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Yerba mate is inextricably linked with South American culture.
Yerba mate can be found in the U.S. at stores ranging from Circle K to Sprouts.
ASU club a way to connect students to another culture.
September 21, 2016

ASU professor's year in Argentina highlights importance of humanities research

A group of Arizona State University students are seated in a circle at the Memorial Union on the Tempe campus. They’re conversing in Spanish and passing around a cup, taking turns sipping from a metal straw. Topics range from everyday gossip, to their studies, to politics.

Yerba mate is what’s in the cup — a caffeinated beverage similar in tasteThe flavor of yerba mate has also been described as a mixture of vegetables, herbs and grass. The filtered straws used to drink it were traditionally made of metal because both the cup and the straw are considered a piece of decoration; ornate ones are not uncommon. As it has become more popular over the years, the cups — traditionally made from gourds — are often made of plastic. There is a cold version of the drink called tereré that is popular in Paraguay and prepared with cold water and ice. to green tea that is commonly drunk in South America, where several of the students hail from. It has exploded in popularity, particularly among people in Argentina because of its strong cultural association with national pride that swelled with the fall of dictatorships and the rise of democracy in the 1980s.

ASU associate professor Julia SarrealJulia Sarreal is an associate professor at the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences' School of Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies. just returned from a year in Argentina, where she spent her sabbatical studying the history, culture and production of yerba matepronounced like latte, with the help of an Institute for Humanities Research grant. She first encountered it in Paraguay while stationed there in the Peace Corps, and she quickly learned that refusal of the bitter beverage was not an option.

“You have to drink it,” said Sarreal, or it is seen as a cultural affront. “And it’s not just about the beverage; it’s the process of drinking it. It’s a very social drink. That’s how you build relationships and connections.”

The history of yerba mate’s place in Argentinean culture goes back to the early 20th century, when the country first began cultivating it. Back then, it was mostly drunk by laborers and soldiers. As time passed, it found a place in people’s homes, where the ritual associated with it served as way for families to bond.

It has since spread throughout the world, gaining an appreciation in Middle Eastern countries like Syria and Lebanon. It’s even gaining momentum in the U.S., where somewhat watered-down versions like Brisk Mate can easily be found at corner convenience stores, and more authentic versions can be found at stores like Trader Joe’s and Sprouts. (See a video at the end of this article on how to prepare it.)

“It’s important in this age of globalization to understand cultural differences,” said Sarreal.

Another thing Sarreal feels is important to understand: the origins of the things we consume. During her year in Argentina, she spent six weeks in the Misiones Province, where much of the yerba mate is produced. There, she met with companies and learned all the aspects of the production process.

“I really saw the realities of the people producing it,” said Sarreal, which sometimes included unfair pay, black-market dealings and less-than-ideal working conditions. She plans to go into more detail about that, as well as yerba mate’s history and cultural importance, in a book she’s writing on the subject.

“My book will be looking at yerba mate as a way to get a different perspective on Argentinean history,” she said.

It has already had an effect on ASU’s history: Business undergrad Paulina Orqueda and Spanish grad student Thomas Shalloe recently formed the university’s first-ever yerba mate/South American student club, El Club del Mate at ASU - Club Sudamericano. It began with just the two of them, meeting on campus to study and drink mate. Soon, other students showed an interest and joined in.

The drink and the ritual hold a special place in their hearts, Orqueda having been born in Argentina and Shalloe having spent a good deal of his youth there.

“One of the things I miss about home is when people in the neighborhood would pull chairs out into the street, sit in a circle and drink mate,” said Orqueda. Now she can do that at ASU.

As for Sarreal, being able to do meaningful research that she can incorporate into her classroom is the best of both worlds.

“I love that ASU supports me doing research, and that I get to balance that with teaching,” she said. “When I’m really excited about my research, I can impart that into the classroom.”

How to make traditional (hot) yerba mate:

 

How to make tereré (cold yerba mate):

 
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ASU Summer Community Read event to feature 'Ready Player One' author.
ASU West campus fosters community through shared experience of reading.
September 20, 2016

Community Read event at ASU West campus to feature 'Ready Player One' author Cline

Fans of 1980s trivia, video games and geek culture rejoiced when it was announced Steven Spielberg would be taking Ernest Cline’s 2011 beloved dystopian novel, “Ready Player One,” to the big screen.

