ASU Names New Planetary Heath Center After Longtime Donors Rob & Melani Walton

This week, Arizona State University’s newest research and learning facility was officially named “The Rob and Melani Walton Center for Planetary Health” in honor of the long-time ASU supporters and sustainability donors.

The newly opened Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building 7, located at the southwest corner of Rural Road and University Drive, was named for the Waltons during a building dedication on Tuesday.

Rob and Melani Walton have made multiple investments for ASU to develop and deploy sustainable solutions for energy, water, environment, climate, urbanization and social transformation through the Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Service.

“For ASU, this new facility represents the launch of the new American research university at an advanced trajectory,” said ASU President Michael Crow. “Rob and Melani Walton have been engaged with the university for almost two decades and their commitment has enabled us to do work that has deeper impact, not only in terms of our students and faculty but, in ways that serve the community and now, by bringing people together in this new building, the planet itself.”

The Rob and Melani Walton Center for Planetary Health will bridge programs to better understand the past while developing global solutions for the future, so people and the planet can thrive together.

“ASU has built the infrastructure to lead a revolution in sustainability and conservation that will benefit planetary health in ways we can’t even imagine,” said Rob Walton, co-founder of the Rob and Melani Walton Foundation. “We’re excited about this building, inside and out — from its sustainable design to the work that it will house. Today, ASU is better positioned than ever before to work with public and private partners on regional and global efforts so the planet and all its inhabitants can thrive. We are humbled to be associated with the important work ASU is doing to inspire the next generation of leaders who will solve some of our planet’s biggest challenges.”

Through the Rob and Melani Walton Foundation, the Waltons support projects aimed at finding a balance between human needs and nature’s needs to develop sustainability solutions. 

“The reality is everything on Earth is connected — so promoting environmental conservation, driving community enrichment, and raising human consciousness all contribute to a larger system where people and nature can thrive together,” said Melani Walton, co-founder of the Rob and Melani Walton Foundation. “It’s why we talk about planetary health, which recognizes the health of our planet as a system and emphasizes the importance of the biological well-being of all life. ASU has been an incredible partner in this work.”

The Rob and Melani Walton Center for Planetary Health incorporates several sustainability features, including a mechanical tree to capture carbon emissions and a large atrium biome, filled with plants and water from the canal, that purifies waste air and recycles water using natural, bio-based methods.

“Our vision at the Rob and Melani Walton Foundation is driven by one clear focus: to imagine the possibilities of a healthier and more conscious planet, and to bring those possibilities to life,” Melani Walton said. “We see a more connected and compassionate future; a more thoughtful and more united one. Ultimately, we see a future that looks at the sustainability of people and planet together, through a sense of shared purpose. That’s the kind of future we’re hoping to help create — and it’s the kind of future ASU is making possible.”

About Karen Werner

Karen Werner is the editor of Frontdoors Media. She is a writer, editor and media consultant. She has interned at The New Yorker, worked at Parents Magazine, edited five books and founded several local magazines. Her work has appeared in Sunset, Mental Floss and the Saturday Evening Post.
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