What should I expect when attending new student orientation? What’s the best way to get around ASU’s campuses? Who the heck is Sparky?
These are some of the questions that prospective Arizona State University students ask every year before embarking on their college careers, and now there’s an ASU podcast that seeks to provide the answers.
The Inside ASU podcast’s tagline is “Real ASU students talk about real ASU life.” Launched in November 2017, the podcast is hosted by current ASU students, sophomore Ben Ashby and senior Emily Pina.
"What better way to communicate the conundrums about the college experience than to have two of our own current students, at opposite ends of their college careers, relaying their own experiences to future Sun Devils?" said Kevin Kovaleski, senior communications director in Enrollment Services at ASU.
Ashby, a film and media production student, agreed.
“Being able to level the playing field with a student perspective just fosters a different type of connection that other students can relate to,” he said.
Ashby hopes to foster a broader student engagement within ASU’s community through the communication of his own student experiences.
“When I first came to ASU, I didn’t really know anybody or much about what happens,” Ashby said. “We did an episode about the various ASU traditions, like whitewashing the 'A,' and the Lantern Walk. Had I heard about these experiences and 'what goes on' from other students, I think it would have prompted me to be engaged in a lot more student activities my freshman year.”
Kovaleski added that the podcast’s reach and resonance with prospective students lies within the genuine conversations that happen between Ashby and Pina, highlighting one particular episode: “How to have a conversation with someone you disagree with."
“That episode really opened up an enormous dialogue between Ben and Emily — it was totally opposite of what you hear in the national discourse about all these disagreements, and it really showed that our students are open-minded,” said Kovaleski.
While the podcast does cover college-experience staples like campus transportation, finances and how to pick your major, Kovaleski stressed that communicating growth and development topics like “How to manage your time at ASU” are just as important for student success.
“Our goal is to make sure that we’re communicating is in the best interest of students. This podcast is a way to maintain a student voice in what it’s like to be an ASU student.”
To that end, there also are topics specific to living on campus in Arizona, with one entire episode dedicated to staying cool when temperatures exceed 100 degrees.
Since launching, the podcast has been downloaded more than 1,900 times on iTunes.
Top photo: Ben Ashby and Emily Pina record the Inside ASU podcast. Photo by Arizona State University