Belying its obscure references, the underlying narrative probes universal themes. 

“This book explores societal and ethical questions, and provides an easy and safe way to discuss challenging topics like poverty, power, diversity, acceptance, growth, independence and interdependence,” said Anne Suzuki, assistant dean of enrollment services at ASU’s West campus.

Suzuki oversees the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences’ annual Summer Community Read, which brings together ASU students, faculty and staff with members of the local community to participate in the shared experience of reading and reflecting on a novel, culminating with an on-campus talk by the author.

This year, Cline (pictured above) will deliver a keynote presentation at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 22,  in the La Sala Ballroom on the West campus. A book signing will follow at 7:30 p.m.

“Since the event is open to the public, and we’ve made an intentional effort to involve the local comic bookstores, Glendale public libraries and other community members, it gives the students an opportunity to interact with ASU folks and their local community members,” Suzuki added.

The program is geared toward incoming freshmen and transfer students as a way to welcome them into the New College experience. West campus student government purchases the books for them, which they receive at orientation. Throughout the summer as they read, they have discussions about the book via social media with West campus peer mentors.

Students are also required to craft a response to the book, which can be in the form of digital or hand-drawn artwork, video, song, dance, poetry or even photography.

“We wanted to enhance the students’ experience so that they were doing more than just reading the book and answering questions,” said Jenna Graham, transition and retention specialist for Student Success at West campus. Graham has led the committee that selects the Summer Community Read book for three years.

“It’s amazing what students have turned in this year,” she said. “One student turned in a video of herself dancing blindfolded, which is related to what goes on in book.”

When Cline gives his presentation Sept. 22, there will be time for students to share their responses with him.

But the focus will be on fostering a sense of community among those present.

“We have made some wonderful connections with the local community because of the Summer Community Read program,” said Suzuki, “and we hope that the community members feel welcome on our campus and feel ASU is supporting the surrounding areas.”

 

Top photo: "Ready Player One" author Ernest Cline with a DeLorean, image courtesy Dave Hunt, ASU West campus marketing.

ASU partnerships strengthen global biodiversity conservation efforts


September 2, 2016

Arizona State University furthers commitment to translate knowledge into action on sustainability challenges through three new international partnerships:

  • Knowledge Partnership with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD): promoting sustainable development through the global business community
  • The IUCN Red List Partnership: devising strategies for species conservation and biodiversity decision-making
  • Knowledge Partnership with Conservation International (CI): expanding conservation science and training to the next generation of conservation leaders

Bringing together the different forces in sustainability, ASU’s Center for Biodiversity Outcomes (CBO) has established new partnerships that strengthen the university’s research capacity in conservation science and biodiversity. The official signing of the agreements will take place in Hawaii during the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress. Acuna cactus with a purple blossom. The cactus Echinomastus cubensis is one of many endangered plants in the Sonoran Desert. ASU's Center for Biodiversity Outcomes works with the local Desert Botanical Garden and the IUCN Species Survival Commission as part of the Cactus & Succulent Plant Specialist Group to develop recovery strategies. Photo courtesy of Peter Breslin, School of Life Sciences PhD student Download Full Image

“The time has arrived. The world needs interventions, globally and at scale,” explained Gary Dirks, director of ASU’s Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability. “To have any kind of impact you've got to be able to reach tens if not hundreds of millions of people when you're talking about doing something for sustainability. There's no organization on the planet that can do that on their own.”

Meeting today’s biodiversity challenges requires innovative research, education, communication and policy strategies capable of responding to a rapidly changing biophysical, institutional and cultural landscape, added Leah Gerber, CBO founding director and ASU professor in the School of Life Sciences.

“With CBO, we have an opportunity to ‘experiment’ with institutional architecture that supports outcomes by drawing on the depth and breadth of scholarship in sustainability,” Gerber said.

WBCSD Knowledge Partnership

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development is a global, CEO-led organization of more than 200 leading businesses and partners working together to accelerate the transition to a sustainable world.

Member companies come from all business sectors and all major economies, representing a combined revenue of more than $8.5 trillion and 19 million employees. WBCSD is uniquely positioned to work with member companies along and across value chains to deliver impactful business solutions to the most challenging sustainability issues.

As WBCSD’s second global “Knowledge Partner,” ASU has the opportunity to bring scholarship, analytics and decision-making tools to the world’s largest companies.

“In an increasingly global environment, where sustainable management of biological resources is fundamental to long-term survival, we must seek creative solutions for the conservation of biodiversity. The Knowledge Partnership represents a new model to cultivate practical outcomes in sustainability,” said Gerber.

ASU will benefit from this partnership by having access to the largest network of world-class companies engaged in social and environmental sustainability, while having exposure to real-world problem-solving opportunities, events, internships and job opportunities. ASU scholars will be able to vet and test ideas and solutions in practice, apply knowledge to business sustainability, co-author and develop research papers, studies and projects, as well as review and critique sustainability reports. Having a seat at the table on substantive discussions with global companies will allow ASU to shape the way in which businesses approach their sustainability practices.

WBCSD benefits from the partnership through access to the university’s academic and technical expertise across a range of sustainability and business issues, markets, capacity building, as well as event organization and hosting support. ASU provides WBCSD with access to business sustainability education programs, online courses, conference and events that support their strategic planning in water, ecosystems and biodiversity, energy and climate, cities, food systems and circular economies. Likewise, WBCSD will be able to connect to existing ASU institutional and corporate networks.

“We’re excited about this new partnership with ASU because of our common goal to move the dial on sustainability,” said Peter Bakker, WBCSD’s president and CEO. “ASU’s broad range of interdisciplinary knowledge is a good match for forward-thinking companies who understand that the world is changing. Together, we can continue to encourage the global community to deliver sustainable science-backed solutions that enhance and strengthen development.”

IUCN Red List Partnership

The IUCN List of Threatened Species (or the IUCN Red List) is the world’s standard for quantifying species extinction risk and is used around the world to inform policy, planning and conservation action. The Red List Partnership serves as an important means to coordinate activities related to biodiversity assessment and analysis and to share information, expertise and insights in ways that enable parties to achieve their own strategic goals for science-based biodiversity conservation.

“All of the eight Red List Partners continuing in the next term have said they are very happy with ASU joining,” said Mike Hoffmann, chair of the IUCN Red List Committee. “We are thrilled with this outcome.”

As a Red List partner, ASU joins a group of global leaders charged with devising strategies for species conservation and biodiversity decision-making — being one of only three universities in the world to join forces with IUCN Red List to help guide the scope and application of scientific data.

Beth Polidoro, CBO associate director of research and an ASU New College assistant professor, has spearheaded this initiative.

“We are honored to join the Red List Partnership, which will provide extensive regional and global opportunities for ASU students and faculty to participate in applied biodiversity research and interdisciplinary educational opportunities while highlighting ASU-CBO as a global leader in species conservation and biodiversity decision-making,” she said.

From 2014-2016, CBO faculty affiliates completed Red List assessments for more than 1,800 species, in addition to reassessments for more than 200 mammals. They also completed the first comprehensive list of Sonoran Desert plants (more than 4,500 species). These accomplishments were possible thanks to the support of other partner organizations, such as the Desert Botanical Garden and the Phoenix Zoo.

In addition, more than 20 undergraduate and graduate students have been trained in IUCN Red List assessment methodology and species information service data-entry protocols — a software that underpins the IUCN Red List and its biodiversity assessments. This information is reviewed by an independent scientific review team and then made available to the public. 

As a Red List Partner, ASU will take a leadership role in the global assessment and management of threatened and endangered species. This work is crucial in ensuring effective conservation of biodiversity. The Center for Biodiversity Outcomes efforts will continue to focus on marine species and Sonoran Desert plants, and will establish a satellite Red List Training Center.

CI Knowledge Partnership

Conservation International works in more than 30 countries across six continents to create solutions that protect the nature people rely on for food, fresh water and livelihoods through an innovative blend of science, policy and partnerships.  A new ASU-CI Knowledge Partnership is the first of its kind between a large American public university and a U.S.-based international conservation nonprofit.

“To ensure a sustainable future, we need to maintain biodiversity and natural capital, which requires transforming the way we do conservation,” said Daniela Raik, senior vice president and managing director, the Betty and Gordon Moore Center for Science at CI. “The novel ASU and CI knowledge partnership does that by expanding scientific knowledge about complex social-ecological systems, applying this knowledge on-the-ground and training our next generation of conservation leaders.”

As part of the partnership, six scientists from CI’s Moore Center for Science will become professors of practice at ASU, conducting research and teaching. ASU scholars will co-develop research with CI and apply it in the field through conservation projects. Abigail York, CBO associate director of education and diversity and an ASU associate professor, has brought the professors-of-practice concept to fruition, offering ASU students an opportunity to engage with CI scientists in the classroom and at CI field sites.

The knowledge partnership focuses sustainable production methods, more specifically transitioning agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture producers, through science, engagement and technology. The partnership also focuses on training the next generation of conservation leaders, as well as bringing aboard two postdoctoral fellows.

“We understand our sustainability problems and our challenges,” said Rob Melnick, executive director, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability. “We have an enormous challenge ahead in globalizing what we do. On the other hand, if we don't globalize what we do, we will have failed.”

Written by Anahi Astudillo/Center for Biodiversity Outcomes

 
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ASU West Peer Mentor Program celebrates 10 years of student success

First-year jitters: Handled, with ASU West's Peer Mentor Program.
ASU New College peer mentors' advice to freshmen? Get involved, try new things!
August 19, 2016

Two students in ASU T-shirts sit across from each other in an office on the West campus. One is hunkered down, arms crossed over his chest as the other leans in and gently asks for the second time whether anything is bothering him.

“Scene,” interjects Wilma Jackson from across the room, ending the mock one-on-one mentoring session. Jackson, an ethnicity, race and first nations junior, is lead peer mentor for the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences' Peer Mentor Program, which celebrates its 10th anniversary with the commencement of the fall 2016 semester. Today she’s overseeing the training of new and returning peer mentors.

“That was good,” Jackson tells the student acting as mentor, but advises her not to push her mentee too hard. Sometimes you just have to be patient and let them open up on their own, she explains.

It’s something she has learned from experience — this is Jackson’s third year with the program. A native of Tucson, she struggled with homesickness as a freshman. Her peer mentor suggested she try participating in on-campus clubs and events to get adjusted, and it worked.

“When I got involved, I started feeling less homesick,” she said.

The best part is Jackson didn’t have to go looking for a mentor; they’re assigned to students before they even get to campus. Throughout the summer, they chat online and get to know each other so that by the time the school year starts, they’re already familiar.

During the fall semester, students are required to meet with their mentors three times in person and update them via email every week about their personal and academic progress. In the spring semester, the mentors pull back a bit to let the students spread their wings, only requiring them to update them via email — mentees who wish may meet in person with their mentor as many times as they like, though.

The program was founded by Anne Suzuki, assistant dean of enrollment services for ASU West, who has a background in first-year programming.

“The Peer Mentor Program at West came out of a need,” said Suzuki. “When we would do orientation with our freshmen classes, one thing they told us they wanted was more opportunities to get to know each other.”

When the program began, there were only three peer mentors, and they only met online. Now, there are nine peer mentors, each of whom is responsible for about 40 freshmen. And many of those first-year students go on to become peer mentors themselves.

“What’s amazing is we’ve created a pipeline for them,” said Suzuki. “They can start out as a front-desk worker for the program when they’re still a freshman, then their sophomore year become a peer mentor, then after that a peer mentor leader.

“And the program evolves with each cohort that leads, whatever they determine is the need at the time. … Last year was the first time we had a student teaching the ASU 101NEW 101, the New College version of ASU 101, is a required, one-credit course for new incoming freshmen. Offered in small classes capped at 19, it introduces students to the unique elements, culture, challenges and opportunities of their university. The course covers several core topics, including how to be successful at ASU, what it means to be a New College student, understanding interdisciplinarity, the significance of academic integrity, academic skill building, advising, service learning, the freshman first-year reading and discovering one's major and/or career. course. So we’re really trying give to them opportunities to become leaders and improve the program.”

Drew Koch, program coordinator for student success, oversees the peer mentors and leads training sessions before the beginning of the school year. He says the program is beneficial not just for the mentees, but for the mentors themselves.

“I like to see the peer mentors develop. Everyone always talks about what they do for the students, but nobody talks about what the program does for [the mentors],” he said. “From the interview process, to the training sessions and beyond, I watch them grow into leaders.”

Aside from the positive effects on students’ academic and professional development, the Peer Mentor Program lets them have fun. Regular events like the wildly popular matball and water balloon fights on Fletcher Lawn give students the chance to let loose amid the stress of their first year. The program also organizes study groups and opportunities for the students to have meet-and-greets with professors in a speed-dating sort of fashion, where they can ask them about anything, not just schoolwork.

“The main focus is to make sure they do well academically, but we also want to make sure they’re getting that fun, exciting experience that college is supposed to be,” said peer mentor Chase Pologa.

When Pologa was a freshman, his peer mentor had such an impact on him that he decided to become one himself.

“I’m a commuter student, so I was happy with my education but I wasn’t having a lot of other experiences,” he explained. “[My mentor] kind of pushed me out of my shell more.”

Jackson said she always advises her mentees to “keep an open mind.”

“Try new things; don’t be afraid to make mistakes,” she said. “For me, the program helped me to put myself out there, and now I’m doing something I never saw myself doing.”

Top photo: Peer mentor Victor Seca-Diaz gets nailed with a water balloon during a Peer Mentor event on the Sun Devil Fitness Complex lawn at ASU's West campus. Photo courtesy of Wilma Jackson

Emma Greguska

Reporter , ASU Now

(480) 965-9657

 
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ASU center helps students pursue in-demand career — and "whoop" on the bad guys.
ASU has the edge on tapping into the Valley's below-the-radar cyber talent pool.
August 18, 2016

New initiative to address cybersecurity talent gap with education, enrichment and real-world experience for students

During the dot-com boom of the late ’90s and early 2000s, data centers began sprouting up by the dozens throughout the Phoenix metro area, with companies attracted to its abundance of open land, stable weather and low cost of living. Nowadays, it’s cybersecurity that’s booming, and for those same reasons the area is once again attracting companies in the industry.

With more than 200,000 unfilled cybersecurity jobs — and an estimate of up to 1 million vacancies by the year 2020 — could the Valley of the Sun be poised to become “Cyber Valley”? Arizona State University professor of practice Kim Jones says it’s possible.

Jones was recently named director of the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences' Cybersecurity Education Consortium, which was created with the goal of addressing the growing talent gap in the cybersecurity sector.

“There are lots of communities who are trying to fill that gap,” he said, “but I think Phoenix, and Arizona in general, are better positioned for it,” not only because of the aforementioned attractive conditions but also because there is “already a very good below-the-radar cyber talent pool here.”

And that’s something ASU is keenly aware of.

In February 2014, the university established the Global Security Initiative, a university-wide interdisciplinary hub for global security research. Shortly thereafter, in July 2015, the initiative launched the Center for Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics to take a proactive, interdisciplinary approach to the issue of cybersecurity through research and education.

Global Security Initiative's director of strategy Jamie Winterton worked closely with professor of computer science and engineering Gail-Joon Ahn, who also serves as the Center for Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics director, to shape the center.

“Gail and I did a competitive analysis of the field, and what we saw was that most cybersecurity centers at universities were buried in other departments, like science or law,” said Winterton. “There was not a lot of connection to other disciplines that are really important for cybersecurity and that should have a stake in the issue.”

With that in mind, the center has made a concerted effort to engage nearly 40 faculty members across eight academic units — from computer science and business to law, psychology and even the English Department.

An affiliate of the center and the Global Security Initiative, Jones says the Cybersecurity Education Consortium will operate on the same principle at ASU’s West campus, with a focus on enhancing the employability of students in cyber-related degree programs through partnerships with local businesses.

ASU professor of practice Kim Jones

ASU New College professor of practice Kim Jones will lead the Cybersecurity Education Consortium at the West campus with nearly 30 years of industry experience to guide him. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

 

“When I think of the consortium, I think of a partnership between ASU and security professionals and businesses that makes sure we’re uplifting and enhancing not only the talent that’s coming out of the university, but also enriching the current talent that’s already in the pool,” he said.

