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State Press reports that Starbucks is working with Arizona State University to open a research center that will focus on "sustainability and better serving its communities."

According to the story, "The ASU-Starbucks Center for the Future of People is slated to open this December at the Tempe campus and currently comprises over a dozen faculty members from multiple schools at ASU with plans to expand and create opportunities for student involvement. The team members specialize in a variety of disciplines including engineering, design and sustainability … The center aims to develop new proposals for sustainable practices like greener store designs and sustainable, appealing food options. The projects would be developed by both ASU and Starbucks teams, then piloted in ASU's Starbucks locations."

State Press points out that the arrangement builds on an existing relationship between Starbucks and ASU:  Starbucks "has nine licensed stores across ASU's four metropolitan Phoenix campuses and the Starbucks College Achievement Plan, which offers eligible Starbucks employees full tuition for ASU's online degree program."