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Children’s literature activist to speak at ASU indigenous lecture

October 12, 2016

For Debbie Reese, cutting classes in high school was an opportunity to indulge her passions. Rather than finding trouble, however, she used that time to volunteer at Head Start, a program dedicated to helping impoverished youth.

The Illinois-based educator has always been drawn to helping others, especially kids, which was inspired by her upbringing. Debbie Reese / Courtesy photo “What I'm doing isn't for me and my well-being,” says scholar and critic Debbie Reese about her work dispelling literary stereotypes of Indigenous people. “It is for the children, Native and not, who will read those books.” Reese will give an ASU-sponsored lecture on Oct. 20 at the Heard Museum in Phoenix. Download Full Image

“I remember that as a child growing up at Nambé Pueblo, our elders taught us that the things we do are not for us as individuals, but for our community.”

Reese has incorporated those values into her life’s work as a scholar and activist. She is the publisher of the blog American Indians in Children’s Literature (AICL), which provides critical perspectives and analysis of Indigenous peoples in children’s and young adult books, school curricula, popular culture and society.

“What I'm doing isn't for me and my well-being,” she said. “It is for the children, Native and not, who will read those books.” 

Reese will speak about the work of dispelling misconceptions in her presentation “Some Truths, but Lots of Lies: Indigenous Peoples in Children’s Literature” in the fall 2016 Simon Ortiz and Labriola Center Lecture on Indigenous Land, Culture, and Community. The ASU-sponsored lecture will take at 7 p.m. Oct. 20 at the Heard Museum in Phoenix. An on-campus, meet-and-greet reception with Reese will take place at the Labriola Center in Hayden Library also that day at 10:30 a.m.

In public and for the public

Since its beginning in 2006, AICL has been a heavy influence on authors and readers alike — sometimes even prompting authors to make revisions to their work.

“A good example is Ashley Hope Perez's ‘Out of Darkness,’” Reese said. “It isn't about Native people, but it did have a character saying he was the ‘low man on the totem pole.’ That is one of those common phrases people use that embodies lack of knowledge of the Native peoples who create and use totem poles. I wrote to her, and she edited that passage out of her book. It does not appear in the second printing.”

Reese shares that this immediate impact is precisely the reason she does public-facing work.

“I launched my blog with the goal of making my research accessible to anyone who had access to the Internet,” she said. “Most scholars publish in journals and books that teachers, parents, and librarians never see or can't afford.”

It wasn’t until pursuing her doctorate at the University of Illinois that Reese became aware of the extent of the misrepresentation of Native peoples. To her amazement, she found an overarching ignorance of American indigenous culture outside of indigenous communities, even at the university level.

Reese remarks that her acknowledgment of her Nambé heritage at school, “led to people asking or inviting me to dance at their gatherings. I was surprised by that and realized how deeply they were miseducated by the university's stereotypical Indian mascot, ‘Chief Illiniwek.’

Starting at the beginning

When she also struggled to find books with accurate portrayals of Native culture to read to her own young daughter, Reese decided to change her focus of study from family literacy to depictions of Native peoples in children’s texts. Reese had come to understand that she could help address the rampant misconceptions with young children, long before they reached university.

“I started looking critically and found images like that of the mascot in much-loved books: dearly-loved characters, like Clifford the Big Red Dog, [who] wears a headdress in one of Norman Bridwell's books,” Reese said. “My research found that children were far more likely to see that sort of thing in their books than stories and images that accurately portray us.”

With a refocused passion, Reese became a vocal leader while at the University of Illinois; she helped establish the Native American House and an American Indian studies program at the university.

Reese has amassed a plethora of awards and achievements. She regularly travels around the country to speak publicly about Native American culture and representation. As a touchstone, she points to a widely cited concept discussed by Rudine Sims Bishop in the 1990s — that books can function as “mirrors, windows and sliding glass doors,” validating and reflecting children’s lived experiences. Reese’s motivation is to create more opportunities for accurate reflections of, and for, American Indians.

“We need those mirrors for Native children,” Reese said, “and we need more people in our communities and university settings to speak up about those distorted mirrors.”


The Simon Ortiz and Labriola Center Lecture on Indigenous Land, Culture, and Community at Arizona State University addresses topics and issues across disciplines in the arts, humanities, sciences, and politics. Underscoring Indigenous American experiences and perspectives, this series seeks to create and celebrate knowledge that evolves from an inclusive Indigenous worldview and that is applicable to all walks of life. Simon Ortiz, a poet of Acoma Pueblo heritage and the series namesake and organizer, is a Regents’ Professor of English and American Indian studies at ASU.

ASU sponsors include the American Indian Policy Institute; American Indian Studies Program; Department of English; School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies (all units in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences); the Indian Legal Program in the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law; Labriola National American Indian Data Center and ASU Libraries; School of Art in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts; and Women and Gender Studies in the School of Social Transformation. The Heard Museum is a community partner.

More information about the Indigenous Lecture Series is available on its website.


Written by Josh Morris

Kristen LaRue

coordinator senior, Department of English


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October 10, 2016

A new way to fund highly efficient buildings provides the resources for two of ASU's newest buildings

As the new Student Pavilion rises on ASU’s Tempe campus, much is being touted about its green qualities. “Net zero energy,” “zero waste’” and “90 percent project diversion,” proclaim fabric posters on the fence surrounding the construction site. 

The building is designed to achieve a LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Platinum ranking, the highest ranking of efficiency by the U.S. Green Building Council. It also will be ASU’s first “net zero energy building,” meaning it will use no more energy than can be produced on site annually. 

But there is another side to the greening of new building construction at ASU.

The bonds used to fund the construction of the Student Pavilion and the Biodesign C building are “green bonds.” These bonds are a relatively new finance instrument that allows investors to invest directly in projects identified as promoting environmental sustainability on ASU’s campuses, said Joanne Wamsley, vice president of finance and deputy treasurer.  

This is the second time green bonds have been used to fund ASU building construction. The first, in 2015, provided the funding for the Beus Center for Law and Society, the new building on the downtown campus that houses the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law and other organizations. 

Wamsley said ASU’s green bonds have enjoyed strong investor interest from insurance companies, investment companies and individual investors.  

“These bonds call attention to our on campus sustainability efforts,” Wamsley explained. “They show that sustainability is a core value of the university.”

For the Student Pavilion, to be a net zero energy building means it will showcase the university’s goals for carbon neutrality and sustainable systems, Wamsley said. 

The Student Pavilion will be a 74,650-square-foot student-centric facility. On the first floor of the building will be event space for up to 1,200 people, which can be reconfigured into three smaller spaces. The second floor will include space for student government and student organizations, and the third floor will include classrooms and house other academic functions.

construction on ASU building

The new 74,650-square-foot Student Pavilion, rising on the Tempe campus just northeast of the Memorial Union, will provide new event space, office space for student government and student organizations, and classrooms. The goal for the structure is to be a net zero energy building and be certified LEED Platinum. Construction began in March and is expected to be completed next August. Photos by Charlie Leight/ASU Now


Green features of the building include:

  • Water efficiency achieved through water-efficient landscaping, bioswales — landscaping features used to collect and filter stormwater — for landscape irrigation and purple pipe installation for future interior reclaimed-water use.
  • Energy and atmosphere strategies including implementation of full rooftop photovoltaic solar cells, high-efficiency HVAC system, chilled beams and a high-performance building exterior.
  • Materials and resources, including use of recycled and regionally sourced materials and a 90-percent-plus construction waste diversion from landfills.
  • Indoor environmental quality will be achieved using low-emitting materials, LED energy-efficient lighting, interior day lighting and solar tubes to draw in natural daylight.

The Biodesign C building, which recently began excavation just east of the Biodesign complex, will be a multi-functional research building that will add about 188,000 square feet of space. It will include a mix of wet and dry lab space, lab casework and research support space. The five-story-plus-basement building will promote research “neighborhoods” that foster collaborative research and maximize opportunities to advance ASU research.

Green features of Biodesign C include:

  • Water efficiency achieved through design measures to reduce water usage of laboratory equipment, as well as the indirect water usage associated with building cooling.
  • Energy and atmosphere strategies like advanced HVAC and energy-recovery systems designed to optimize energy performance, chilled beams and a high-performance building exterior.
  • Indoor environmental quality will be achieved through use of low-emitting materials, high-performance laboratory fume hoods and energy-efficient lighting with daylight and occupancy controls.

The building is being designed to meet, at a minimum, LEED Silver certification.

In all, Wamsley said the recent green bond sale to fund these buildings provided about $160 million, making both buildings 100 percent funded through the green bond sale.

Associate Director , Media Relations & Strategic Communications


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Join ASU emeritus professor on walking tour of Latino history at Tempe campus.
Latino influence can be seen everywhere at ASU.
October 7, 2016

Emeritus professor Christine Marin to guide walking tour of Latino historical points of interest on Tempe campus

Before the entrance to Hayden Library was underground, it was flanked by a growth of shrubs. During the 1970s and '80s, Latino students began congregating in the area, where they hosted civil-rights rallies, raised funds for the Red Cross or simply shared a conversation before class. Over time, it became known as “the Chicano Bush.”

Today, there is no evidence of the Chicano Bush on what is now Cady Mall, but Christine Marin, a graduate student at ASU in the 1980s, remembers it clearly. Marin went on to earn her PhD and is now an ASU emeritus professor. If anyone can tell the story of the hidden gems of Latino history on the Tempe campus, it’s her.

On Thursday, Oct. 13, she’ll do just that, as she guides a walking tour stopping at various points of historic significance as Hispanic Heritage Month comes to a close. The tour will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. and will begin at the Interdisciplinary B building, room 164, with the School of Transborder Studies' historic map collection.

Hosted by the Recovering ASU Latin@ History Working Group, the tour is free and open to the public.

“Throughout the tour, we’re going to see the many contributions and vibrant history of Latino students here at ASU,” said Marin.

This is the first year ASU has offered such a tour. The idea came to ASU CAMP Scholars program director Seline Szkupinski Quiroga as she was guiding an Access ASU tour for children of migrant workers for the School of Transborder Studies. The lightbulb went off when she realized, “These kids aren’t seeing themselves in this tour,” she said. “I felt we needed a walking tour that highlighted Latino culture.”

Southwest Pieta sculpture by Luis Jimenez

"Southwest Pieta" by Luis Jimenez

The resulting tour includes such spots as the former site of the aforementioned Chicano Bush; the 10-foot fiberglass statue “Southwest Pieta,” by Luis Jimenez; “The Old Church” on College Avenue and University Drive; and the MEChA mural at the Memorial Union.

The theme of Southwest Pieta, involving a grieving man and a dead woman, is taken from Mexican mythology.

“It’s a Romeo-and-Juliet story of two lovers who are turned into volcanoes by the gods,” according to a statement by Jimenez, who passed away in 2006. “It is the most common image along the low-rider vans and on restaurant and barrio murals.”

The Old Church, also known as St. Mary’s, is now the home of the All Saints Catholic Newman Center. Back in 1903 when it was built using real adobe bricks, it was Tempe’s first Catholic church and a place for the local Latino community who worked at Charles Trumbull Hayden’s flour mill or the railroad to gather and worship.

The MEChA mural in the east entry of the Memorial Union dates back to the 1970s, shortly after the Chicano Civil Rights Movement spurred student activism and the creation of the Mexican American Student Organization (MASO) in 1968. Marin was one of the original founders.

By 1970, MASO became known as MEChAMEChA stands for Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlan (Chicanx Student Movement of Aztlan). Aztlan is the legendary ancestral home of the Aztecs, and "Chicanx" is a gender-neutral form of Chicano/Chicana.. The student group painted the mural to depict more than 500 years of Mexican/Chicano history, featuring the Classic Era of Indian Mexico, the Aztec Stone of the Fifth Sun and iconic figures such as Emiliano Zapata and Cesar Chavez. It is said that when Cesar Chavez made his first visit to the ASU campus, he met with the MEChA students and participated in the painting of the mural.


As the tour demonstrates, Latino history and culture can be seen everywhere at ASU; one just has to know where to look.

The Oct. 13 tour will come to an end with a reception on the second floor of Hayden Library. There, attendees can learn about the Chicano Research Collection, located on the fourth floor of the library in the Luhrs Reading Room.

For more information, contact Theresa Avila at or Seline Szupinski-Quiroga at For more information about the Chicano Research Collection, contact Nancy Godoy at


Top photo courtesy of the Chicano Research Collection, depicting the first ASU Mexican-American Student Organization, Los Conquistadores, circa 1940s.




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ASU helping state achieve education goal

ASU helps Arizona achieve educational goal.
Arizona's plan to set educational attainment goals was proposed by @michaelcrow
September 16, 2016

The university is a partner in a new initiative to increase the number of Arizonans with post-secondary degrees

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey joined a community-based educational alliance on Friday in announcing a plan to substantially increase the number of college degrees earned in Arizona over the next decade and a half.

The goal is to raise the state’s degree or professional certificate attainment from its current rate of 42 percent to 60 percent by 2030.

A group of 60 community, business, philanthropic and education organizations have joined the initiative to make Arizona’s workforce more innovative and competitive. 

“A 21st century economy requires a 21st century workforce,” Ducey told a group of key education, philanthropic and business leaders, at a press conference announcing the venture.

“The message is clear: an additional education past high school is a must. We have to do this. We must do this. And through this goal, we will do this.”

This initiative, called Achieve60AZ, aims to create a more highly-educated population in order to build Arizona’s tax base, decrease poverty, improve social outcomes, replace thousands of baby boomers who are retiring, and attract more business to the state to compete on a national and global stage.

Arizona State University President Michael M. Crow, who called for such an initiative at a breakfast with Arizona legislators in January, said he supports the goal.

“That higher level of education in our society drives scientific discovery, technological invention and understanding in all the fields that guide us forward,” Crow said in a statement released shortly before the governor’s announcement.

In his remarks earlier this year, as he has in many recent speeches, Crow tied the educational attainment to the economic success of the state.

“I can guarantee that reductions in educational attainment, with fewer people going to college, fewer people learning to become master learners, as a percentage of the population, won’t produce good outcomes,” he said in January.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people with a college degree tend to earn more than non-graduates, have better health, have pension plans, vote, volunteer, spend more time with their children, and are capable of adapting to various careers throughout life. 

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey talks about the goals of the Achieve60AZ initiative to boost educational attainment at the Franklin Police and Fire High School in Phoenix, on Friday, Sept. 16. The initiative is a community-based alliance with the goal of having 60 percent of adults with a professional certificate or college degree by the year 2030. Above, Arizona Board of Regents President Eileen Klein speaks about the initiative. Photos by Charlie Leight/ASU Now


The same data also show the earning power of education. In 2015 dollars, workers can expect to earn $678 on average per week if they have a high school diploma; $738 for those with some college or no degree; $798 for associate degree holders; and $1,137 for individuals with a bachelor’s degree.


ASU, a member of the Achieve60AZ initiative, has as a charter goal the mission to include and educate as many people as possible

“We believe it’s very good to be goal oriented in our actions, and this initiative will help mobilize and organize all of our efforts in achieving those goals,” said Mark Searle, ASU’s executive vice president and university provost.

According to Searle, ASU has increased the number of people earning degrees from more than 14,000 people in 2007 to roughly 20,000 last year.

That is in part due to increasing efforts to reach out to Arizonans and college-going students around the country to offer them the opportunity to attend ASU.

The university is also helping more students earn degrees by providing online programming that awards undergraduate and graduate degrees. The ASU Pathways Program prevents Maricopa County Community College District students from wasting time and money on credits that don’t transfer. In addition, ASU is also cooperating the community college students on reverse transfer, which helps transition students to the university and retroactively awards them an associate’s degree. 

Once enrolled, ASU works closely with students to keep them on track, through programs such as eAdvisor, an online tool which prescribes a pathway to graduate in all of ASU’s 370 undergraduate majors, and courses like ASU 101, in which students learn time-management and academic integrity. In ASU 101, students are also introduced to the values of the university, including its focus on sustainability and entrepreneurship. The course teaches all entering freshman best practices to be academically successful in college.

Achieve60AZ has outlined four key focus areas to help achieve their goal, which include: increasing college readiness and high-school graduation rates; putting policies in place to make it easier for adults to finish their certificates or college degrees; raising awareness about options beyond high school and making them affordable; and engaging businesses, governments and educators to identify and close the workforce gap. Specific strategies and tactics will also be developed to track and measure progress.

“The effort behind this effort is truly inspiring,” said Eileen Klein, president of the Arizona Board of Regents. “There are many organizations in our state working to increase job certifications earned and college-going rates.”

Klein said the alliance allows for an ability to share information to help the most students achieve.

“We don’t want students getting lost along the way.”

Reporter , ASU Now


Gratitude for your attitude: ASU launches free Sun Devil Rewards app

ASU merchandise, exclusive experiences available to Sun Devils around the world

September 14, 2016

Now, there’s an app for that.

Arizona State University has announced the launch of Sun Devil Rewards, its new official loyalty program app. Sun Devil Rewards awards “Pitchforks” to users who connect with the university via the app by playing trivia games, answering surveys and polls; attending events; sharing news stories; connecting socially via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram; purchasing ASU merchandise online; and more. Sun Devil Rewards The fun and engaging Sun Devil Rewards app keeps score with Pitchforks that can be redeemed for free prizes, everything from VIP tickets and golf packages to autographed memorabilia and exclusive tours of ASU landmarks. Download Full Image

Unlike most rewards programs, which require purchases to obtain product discounts, Sun Devil Rewards keeps score with Pitchforks that are earned simply by interacting with the app and redeemed for free prizes.

“This app is, pure and simple, a rewards program; the university’s unique way of saying thanks to its family of 400,000-plus alumni around the world, its faculty, staff, students and everyone who is engaged with ASU,” said Dan Dillon, university chief marketing officer. “There is no cost whatsoever, and Pitchforks are earned easily, just by doing what Sun Devils normally do, which is being a part of the fabric of ASU, following its progress and activities and staying connected.”

Pitchforks can be redeemed for unique ASU experiences, Sun Devil merchandise and sweepstakes opportunities. Among early rewards are VIP tickets and backstage passes to ASU Gammage events, golf packages, autographed memorabilia and exclusive tours of such ASU landmarks as the world’s largest university-based meteorite vault. Additional rewards and sweepstakes prizes will be regularly added to the program catalog.

When registering for the first time, users can immediately earn 250 Pitchforks by tapping the “Secret Word” button on the app homepage and entering ASULAUNCHNEWS.

“This is our way of honoring alumni and all advocates of Arizona State University,” said Dillon. “We have built an app that is inviting, engaging and rewarding for all.”

To download Sun Devil Rewards, go to the Apple App or Google Play stores.


Written by Stephen Des Georges, ASU Enterprise Marketing Hub 

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ASU selected nation's most innovative school for second straight year

ASU officials say ranking reflects school's overarching approach to innovation.
ASU has topped innovation list in each year the category has been surveyed.
September 13, 2016

U.S. News & World Report puts Stanford at No. 2; MIT comes in third

For the second consecutive year, Arizona State University is the nation’s most innovative school, according to U.S. News & World Report rankings.

The widely touted list compares more than 1,500 institutions on a variety of metrics. The latest review, released today, is based on a survey of college presidents, provosts and admissions deans around the nation. ASU has taken the top spot in each year the innovation category has been considered.

The back-to-back No. 1 rankings demonstrate that the news magazine’s annual poll recognizes ASU’s overarching approach, rather than a single initiative or moment, university officials said.

“We do things differently, and we constantly try new approaches,” ASU President Michael M. Crow said. “Our students’ paths to discovery don’t have to stay within the boundaries of a single discipline. Our researchers team up with colleagues from disparate fields of expertise. We use technology to enhance the classroom and reach around the world. We partner with cities, nonprofits and corporations to support our advances as the higher-education economy evolves. This ranking recognizes the new model we have created.”

Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology took the No. 2 and 3 spots, respectively, maintaining last year’s positions. Georgia State, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Carnegie Mellon, the Georgia Institute of Technology, Northeastern, Portland State, Purdue and Michigan filled out the rest of the top 10Because of a tie there are actually 11 schools with a top 10 rank. .

Voting panel members nominated up to 10 colleges or universities making the most innovative improvements for curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology and facilities.

In the year since its first No. 1 ranking, ASU has extended its global reach by joining with universities in the United Kingdom and Australia in an alliance to meet education needs in developing nations. ASU also has launched the Global Freshman Academy, which allows students to take online classes and decide later whether to pay for the credits. The school has also defied skepticism over putting laboratory classes on the web and offers the first online, accredited engineering degree.

Public and media attention to last year’s top ranking often highlighted ASU’s groundbreaking Starbucks College Achievement Plan, which offers full tuition reimbursement to the company’s employees who pursue an online degree through ASU.

University leaders said this year’s repeat at the top recognizes the mission and culture that give rise to such creative approaches to education.

Among ASU’s ongoing innovations, the school — in keeping with its charter that pledges to expand access to higher education — has developed systems and tools to bolster student success, using technology and data-mining to catch early warning signs of academic struggles so that counselors can intervene. Also, a project-based learning initiative allows students to tackle required, general-education courses through team-driven projects.

“We do things differently, and we constantly try new approaches.”
— ASU President Michael M. Crow

ASU has forged partnerships to ease students’ financial burdens, including a venture with a research firm to rework the university’s financial-aid communications, which increased grants and scholarships, and an alliance with PayPal and a nonprofit, which has produced 400 student jobs on campus that provide a paycheck plus tuition assistance.

The partnership with the city of Phoenix that led to ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus — which now serves more than 12,000 students — inspired such projects as a proposed multi-building ASU center in downtown Mesa.

ASU’s Biodesign Institute, built around the idea that nature often provides the map to problem-solving, connects researchers from across the university’s colleges, schools and specialties, and their discoveries have affected the world. The institute has produced a new, low-cost Zika virus test and helped develop a drug treatment for Ebola.

The university’s Public Service Academy fills a previously unmet need for a program that prepares those who want to help fix problems around the world through military, nonprofit or government work. In its second year, the undergraduate program draws half the class from the ROTC corps, integrating civilian and military experiences. The joint learning cultivates a mutual understanding that will be essential when, as graduates, the students are part of the increasing military-civilian cooperation in international hot spots.

U.S. News also named ASU one of the 92 “A+ Schools for B Students,” which were not numerically ranked.

Mary Beth Faller

reporter , ASU Now


ASU completed $35M in facilities upgrades over summer

September 7, 2016

Arizona State University community members may  notice significant changes to facilities and grounds that happened over the summer. ASU Facilities Development and Management (FDM) completed 75 projects that totaled $35 million across all campuses.

“While summer is often thought of as the university’s slow time, this is the time of year that FDM is busiest,” said Bruce Nevel, Facilities Development and Management associate vice president. “The facilities staff takes advantage of the increased availability of buildings to complete repairs, maintenance and upgrades.” Beus Center for Law and Society The Beus Center for Law and Society, which houses the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law was completed in time for the fall semester. Download Full Image

ASU opened the Beus Center for Law and Society in downtown Phoenix and continued Sun Devil Stadium renovations. New date palms on Palm Walk upgraded the southern portion of the scenic path. Facilities Development and Management also renovated 30 campus classrooms across the campuses.

Beus Center for Law and Society

This $129 million, 280,000 gross-square-foot, state-of-the-art home to Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law includes a law library, civic outreach center, various centers and institutes and the ASU Alumni Law Group. The building’s sustainable elements include:

  • 90 percent of construction materials recycled
  • building exterior includes Arizona sandstone, aluminum and glass windows
  • desert-adaptive planting and water features to help minimize onsite irrigation
  • interior vacancy sensors for reducing power usage
  • LED lights used throughout the building

Sun Devil Stadium – Phase II

new seats in Sun Devil Stadium

The 490,000 gross-square-foot Phase II reinvention of the stadium’s north and west sides include:

  • a large plaza deck on the north end for groups and events, including concession areas and restrooms
  • a rebuilt end zone that will host a new Student Athlete Facility with offices, training facilities, locker rooms, counseling space and other amenities to support Sun Devil student athletes
  • additional restrooms, concessions and elevators along a new main concourse
  • enhanced cellular and wireless connectivity to enhance the game day experience
  • new stadium seating with chair backs and cup holders.

The Sun Devil Stadium renovation, a $268 million investment, is slated for fall 2017 completion, and will provide both a completely reinvented facility for Sun Devil football and a locus for a wide range of programs and activities for both campus and community throughout the year

Palm Walk – Phase I

New palm trees are installed on Palm Walk

A three-phase plan to renew the iconic Tempe Campus Palm Walk began in July. Phase one replaced 35 aging fan palms with date palms located between Computing Commons and the Sun Devil Fitness Complex. Benefits include more shade for pedestrians and fruit for the university’s annual date harvest

Art Building

inside of renovated ASU art building

The Tempe Campus Art Building saw replacement of original flooring, ceilings and art displays. The building now features polished concrete floors, an exposed concrete elevator shaft, new ceilings and two display cases for 2-D and 3-D art pieces. The main entrance to the Harry Wood Gallery and the Art Administration offices were replaced with glass.

Memorial Union

renovated Pitchforks at ASU Memorial Union

The Memorial Union on the Tempe Campus saw the removal of Taco Bell and a renovated Pitchforks Dining Hall. The existing Pitchforks and Taco Bell restaurants were completely remodeled into a new expanded Pitchforks complete with a new menu.

Computing Commons – 3rd floor

Two classrooms adjacent to the expansive collaboration lobby were renovated for Global Launch. Low-horizon workstations allow for views of Palm Walk and the Sun Devil Fitness Complex fields for Global Launch staff.


Additional capital projects:

  • The Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy in the College of Public Policy and Community Solutions moved into the first floor of the Westward Ho in downtown Phoenix. This newly renovated, 14,300 gross-square-foot space also provides residents with a new state-of-the-art clinic.
  • 4,700 gross-square-feet was renovated in the Engineering Center G Wing and provides multi-functional classrooms, office and meeting space.
  • Stucco and exterior paint colors were updated on downtown Phoenix Mercado buildings; perforated metal panels replaced fabric canopies over the building’s courtyards.
  • Starbucks opened on the first floor of Noble Library.
  • Classroom and laboratory renovations:

- Separate ADA enhancements were made in three auditoriums in Tempe Discovery Hall to create dedicated, fixed-furniture solutions to accommodate ADA students.

- New furniture was added amid ongoing upgrades to the Classroom/Lab/Computer Classroom (CLCC) Building at West campus.

- The Simulator Building on the Polytechnic campus received new finishes and furniture.

College of Design North, Bateman Physical Sciences Center F and Physical Sciences Center H auditoriums were renovated with new finishes, fixed-auditorium seating and upgraded lighting.

- 4,238 gross-square-feet of existing classroom space was updated with new flooring and paint throughout the Social Sciences and Physical Sciences Center A/Wexler Hall buildings.

- 3,600 gross-square-feet of university classroom space was added to the Arizona Center second floor on the Downtown Phoenix campus. The 80-seat classroom is planned to accommodate spring 2017 classes.

- 970 gross-square-feet Language Lab space opened at the Arizona Center for the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts.


These completed projects are only a part of more than $800 million in ASU capital projects now in some phase of planning, design or construction. Additional projects include Biodesign Institute Building C construction, Hayden Library reinvention, a new building for the Herberger Young Scholars Academy, expansion of the University Library Archives on the Polytechnic Campus, construction of the Tempe Campus Student Pavilion and replacement of Palo Verde Main Residence Hall, among others.

Learn more about ASU’s past, present and future construction projects and follow Facilities Development and Management on Twitter @ASUfacilities.

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ASU named a Cool School by Sierra Club for campus sustainability.
September 6, 2016

Sierra Club honors ASU for campus sustainability with No. 6 spot in its 2016 report, up from No. 11 in 2015

It's easy to be green — if you're a Sun Devil.

Arizona State University’s sustainability efforts have earned it a top 10 ranking in Sierra magazine’s 10th annual “Cool Schools” ranking of America’s greenest colleges and universities, released today.

ASU came in at No. 6, moving up five spots from its 2015 ranking.

More than 200 schools participated in Sierra’s extensive survey about sustainability practices on their campus. Using an updated, customized scoring system, Sierra’s researchers ranked each university based on its demonstrated commitment to upholding high environmental standards. 

Sustainability efforts aren’t just about the university’s operations, said Mick Dalrymple, director of ASU’s University Sustainability Practices — it’s about changing habits and mind-sets.

“Universities are about opening people’s minds,” Dalrymple said. “If we can get students, staff and faculty to see new opportunities for improving how we treat the environment and each other on campus, we can help them take those innovations out into the world to improve their lives, careers, neighborhoods and society.”

ASU scored high in several categories, including bike facilities, organic gardens, undergraduate programs, student outreach and move-in/out waste reduction. 

Other Arizona universities also made the list: Northern Arizona University was ranked 52nd, and the University of Arizona came in at No. 162. The full rankings can be found at

Read on to learn more about what ASU is doing to help the environment.

Solar panels

ASU has 88 solar energy installations across four campuses and the ASU Research Park, creating more than 24 megawatts of power. In addition to providing power for the university, the solar panels also provide shaded parking, extend the life of roofs that have shade, and act as a living lab for academics and research and sustainability initiatives.

Bike valets

ASU provides free, secure and convenient bike valet services in three locations around the Tempe campus. The stations accommodate up to 200 bicycles and provide supervised bicycle parking on a first-come, first-served basis.


As part of its Zero Waste initiative, ASU supports Blue Bin commingled recycling on all campuses and has services to recycle specialty items. In 2015 the university launched the Blue Bag recycling program to capture traditionally hard-to-recycle items such as batteries and wrappers. More than 500 Blue Bags have been placed around Tempe campus.

Campus harvest

The Tempe campus landscape is a diverse collection of plants from around the world including citrus, olive, pecan, peach and many other harvestable trees and shrubs. Last year, more than 400 volunteers harvested 3,600 pounds of dates on campus for sale, and 5 tons of ASU’s Seville oranges were also harvested for juice at campus dining locations.

Sustainable dining

Sun Devil Dining strives to make the path from field to fork as sustainable as possible through programs such as Engrained Cafe. This restaurant on the Tempe campus is committed to environmentally friendly practices such as using locally grown food, energy-efficient equipment and sustainable building materials.

LEED buildings

Since July 2006, ASU has completed 27 certified LEED projects, comprising 46 buildings including the second floor of the Memorial Union. In the past year, the Sun Devil Fitness Complex on the Tempe campus and College Avenue Commons were the latest to receive certification: platinum and gold, respectively.

Campus shuttles

Last spring, this free intercampus service received a makeover that included a new shuttle fleet of double-decker buses, enhanced Wi-Fi, and charging ports and electrical outlets at every seat. The shuttles help support ASU’s commitment to sustainable transportation, which also includes biking, public transit and carpooling.


This year, ASU launched the first compost station for the Memorial Union on the Tempe campus. Students, faculty and staff may place food scraps and paper food-service items in a green compost bin.

Polytechnic Community Garden

The Community Garden at the Polytechnic campus provides space and programming for students, faculty, staff and K-12 students to grow and enjoy fresh products.

“We are delighted that our actions align with the Sierra Club’s sustainability priorities,” said Nichol Luoma, ASU sustainability operations officer and associate vice president, University Business Services. “As a New American University, ASU is committed to leading by example and continuously innovates to achieve our sustainability goals.”

More Earth-friendly facts about ASU’s sustainability efforts:

  • Renewable-energy use at ASU during fiscal year 2016 avoided approximately 21,700 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, roughly equal to the annual emissions of 4,500 passenger vehicles.
  • ASU’s Campus Metabolism is an interactive web tool that displays real-time energy use on four campuses and ASU Research Park.
  • During Ditch the Dumpster — when residence hall residents are encouraged to donate or recycle unwanted items instead of throwing them away during move-out — ASU students diverted more than 105,000 pounds of food, clothing, furniture and other reusable items.
  • Zero Waste efforts resulted in a FY 2016 diversion rate of 35.6 percent. Total food waste diverted from landfill: 414.14 tons.
  • ASU placed first in the Pac-12 for diversion rate in the RecycleMania Game Day Basketball Challenge with a diversion rate of 92.4 percent.
  • ASU partners with the non-profit Borderlands to make rescued fresh produce available at low cost to ASU students, faculty and staff and the broader community.
  • A Rescued Food Feast event diverted nearly 600 pounds of food from the landfill.
  • The university offers a range of sustainability-related degrees and is home to the nation’s first School of Sustainability, which celebrated its 10th anniversary this year. In addition, the School of Sustainability Residential Community provides a living and learning opportunity for students to “walk the talk.”

“For more than 10 years, ASU has demonstrated its fundamental commitment to sustainability,” said Christopher Boone, dean and professor of the School of Sustainability. “We are very pleased to be recognized by the Sierra Club for all of our hard work.”

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ASU attracts Olympic talent as world-class training hub

With Phelps on pool deck, ASU commits to being an Olympic training hub.
August 18, 2016

University commits to upgrade facilities, involve community, hire top coaches — such as superstars Phelps and Bowman

The closing ceremony of the 2016 Rio Games comes this weekend, but it won’t be the end of Arizona State University’s Olympic involvement. The school is positioning itself as a mecca where world-class athletes will come to train year-round.

To create the right environment, ASU athletic director Ray Anderson said the university has committed to hiring top-level coaches, improving facilities and leveraging community support.

“We’re very serious about our Olympic sports,” Anderson said. “We think they really add to the entire experience of what our responsibility is to deliver.”

At the forefront of those efforts, Anderson said, is swimming. The school last year hired Bob Bowman — personal coach of Michael Phelps — to run the swim program.

“The thing I noticed when I came here is that there is such a great energy within the administration and staff to make ASU something really great,” Bowman said. “I truly believe we’ll be an Olympic training hub, and each year it will build.”

Phelps came to ASU to train last year before heading off to his fifth Olympic games, where he won six medals, bringing his career total to 28. It has cemented his legacy as the greatest swimmer in history and the most decorated Olympic athlete of all time.

Phelps will return to ASU this fall as an assistant swim coach.

Ray Anderson

Ray Anderson, vice president for university athletics, said that ASU is serious about becoming an elite training mecca. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now


Besides Bowman and Phelps, there are several other Sun Devil coaches with Olympic experience, including:

• Misty Hyman, senior assistant coach for swimming, was a gold-medal winner in the 2000 Olympics;

• Cliff English, head of the new triathlon program, was in Rio de Janeiro as the personal coach for two triathletes;

• Mark Bradshaw, head coach of the diving program, competed at the 1988 Olympic games and was head coach of Finland’s national diving team in 2004 and 2008;

• Zeke Jones, head coach of the wrestling program, won a silver medal in the 1992 Olympics and was head coach of the men’s freestyle team in the 2012 games in London, which won two gold and two bronze medals.

Zeke Jones

Zeke Jones, head coach of Sun Devil wrestling, said his Olympic experience was "life changing." Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now


Phelps has mentioned ASU’s facilities as a key draw.  “I swam indoors my whole career,” before starting to train at the Mona Plummer Aquatic Center. “Being able to see the sun every day is something that’s beneficial.”

The school’s most high-profile facility upgrade, the $250 million Sun Devil Stadium renovation, won’t directly affect Olympic sports, but Anderson said ASU is dedicated to other improvements.

“We have the will to do it,” he said. “We have absolute intentions of upgrading tennis as facilities that will accommodate lacrosse and soccer. We’ll eventually upgrade track and field as well.”

The facilities already have been enough to attract several Olympians besides Phelps, including swimmers Chase Kalisz, Cierra Runge and Allison Schmitt, weightlifter Morghan King and Australian triathlete Ashleigh Gentle.

Jones, the wrestling coach, discussed the importance of community support in building an Olympic hub, citing the ASU’s work with the Phoenix-based Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club, including a youth camp, as a key partnership.

“What you see here you don’t see elsewhere — world-class coaching, partners, university commitment. That doesn’t happen in many places,” Jones said.

Jones wrestled for ASU and came in 2014 to become head coach of the program. He called the Olympic experience “life changing,” adding, “It’s this tradition we hopefully keep passing along here.”


Top photo: Record-breaking American swimmer Michael Phelps trained at the Mona Plummer Aquatic Center with head swimming coach Bob Bowman before traveling to the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Mary Beth Faller

reporter , ASU Now


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August 18, 2016

Smooth start to first day of fall semester as students head back to class

The first day of the 2016-2017 school year got off to a smooth start at Arizona State University. It was easygoing in Tempe, streamlined at West, bucolic at Polytechnic and compartmentalized at the Downtown Phoenix campus. At ASU’s Lake Havasu City location, meanwhile, students counted bats.

In all, ASU absorbed thousands of people — from first-year students to returning faculty — without much fuss.

The newbies of the Class of 2020 represent a group that’s already making history: Of the 11,500 freshmen joining the university, nearly 7,000 are from Arizona, the largest in-state class in school history. The record number of Arizona enrollments reflects the university’s commitment to serving families across the state, ASU officials said in a statement.

Also, nearly half of the Arizona-based first-years come from underrepresented populations, marking the most diverse freshman class in ASU history. It highlights the historic dedication of research universities to educate a diverse student body, the university said.

The new students are spreading out across ASU’s various campuses: about 9,000 in Tempe, 1,500 on the Downtown Phoenix campus, about 1,000 between Polytechnic and West, and nearly three dozen at Lake Havasu City.

Here’s the story of the first day from each campus:

Tempe campus: First-years, first thing in the morning

It was 82 minutes after sunrise on Thursday as several freshmen scurried to their first college classes at Arizona State University’s Tempe campus.

And if a 7:30 a.m. start time wasn’t enough of a challenge for the first day, it was gloomy and gray outside the Durham Language and Literature Building.

“Today of all days to rain,” lamented Ernesto Vargas of Peoria, a graphic design major. “I wouldn’t say I’m thrilled with the early time, but it’s nothing different from high school. It’s OK for a few classes but not all of them.”

His friend, Nathan Herr, a film major who lives in Peoria, had been up for hours in order to make it to his 7:30 a.m. class on ASU’s largest campus, home of the Palm Walk, The Memorial Union and Sun Devil stadium.

“I got up at like 4:30 and drove to the West campus and took the bus from there to here,” he said. “I have to do that every Tuesday and Thursday for a math class.”

Also sleep-deprived was Alexa Mayer of Nogales, who had English 101 at 7:30 a.m.

“I couldn’t sleep last night because I was so anxious about the time. I didn’t even need an alarm,” said Mayer, an accountancy major.

“But it’s not as bad as I thought because the teacher is so chill.”

The instructor, Heather Crook, teaches at 7:30 a.m. five days a week, although she’s glad to be done before 1 p.m. every day.

“If I don’t have my coffee, or if I run out of my coffee, it’s a sad day,” she said.

“The first couple of weeks, the students are pretty excited, but then after that they start to be groggy and they might be a few minutes late,” Crook said.

“But for the students who are morning people, it’s awesome.”

That would include Giovanni Romani, a performance and movement major. “I don’t mind the mornings,” she said. “I guess I’m weird.”

Time-lapse by Ken Fagan/ASU Now


Across campus, another group of freshmen ducked out of the drizzle into McCord Hall as part of a tour for their W. P. Carey 101 course — a one-credit, weekly class that introduces the new students to resources in the W. P. Carey School of Business.

“We talk about advising, our business career center, study abroad,” said David Reali, the staff member who led the tour and coordinates the Camp Carey program. “Each week is designed to open the eyes of the students to everything that’s at their fingertips in the school.”

Junior Nick Staloch was helping to lead the tour, which on the first day included the W. P. Carey buildings and the college’s personal Starbucks outlet.

“I went to a very small high school so coming to ASU was a bit daunting,” said Staloch, who also is a resident assistant in Barrett, the Honors College.

“It’s fun to be able to help people who are going through what I went through just two years ago.”

West campus: Students return to streamlined parking

One of the first things students have to learn to deal with when they roll up for the first day of classes is parking. If you’re unfamiliar with campus or in a hurry, it can be frustrating to navigate.

This year at ASU's West campus, Mark Gaertner, field operations supervisor for ASU Parking and Transit, was out bright and early to greet students and answer any questions about the new, more streamlined pay-to-park system on the liberal arts campus in Glendale. 

“It’s a lot more convenient,” said Gaertner. “You can pay and then come and go as you like.”

At the Starbucks inside Fletcher Library, Tiffany Spriulle served up both hot and cold drinks to faculty, staff and students. Even with everyone returning to campus the crowds weren’t overwhelming.

“It’s been pretty nice and steady,” she said.

Biology juniors Dena Haddab and Sameera Khan discussed their biochemistry class as they waited in line for their morning caffeine rush. Khan is excited for the year ahead but says “it’s going to be a tough semester” because she has a lot of challenging classes and will be preparing for the Medical College Acceptance Test.

Video by Dave Hunt/ASU


Out on Fletcher Lawn, Student Activities and Conference Services student workers Jesus Hidalgo and Charlene Smith set up tents for the “Fear the Fork” welcome barbecue, hosted by Undergraduate Student Government.

Hidalgo, a secondary education major, said the event is a great way to welcome students.

“First impressions matter,” he said. “It’s a big transition coming from high school to college, and it feels good knowing you’re helping to get students involved and feeling comfortable.”

Some students slipped away from the sun by bringing the feast inside Fletcher Library. Sophomores Dustin Nguyen and Czarina Perez shared a plate stacked with corn on the cob, pulled pork, fried chicken and corn muffins.

Nguyen is celebrating being done with his first organic chemistry class, and says he’s “looking forward to getting all A’s this semester.”

Around the corner, senior Ena Razic double- and triple-checked her schedule for the day. The communications major has classes at both the Downtown Phoenix campus and West.

“I just wanna make sure I know where everything is so I don’t have to check again when I get down there,” she said.

Downtown Phoenix campus: Low-key milestones

ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus kicked off the fall semester with a trio of milestones: The campus is celebrating its 10th anniversary, welcoming a record number of students and showcasing the newly opened Beus Center for Law and Society.

All that’s just trivia, however, to students preoccupied with finding their classes on the campus geared toward city-minded students seeking careers in health, nutrition, law, journalism, teaching and non-profit management.

J.J. Santos took the light rail from ASU’s Tempe campus but was late for Mary Cook’s “The ASU Experience.” The course, designed to help students succeed by introducing them to campus resources and services, was held in a meeting room in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Despite the tardiness, Santos walked in confidently. Cook asked Santos whether he was a movie star. The 18-year-old replied, “Yes. I am,” though his current resume would indicate otherwise.

By contrast, first-year students Ramon Garcia and Caitlyn Brooner were on time. The pair of nursing majors graduated from Phoenix’s Alhambra High School in June. While waiting for their 9 a.m. introduction to chemistry class, they chatted in the lobby of the Beus Center.

Garcia said he was excited but found it hard to shake the nerves. “It’s a lot of pressure being the first one in your family to go to college.”

Brooner feels pressure, too, but for a different reason. “My goal is to be successful and not let my own expectations down while holding to what I believe.”

The nearly $130 million Beus Center is now home for about 900 ASU Law students after a massive relocation that began about 10 years ago.  

Second-year ASU Law student Devyn McCullen was taking a break outside the six-story, 280,000-square-foot structure before catching the light rail back to Tempe. It was her first visit.

“It’s very hi-tech compared to the Tempe campus, but I think it fits in down here,” McCullen said. “It’s near the legal community and the courts, and opportunities for internships should be easier.”

The influx brings the number of students at ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus above 13,000, the highest total in it’s now 10-year history.

“That’s really cool,” Brooner said. “I thought it was older than that.” 

Polytechnic campus: First-years get bearings on quiet first day

The doves were cooing as the sun rose over the fields of the Polytechnic campus.

It was freshman Heather Bearden's first day, and sat outside the student union. "I'm excited but I'm nervous at the same time," the graphic information technology major said. "I'm looking forward to making new friends and learning about my degree."

Arizona State University’s Polytechnic campus is nicknamed “The Maker Campus” because it has so many labs and workshops. Students print and design and test and build here. They study applied sciences and mechanical and electronics engineering. Some of them are in the aviation program, where they can walk out of the classroom and get in a cockpit at the airport across the street.

"It's so much quieter and smaller than the Tempe campus," Bearden said. 

And it is. So much quieter that a small skunk is prowling a wash beside the union.

"You don't see that every day," Corey Stevenson said. 

An outreach coordinator for the teacher's college, today Stevenson staffs an information booth. She has volunteered to help on the first day of classes for the past four years. 

"Just directions" are the most common request. "Where's this building? Where's that building? That's what we hear the most. I try to be a friendly face, just reassure them." 

The freshmen are unsure about a lot, about what to bring, where to go. A young man approaches the table.

"Do you know where classroom 133 is?"

Stevenson jumps up to show him the way.

Down in the basement of the Sim building, no one is flying virtual skies today. Faculty associate Mike Hampshire, who teaches flying on the aviation program simulators, explained that he’s pairing up students before they start to train together.

“I’m less behind than I normally am,” Hampshire said. “Everything goes so fast. One minute they’re freshmen and the next thing you know they’re flying the flight you’re on. And you feel good about it.”

Thunderbird campus: A close-knit, global education

Just a mile north of the West campus in Glendale, students at ASU’s Thunderbird School of Global Management are pumped to begin learning how they can put their undergraduate knowledge to work in today’s global industry.

The week leading up to this first day of class, students participated in various activities on campus to get to know each other, professors and the physical space better.

Orientation was each day from 7-8 a.m. Global affairs and management grad student Gillian Reid said it was a lot of information at once but it was worth it — not to mention, coffee was provided.

Students at Thunderbird are placed into cohorts of about 30. Mary Alexandrou said, “The best part about being a master’s student is having a cohort and learning together at the same pace.”

Fellow cohort member Bethany Bennick agrees. “It really feels like a family here at Thunderbird,” Bennick said. “There’s a real sense of belonging” on the campus that emphasizes high-level business management.

Chris Barton, Mariah Alexander and Griffin Gosnell, all global affairs and management students, had already developed a rapport, talking and laughing as they walked to their global institutions and actors class.

Barton completed his undergraduate degree at ASU in sustainability. At Thunderbird, he says he’s “looking forward to learning the practical skills of life.”

Professor Okechukwu Iheduru welcomed the class with a warning: “If you mispronounce or spell my name incorrectly, you lose 10 percent of your course grade.”

The room went silent until he let out a laugh and the students joined in. Iheduru gives them a brief overview of his personal and professional background, then gets right down to business — literally.

Colleges at Lake Havasu City: Gone batty

At ASU’s small, low-cost extension location students started the semester as they have for several years: They went and counted bats in a nearby forest to document the number of different species.

Kimberley Rome, ASU Colleges at Lake Havasu City community outreach specialist, said that for each of the last four years students have gotten involved in the field exercise, which is hard to replicate elsewhere. They also held their annual "Beach Bash," where students paddle boarded, kayaked and played volleyball.  

The colleges opened in 2012 about a mile from the large reservoir behind Parker Dam on the Colorado River. The locations offers degrees including in sociology, political science, communication and life sciences. This year, students can take kinesiology and business administration.

Unlike the Valley campuses, it was “hot as heck” near the California border. “It’s 114 degrees,” Rome said. 


Check in with ASU Now on Twitter: @asunews, Instagram: @asunow and Snapchat: asunow.


Reporters Marshall Terrill, Emma Greguska, Scott Seckel and Mary Beth Faller contributed to this report. Top photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now