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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


ASU's School of Transborder Studies names new interim director

August 16, 2017

The nation’s first School of Transborder Studies at Arizona State University has named professor Lisa Magaña as the new interim director of the school.

For nearly 20 years, Magaña has been a part of the faculty in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. She teaches courses on immigration, transborder studies, Chicana/o studies, Latino/a politics and policy in Arizona. In her new appointment as interim director, she will continue to inspire students to become agents of change who will solve critical challenges at the intersection of borders and society. ASU professor Lisa Magaña Professor Lisa Magaña has been named the interim director for the School of Transborder Studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University. Download Full Image

Magaña will be influential in the promotion of academic excellence for the school by advancing interdisciplinary knowledge of the Chicana/o and Latina/o experience in the United States-Mexico borderlands. She’ll also be crucial in the development of integrated transborder scholarship to affect transborder policy and social practice.

“Dr. Lisa Magaña brings intelligence, optimism and energy to the leadership role in the School of Transborder Studies,” said Elizabeth Wentz, the dean of social sciences in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “With strength of character and the capacity to lead, we look forward to working with Lisa in this next chapter of the school.”

Magaña has contributed scholarship to the areas of immigration, urban policy, migration and Latino/a politics. She’s the author of “Straddling the Border: Immigration Policy and the INS,” and “Mexican Americans and the Politics of Diversity.” More recently, she completed the manuscript, “From A to Z, Latino Politics and Immigration in Arizona,” which is currently under review.

Magaña’s impact is broad. She has been a research associate at the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute and visiting lecturer and assistant professor at Pitzer College; University of California, Los Angeles; and California State University at Dominguez Hills and Williams College. She’s also been interviewed by major media outlets, such as NPR, BBC, PBS, the Associated Press and MSNBC. 

Effective August 15, Magaña will become the interim director of the school as professor and sociocultural anthropologist Alejandro Lugo completes his appointment as director. Lugo’s scholarship and teaching in the history of the United States-Mexico borderlands and border theory has helped advance the school’s mission of creating more prosperous and sustainable transborder communities.

“With genuine gratitude, I thank Dr. Alejandro Lugo for his two years of service as director of the School of Transborder Studies,” Wentz said. “Through his broad vision of what it means to be ‘transborder,’ the school is posited to understand and solve many of the complex problems faced globally.”

Amanda Stoneman

Science Writer, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering