Sun Devils stand united for charity

Thousands participate in largest philanthropic event of the year

April 12, 2016

For the third consecutive year, Arizona State University partnered with the Valley of the Sun United Way to present Sun Devils UNITE on April 3-9 across ASU’s campuses, raising awareness and money for Arizona’s most underserved populations.

“Our goal for this week is to help raise ASU students’ awareness of the community objectives through impactful storytelling, conducting community service, raising funds and igniting a passion for social change. Sun Devils are change-makers, and collectively we can make a huge difference,” said Nathan Baker, president of the Student United Way. Students paint a mural during the Devils in Disguise day of service. Senior psychology major Lacey Saucer helps paint a mural that runs alongside a community garden in Phoenix, along with other Sun Devil student volunteers during the Devils in Disguise day of service April 9. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now Download Full Image

The weeklong humanitarian series of events addressed the most critical challenges facing surrounding communities. Sun Devils UNITE events are hosted by student organizations to raise awareness among the ASU community about the Valley of the Sun United Way and support the objectives of the organization, to include:

• ensuring kids succeed
• ending hunger and homelessness
• increasing financial stability of families and individuals

“It is important for students to give back to the community, because it allows us to see the community outside of our general perspective,” said Alexx McGuire, a sophomore medical studies major. “It brings the community together as one and strengthens the bonds between different levels of the community.”

The philanthropic week opened April 3 at ASU Gammage with Greek Sing, the largest and oldest charitable event presented annually by fraternity and sorority men and women of ASU. With more than 300 students participating, the Greek community teamed up to create, choreograph, direct and perform musicals to raise money to benefit the Valley of the Sun United Way.

“We are very thankful for our continued relationship with Valley of the Sun United Way,” said Nicholas Sweetman, Greek Sing co-chair and member of Delta Sigma Phi fraternity. “Our partnership has not only allowed us to directly impact the Valley, but also better educate our fellow students on local community needs while developing a stronger sense of responsibility and concern for the communities in which they live.”

Sun Devils UNITE week culminated April 9 with Devils in Disguise, the largest student-led day of service at ASU. Student organizations at ASU participate in this project by activating volunteer sites at which to engage and encourage their fellow Sun Devils to sign up and devote a Saturday to serving the local community.

The American Medical Student Association (AMSA) at ASU was one of many student organizations that volunteered during this special event. The group helped Hopefest prepare for its event, where thousands of uninsured, underinsured and underserved individuals receive free services including medical, dental and vision care.

“Devils in Disguise is important to AMSA because it helps to solidify our goals and motives in giving back to the community and be able to volunteer in aspects outside of the medical field,” said McGuire, who is an AMSA member. “It allows us to be well-rounded and see the culture of the community we live in.”

During the week, significant strides in combating hunger, homelessness and assisting children and families in the Valley were made:

• More than 300 students performed in Greek Sing, and the event raised about $100,000
• More than 1,500 students participated in the Devils in Disguise Day of Service event and performed more than 4,500 hours of service to more than 35 nonprofit community agencies
• More than 2,100 weekend hunger kits and hygiene kits were prepared, aiding impoverished youth and the homeless

“It was great that over 1,500 students from ASU were able to engage 35 nonprofit partners in Devils in Disguise,” said Nicholas Stevenson, Devils in Disguise student coordinator. “What makes Devils in Disguise so special is that it truly is the anchor for Sun Devils UNITE Week that brings together thousands of students for the betterment of our local community.”

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Year One: Life at ASU — Hannah keeps it real

April 12, 2016

Editor's note: In "Year One: Life at ASU," we follow five freshmen through their first year at Arizona State University in an occasional photo series. This is the latest for one of them, Hannah Kieling.

Training to be a nurse means learning all about the human body and its many functions; in Biology 201, students such as Hannah Kiesling covered the cranial nerves and prepared for upcoming exams. The instructor, Matt Speer, also took them for a visit to the cadaver lab, demonstrating the muscle anatomy of the arm.

Kiesling is the only freshman research intern in a study with Felipe Gonzalez Castro, studying how the “Keepin It Real” substance-abuse prevention program has been adapted at a local level with teachers in Pennsylvania and Ohio. Through her work there, Kiesling has learned to interview participants in a research study without influencing answers through body language or responses, as well as how to do independent work with upperclassmen and graduate students in a professional environment.