ASU's Family Weekend just keeps growing

September 24, 2015

This year, ASU’s Family Weekend will mean a lot more than Mom and Dad visiting their freshman student on campus.

The annual event will include the whole Sun Devil family — transfer students, commuters and young people whose parents aren’t able to visit. ASU student and parents at Family Weekend ASU's Family Weekend allows parents to reunite with their kids in fun, communal environments filled with activities and food. Download Full Image

Arizona State University has held Family Weekend for several years, but participation has skyrocketed recently, according to Zachary Reeves-Blurton, program manager for ASU’s Family Programs office.

About 1,700 people registered for Family Weekend in 2012, and this year’s event has 6,200 signed up.

“Every year has been a record for us,” Reeves-Blurton said.

The event has become so popular that last year students whose families couldn’t attend said they still wanted to be included. So one new event this year is “Friday Fest,” which will feature competitive games, food and music on the intramural fields at the Tempe campus.

Non-traditional students might have families of their own and are less interested in the traditional football-game spirit activities. So this year’s weekend includes a family-friendly movie and kids’ games at “Memorial Union After Dark.”

Reeves-Blurton said the Family Programs office has worked with campus groups to make the event as inclusive as possible.

“Whatever description of ‘family’ you can think of, it’s represented at Family Weekend,” he said.

Here are some of the weekend’s attractions. Several colleges have their own events. For a full list of festivities, click here. For more information, call 480-965-2880.

Tempe campus

ASU Police open house
2:30-4 p.m. Sept. 25
ASU Police Department, 325 Apache Blvd., Tempe

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the station and fleet vehicles and talk to the chief. You can also meet Disney, the department’s canine who’s trained to find weapons, and learn how she keeps the ASU community safe.

Friday Fest
5-7 p.m. Sept. 25
Sun Devil Fitness Complex intramural fields, Tempe campus

Students can join their residential communities for competitive field games, food and music. Families are welcome.

Sun Devil Family Barbecue
5-7 p.m. Sept. 25
Interdisciplinary A/B Lawn, Tempe campus

A family event for graduate, transfer and commuter students, with kid-friendly games and an interactive presentation by students in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts' Theatre for Youth program.

Memorial Union After Dark
6-9 p.m. Sept. 25
Memorial Union and Hayden Mall

A family-friendly edition of MUAD, with an outdoor showing of the animated film “Big Hero 6” and kids’ activities.

Sparky’s “A” Mountain Spirit Hike
9-10 a.m. Sept. 26
Veterans Way Transit Hub

Hike to the iconic “A” on Tempe Butte, take a selfie and paint the “A” gold for the game. Meet at the Veterans Way Transit Hub before the hike up the mountain.

Signature Barbecue
4:30 p.m. Sept. 26
Tempe City Hall Patio, 31 E. Fifth St.

Enjoy a tailgate-style barbecue before heading to the stadium for the football game between ASU and USC. Registration and tickets are required, with a limited number of tickets sold at the door.

Barrett, The Honors College

Families with students in Barrett, The Honors College at the Tempe Campus can have breakfast, meet faculty and participate in a mock “Human Event” class from 8 a.m. to noon Sept. 26. Barrett families at the Downtown Phoenix campus can tour Chase Field on Friday and meet faculty afterward.

Downtown Phoenix campus

The campus' Family Field Day will feature sack races, tug-of-war and other games from 3 to 5 p.m. Sept. 25 at the Sun Devil Fitness Complex, 350 N. First Ave., Phoenix. That will be followed by the “Devil Yell” spirit event from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Student Center, 522 N. Central Ave. Close out Friday night by watching the animated film “Inside Out” at 7 p.m. at Civic Space Park, 424 N. Central Ave.

Polytechnic campus

The Poly Engineering Car Show will showcase vehicles created by students in the ASU Chapter of the Society of Automotive Engineers from 4 to 6 p.m. Sept. 25 at the Sun Devil Fitness Complex. That will be followed by Italian food and bocce ball from 6 to 8 p.m. At 8 p.m., families can head over to Cooley Ballrooms for an interactive murder-mystery game that includes dessert. 

West campus

The Family Fork-Out will be held 6 to 8 p.m. Sept. 25 at Casa de Oro Residence Hall, followed by an 8 p.m. screening of the movie “Inside Out” in the quad.

Mary Beth Faller

Reporter, ASU Now


ASU experts weigh in on Pope Francis' speech to Congress

September 24, 2015

Pope Francis’ speech to Congress on Thursday, the first by a pontiff, made history and invited a different perspective in an institution packed with entrenched viewpoints.

“Pope Francis has a remarkable ability to enlarge issues that have been divisive and find room within them to bring everyone together,” said Tracy Fessenden, an associate professor in Arizona State University’s School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies. Pope Francis and President Barack Obama Pope Francis (shown with President Barack Obama at the Vatican on March 27, 2014) is drawing both cheers and criticism for his views delivered before Congress on Thursday. Photo by: Pete Souza/White House Download Full Image

The emotion of Vice President Joe Biden, a Catholic Democrat, showed almost as much as the tears of House Speaker John Boehner, a Catholic Republican from Ohio who invited the Pope.

“That’s testimony,” Fessenden said, “that the pope can speak to both sides of the aisle in a powerful way.”

Or use faith to address a contentious issue enmeshed in science.

“One reason climate-change policy has become so dysfunctional is precisely because it was initially viewed as a matter of science,” Brad Allenby, professor of engineering and ethics at ASU, wrote in an op-ed for the Arizona Republic. “It necessarily involves questions of morality, religion, culture, values, economics and other non-scientific perspectives…under such circumstances, it seems entirely appropriate for religious figures and institutions to become part of the discussion.”

In a chamber where debate over illegal immigration splinters the members, Francis spoke as a son of immigrants reminding a nation of them that they were once foreigners.

Roughly 30 percent of Arizona’s population is Hispanic or Latino, with undocumented immigration fueling that growth, and 52 percent of the state's Hispanics and Latinos identify as Catholic, according to the Pew Research Center. They see this Pope quite differently, as extraordinary, said Gary Kellers, ASU Regents’ Professor and director of the university’s Hispanic Research Center.

“It is a great occasion of pride among Latinas/os that he is a native-born, native speaker of Spanish,” Kellers said, “and is really involved in Hispanic issues and interests.”

Francis provides a different lens even for those of his faith, Fessenden said, but not a break from the church.

“What he’s doing is retrieving a deep message that is already a part of Catholicism,” she said. “What we saw in his speech is that Francis is really a great conciliator.”

The viewpoint he brings is inclusive, ASU experts said, rather than disruptive and progressive.

“Francis is concerned about growing the church and the need to speak to those who have fallen away,” said John Carlson, associate professor of religious studies and associate director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict at ASU “He is trying to show that while official church teachings may not change, a pastoral emphasis on welcoming in and expressing forgiveness or showing mercy to those who have felt ostracized from the church is a way to bring them back into the fold.”

Was the seat of national government the right place?

“Most Catholics recognize … that religion and politics do intermix at times,” Carlson said, “and at times in very constructive ways.”

Emma Greguska

Reporter, ASU Now

(480) 965-9657