“We have found that morning events work best for our community, and we serve breakfast burritos, fruit, muffins, juice and coffee,” she said. “ Attendees have a chance to mingle and chat. Then we separate the students and parents. The students get a chance to meet one another in a smaller setting, and the parents have a chance to ask questions of chapter leaders and alums.”

That Q&A time is a vital component for most send-offs, according to the chapter members and hosts who lead them. Students and their families can find out everything from move-in/move-out procedures and how to register for classes to how to make the most of their time at the university. Alumni often have a lot to say about that last question, said Jim Shaughnessy, Class of '72, who has hosted send-offs for the Greater Philadelphia chapter at his home in Paoli, Pennsylvania.

“Alumni often share stories of opportunity,” he said. “[They advise students to] make your ASU experience what you want it to be.”

DeVall added, “The biggest piece of advice I hear at send-offs each year is to get involved in a club or organization. That helps make immediate connections for a student once they are on campus, which can build their resume and make the campus seem smaller.”

Alumni say the send-offs play a crucial role in making a new Sun Devil’s transition to ASU a smooth one. Brooks called the events “an important step in becoming a Sun Devil.”

“Sending a student to college — especially out of state — is a scary experience,” she said. “I think the send-offs make the large ASU community feel much smaller. It helps to have questions answered and the students like knowing that they will recognize someone from home on campus.”

Shaughnessy, who played football under Coach Frank Kush, encouraged new ASU families to attend a nearby send-off for both practical and spirit-boosting reasons.

“Make time for this special event,” Shaughnessy said. “ You will get spoiled by all the Sun Devil love, and you will learn many behind-the-scenes tips for surviving and thriving.”

To learn more about the Sun Devil Send-Offs series, or to register for an event near you, visit https://alumni.asu.edu/events/send-offs.