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'Engage and confront challenging ideas,' Crow tells ASU's newest freshmen at rally

August 15, 2017

First-year students learn about traditions and what university has to offer at high-decibel Sun Devil Welcome at Wells Fargo Arena

Members of Arizona State University's 11,500-strong freshman class gathered together for the first time Tuesday for the traditional Sun Devil Welcome rally.

Busloads of freshmen poured in from the Polytechnic, Downtown Phoenix and West campuses to Wells Fargo Arena on the Tempe campus, with everyone clad in gold T-shirts to learn how to properly flash a pitchfork and sing the fight song.

The screaming crowd watched hula dancers from the Hawai’i and Pacific Islander Club and performers from the ASU Hip Hop Coalition, saw a video on the tradition of whitewashing the “A” on A Mountain and watched Sparky make a dramatic entrance in the darkened arena.

Video by Laura Sposato/ASU

Brittany Benedict, the Undergraduate Student Government president for the Tempe campus, exhorted the students to get involved in the more than 1,100 clubs and groups at ASU.

“If you have ideas or suggestions, you have the power to have your voice heard,” she said.

“The opportunities at ASU are endless. No dream is too big and no goal is unattainable. Step outside your comfort zone. Start a new organization. Study abroad.”

President Michael Crow told the students they might face struggles this year, missing their families, doubting their abilities and thinking that ASU is not the place for them.

“We are here to help you through all that. Everyone that’s sitting in this room is qualified to attend a research university, and we have already predicted that you have the capability to graduate from this university,” he said.

“Everything that we are, everything that we do, all of our faculty and staff, the counselors, health services, athletic department, everything, is here for you.”

He asked them to embrace the challenges they’ll inevitably face.

“Move out of your comfort zone. Don’t try to get all A’s by taking courses you know you can get an A in. Don’t not work with someone you’re not comfortable working with. Engage and confront challenging ideas,” he said.

“Do not just walk by something you don’t agree with. Do not just walk by something that can be enhanced by you.”

After the rally, the energized freshmen poured out of the arena, ready to begin college.

“I really liked it,” said Nikki Taylor, a psychology major. “I liked hearing about all of the groups and seeing what everyone was doing. I’m interested in the ukulele club.”

Top photo: Biology freshman Lauren Dillon (center) cheers for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences during roll call at Sun Devil Welcome on Tuesday afternoon at Wells Fargo Arena on Tempe campus. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now 

Mary Beth Faller

reporter , ASU Now


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Herberger Institute season provides opportunities for ASU students.
August 16, 2017

2017–18 season of events gives students opportunity to become better designers and artists

Her sophomore year, Anissa Griego served as the assistant director and choreographer for the Lyric Opera Theatre student production of “Grease.” It was one of the greatest challenges of her life, onstage or off.

“I personally struggled through the process and battled with disappointment in myself,” said Greigo, a senior musical theater student in Arizona State University's Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.

But then she ran into someone who had seen the show. 

“She told me she never particularly liked ‘Grease’ as a show, but she had so much fun with our specific production, the actors and everything, that she really enjoyed it,” Griego said. “That meant so much to me. The real heart of our show was the blood, sweat and tears our crew put in, the patience and talent of our actors, and just simply, the love for what we do. It was reassuring to know that an audience member could leave with that, and they had so much fun nothing else mattered.”

Not only did Griego  play a part in providing a unique cultural experience for this audience member, but she also learned a lot from that production — something she wouldn’t have been able to do without an audience.

Attending a performance or an exhibition at the Herberger Institute is more than just seeing a show — it's helping students become better designers and artists, and preparing them to be the changemakers and cultural catalyst of tomorrow. For Herberger Institute students, practicing their craft in a laboratory environment and performing and sharing their work with an audience in the world-class venues at ASU is part of their educational experience, and the audience members are participating in that education every time they attend a show or visit an exhibition.

This fall the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts launches another season and, with it, the chance for the surrounding community to play a critical role in the lives of young designers and artists. 

Lily Montgomery says that as an art student at ASU, the opportunity to exhibit work in ASU art galleries gives her an advantage.

“I know plenty of well-known art schools where graduating MFA students don't get a solo show because they don't have the space,” Montgomery said. “It's an incredible advantage. As a post-MFA student, applying for any high-profile residency or research opportunity requires you to have an impressive CV of both solo and group shows. It puts ASU students ahead of the game if they use the opportunities wisely.”

Montgomery also finds the School of Art exhibitions valuable to her education because they provide her the chance to flex her curatorial skills.

“Curating is a skill that, like any profession, you have to learn,” she said. Montgomery has curated two shows in ASU galleries, including “Good Wonder,” which is part of the Herberger Institute’s 2017–18 season of events and opens later this month in Gallery 100.

“This showcasing and sharing is central to our pedagogical philosophy,” said Kimberlee Swisher, a lecturer in the School of Arts, Media and Engineering.

Swisher says when digital culture students present their projects at the end of each semester during the Digital Cultural Showcase, feedback from the community of people who could be using that work in the future is critical. And that’s not the only benefit students get from sharing their work.

“There is another more hidden benefit, too,” she said. “When students know they are going to share their work, they are compelled during the creation process to think about their work from multiple perspectives other than their own. This means that their perspective is shifted during the development process towards thinking about how they will present and describe their work to the audience at the showcase.”

For students involved with performing arts events, including musicians, actors, dancers and those working behind the scenes, the Herberger Institute’s concerts, theater productions and dance showcases allow them to hone their skills.

“It's a way of having a fresh perspective, and almost like a chance to test out and put forward everything that has been polished in classes with professors,” Griego said. “Getting to have an audience not only puts my education and studies to the test, but clarifies that this is what I want and am meant to be doing.”

Visit for a full listing of season events, and create your own season from the hundreds of events on offer. Patrons who buy tickets to three or more performing arts events before Sept. 15 save 25 percent on the total price.


Top photo: “Distance // Cloudlight” is a piece created by School of Art graduate student Lily Montgomery. Montgomery has curated an art show for the Herberger Institute’s 2017–18 season of events. (Courtesy photo)

Sarah A. McCarty

Communications and marketing coordinator , School and Film, Dance and Theatre, Herberger Institute