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Sun Devils abound among Phoenix's Four Chambers Press volunteers.
April 17, 2017

Four Chambers leverages ASU and community talent to increase visibility of literary arts in the Valley

Running an independent literary magazine and publishing house is a labor of love.

So perhaps it’s no mistake that Four Chambers Press is named for the quadrants of the human heart and billed as “the heartbeat of independent literature in Phoenix.” Jake Friedman, the founder and editor-in-chief of Four Chambers, is using the small press to help the Phoenix literary scene flourish, because “much like loving another person, you see their potential and want to see them grow,” he said.

Four Chambers comprises a literary magazine, a publishing house and a series of events that bring together readers, poets, budding novelists, essayists, literary journalists, students, untrained writers and anyone who has a desire to connect with others through stories.

“Arts and culture generally bring people together,” said Friedman, who also works as a coordinator for ASU’s Virginia G. Piper Writer Center for Creative Writing. “Particularly literature, and particularly the workshop setting, where you’re spending a lot of time talking with people about their work and understanding them … that, to me, develops a really substantial relationship."

Friedman isn’t the only person on the all-volunteer staff with ASU ties. Several other core members of the Four Chambers team and an untold number of its volunteer army of dozens of lit lovers have taught or taken classes at the university.

Rosemarie Dombrowski — Phoenix’s inaugural poet laureate, an English lecturer in the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts and an editor at Four Chambers — has been involved with Four Chambers since it launched in 2013.

“I just felt like he had such a clear vision that was so community-oriented, coming from an authentic place of love for literature … and the community at large,” she said.

The magazine has given students and others a place to publish their first professional works. And the publishing arm has turned out several books a year, including poetry and short-story collections.

Among them is “Welcome Home: Poetry and Prose for Welcome Hospitality,” a collection of 12 poems and eight prose works that “bring light and sense to our relationship with Phoenix,” according to Kelsey Pinckney, managing editor of the lit mag, assistant director of the publishing arm and Community Advocacy and Social Policy undergraduate student at ASU.

Pinckney wrote the forward to the 2015 book, saying it “speaks to each of us in a different way, but the important thing is the fact that it speaks to us, and we get a chance to say something back — to say thank you, thank you so much, I love you, I don’t know what I would do without you.”

The organization also has been a driving force in bringing together the Phoenix literary scene, lending its manpower, resources and name to scores of events. Among them, “Get Lit,” a night of conversation and community inspired by 17th-century French literary and philosophical salons; Writing Group!, a workshop that gives writers a chance to get feedback on potential submissions; and public readings such as #WritersResist, a call to action for social justice through prose, poetry and essays.

For Friedman, his work is about bridging gaps and creating opportunities.

“We really identify as a community development organization,” Friedman said, adding that his group uses literature to achieve three main goals: to increase visibility, develop a more active community and encourage participation in the larger arts and culture scene across the Valley.

“I felt like Phoenix deserved it,” he said.

 
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bikeASU program has nearly doubled the number of registered bikes on campus.
April 19, 2017

Comprehensive and robust bikeASU program among a handful of initiatives and individuals recognized at annual reception

A Sun Devil biking across campus might seem like no big deal, but there’s more to it.

For years, the university struggled with theft, a lack of bike lanes and inadequate bicycle parking. That was before Arizona State University’s Parking and Transit Services launched its bikeASU program, sparking a series of changes aimed at increasing bike use across the Valley campuses, particularly in Tempe.

It has been such a success that it was honored with a President’s Award on Wednesday

“We give some of our most complex problems to Parking and Tranist,” ASU President Michael Crow said. “With innovations, there are few home runs; most things change a little at a time. These guys took a comprehensive look at everything.”

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One of ASU's five card-access bicycle storage facilities.

BikeASU includes valet stations, card-access storage facilities and a more accurate registration process. The number of registered bikes has almost doubled since the program launched in 2014. 

There are also bike priority areas and shared-use lanes to facilitate safe and convenient commuting, resulting in ASU being the first ever gold-levelThe designation was given to ASU by the League of American Bicyclists. Bicycle Friendly University in Arizona.

For some program organizers, it’s personal.

“The reason I do all of these things for the program is that I’m a bicyclist, too,” said JC Porter, assistant director for commuter services for ASU Parking and Transit Services and part of a seven-member bikeASU team. “I’m happy to see the university has implemented these services, and the students taking advantage of these opportunities.”

The President’s Awards were established by former ASU President Lattie Coor in 1996, and Crow has attended each ceremony since 2003. The awards honor ASU faculty and staff for developing creative and inspiring programs that promote innovation, sustainability and social embeddedness to advance the university, Arizona communities and schools.

“We have this idea that innovations should happen from the core,” Crow said, citing his vision for growth within the university, which has been named the nation's most innovative university by U.S. News & World Report two years in a row.

In addition to bikeASU, which was honored with a President's Award for Sustainability, other winners include: 

President’s Medal for Social Embeddedness

CarePRO: Care Partners Reaching Out

CarePRO is an evidence-based, psycho-educational skills-building intervention for family caregivers of people with dementia. It fosters caregiver empowerment and reduces caregiver stress and distress and enhances positive coping and emotional well-being. Offered in English and Spanish, CarePRO has been successfully embedded into local Alzheimer’s Association chapters across Arizona and Nevada since 2009.

President’s Award for Innovation

Global Freshman Academy

ASU’s Global Freshman Academy gives learners anywhere in the world the opportunity to earn entry-level university credit after successfully completing digital immersion courses hosted on the edX platform, which are designed and taught by leading scholars at ASU. By allowing students to learn, explore and complete courses before applying or paying for credit, GFA reimagines the freshman year and reduces academic and monetary barriers while opening a new path to a college degree for many students.

President’s Award for Innovation

The Bridge: Chemical Purchase Management and Compliance Integration

This is a collaboration between Environmental Health and Safety, Purchasing, University Technology Office and University Business Services to develop software that automatically enters chemicals into researchers’ inventory based on purchase information. It tracks where all chemicals are stored and used to ensure safety and regulatory compliance. 

President’s Award for Sustainability

New Student Orientation Zero Waste Lunches

The 2016 New Student Orientation lunches on the Tempe campus collaborated across university partners to incorporate zero waste operations and engagement practices into the lunches. More than 17,000 meals were served to more than 13,000 guests resulting in a total of 11,664 pounds of waste, all of which was diverted away from the landfill either being recycled or composted.

SUN Award for Individual Excellence

• Erica Buschatzke, Leadership and Interdisciplinary Studies, College of Integrative Sciences and Arts
• Jamie Wright, Information Technology Services, College of Public Service & Community Solutions
• Pamela Marshall, School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences, New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences
• Marsha Patton, The Polytechnic School, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering