His patience and persistence paid off when he received a newsletter from city councilmember Paul Cunningham about a city grant program for street water harvesting.
“I replied back and said it was a great grant program, but would be even better if we could use the water on private property,” he says. “That was the nudge needed to get things moving. I knew it was something the city already wanted to do — we just had to take it a bit further.”
During a meeting at the city councilman’s office, it was made clear that the council’s goal is for street water harvesting to be maximized, and city staff needed to do whatever they could to work with people who are able to achieve it. A second meeting was then held with the whole council, with nearly everyone reiterating the same message.
“They asked the city manager if there was anything in the regulations that precluded it, and he said no,” Dante says. “Now the next step is figuring out what does need to be written down so our ordinances aren’t just silent on this issue, but encourage it.” Dante credits the concepts he has learned through ASU Online with his success in dealing with the city — and has been pleasantly surprised by online learning in general.
“When I applied it was for very practical reasons, and I actually assumed the experience wouldn’t be as good as a classroom,” he says. “I’ve been very positively surprised by how much the environment is similar to an in-person class. It’s a shared learning experience with a cohort of people, so you have a support group. I’ve gotten to know my classmates faster and better than I think I might have in a classroom setting because we are constantly having an online dialogue. Plus, the structure of the program is very well thought out.”
He encourages people to not only enroll, but also to take the time to reach out and interact with peers and instructors individually and, when possible, face to face.
“I’ve reached out to people who live in the Phoenix and Tucson area,” he says. “Especially with respect to instructors — any instructor that I contacted was more than happy to return the communication. Don’t be intimidated, and don’t be afraid to reach out.”
Learn more about ASU Online’s Master of Sustainability Leadership program.