the Region 9 jurisdiction, which includes Arizona, and diminishing diversity of students in environmental fields of study.

Region 9 is a 386,000 square-mile jurisdiction of Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, the Pacific Islands and tribal lands. The EPA has developed a strategic plan to address environmental concerns of Region 9, which include the improvement of air and water, and a reduction of toxins and hazardous waste. The MOU between ASU and the EPA is an action plan that will go towards advancing the Region 9 Strategic Plan.

This collaboration aims to address the Arizona-specific Region 9 concerns over the next three years. By enhancing cooperation between ASU and the EPA, participation in events and activities of both parties is expected to increase.

These programs will be organized and administered by a program committee of selected representatives of ASU and the EPA. Once the committee is formed, they will hold semiannual conference calls and annual meetings to maintain focus and unity. The goal of the MOU is to increase awareness of Region 9’s environmental issues, and to encourage students from underrepresented minorities to pursue STEM education and a career with the EPA after graduation.

Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s regional administration for the Pacific Southwest, emphasized that the MOU is a tool for ASU and the EPA to create a strong and effective bond. The EPA will offer internship, research and employment opportunities to ASU students as well as knowledge and mentorship through career events and outreach activities. ASU students and faculty will work together with the EPA in joint research projects, presentations and other events to assist the advancement of the Region 9 Strategic Plan.

 

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