That means helping students find relevant internships, helping businesses find quality talent, and providing education and enrichment opportunities for both. In the future, Jones plans for the consortium to offer an applied cybersecurity degree and, eventually, scholarships.

He has been working on laying the foundation for all of that since he joined ASU in April 2016. Most recently, Jones secured a $100,000 partnership with Intuit, a personal finance and tax software company. As a gold-level founding member of Cybersecurity Education Consortium, Intuit will help to sponsor the center’s efforts by providing seed money for courses and activities and by participating on the center’s advisory board, ensuring that what is being taught and offered is truly of value to students and businesses.

Before coming to ASU, Jones spent 14 years as chief information security officer for various companies, including four years for the largest debit-card processor in the nation. And before that, the West Point grad spent 11 years as a military intelligence officer and five years consulting for various organizations.

“Kim Jones has nearly 30 years of experience in the cybersecurity sector,” said Marlene Tromp, dean of the New College. “This rich background of industry experience positions him to build exciting partnerships that will afford ASU students the chance to solve real cybersecurity challenges, as well as to imagine the future of cybersecurity.”

Tromp believes the consortium has the power to become a key regional and national producer of cybersecurity talent.

Part of that, Jones says, is due to ASU “taking a very novel and innovative approach” to addressing the issue of the cybersecurity talent gap. He acknowledges the “brilliance and significance” of ASU’s faculty, but as a professor of practice, he also appreciates the university’s ability to recognize the importance of having someone on board who has extensive real-world knowledge of the field.

“I think that gives ASU a tremendous advantage in the cyber talent space versus anyone else,” he said. “The quality and caliber of our program — beyond just the certifications, in terms of practical skills, practical application — is going to be better than any other program from any other university that’s out there.”

Jones points out that consortium's mission also aligns with ASU President Michael Crow’s vision of the New American University being one that is socially embedded.

To students interested in a career in cybersecurity, he advises, “If you really want to know what it’s like, please come talk to me. Email me, call me, stop by. Part of my job is [to give students] an understanding of what it really means to do this. It’s not always as sexy as it looks on TV, but it’s very rewarding, it’s a lot of fun and if you like whoopin’ up on the bad guys, this lets you do that. There is no feeling like it.”

Top photo: Kim Jones, director of ASU's new Cybersecurity Education Consortium, is setting up the new program to help to connect students majoring in computer sciences in any school within the university with local cybersecurity companies so that they can get real-world experience. There could be 1 million openings in the field in the next four years. Photo by Charlie Leight/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

 
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Get to know some students, their goals and aspirations for their time at ASU
Ever wonder what the "M" stands for in Michael M. Crow? Watch our video.
August 17, 2016

Students answer questions — some serious, some fun — as the school year gets underway

Deanna Dent

Photographer , ASU Now

480-727-5972

 
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Move-in helpers unload cars, move belongings into res halls for ASU students.
Prep by ASU crew allows families to focus on the fun and emotions of the day.
August 14, 2016

An efficient army of helpers makes move-in a smooth start to the college journey for the newest Sun Devils and their families

Moving into a residence hall is a rite of passage for college students.

And thanks to an enthusiastic crew of helpers, it's also a low-stress event for students and their families at Arizona State University.

Watch how the process works from the viewpoint of the helpers themselves, and scroll down for photos and more video from move-in at the West, downtown Phoenix, Polytechnic and Tempe campuses. For more Fall Welcome events, visit https://eoss.asu.edu/welcome.

Video by Ken Fagan/ASU Now

 

Welcome to the family, newest Sun Devils, and welcome back to everyone else!

Video by Dave Hunt/ASU

 

Top photo: Mary Mani, a Well Devil ambassador for the Las Casas community on the West campus, awaits the arrival of freshmen and families on Saturday, Aug. 13, in Glendale. Photo by Sierra LaDuke/ASU

 
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Check out these tips and events for #ASU move-in and #ASUFallWelcome.
August 10, 2016

Here's what new students need to know about move-in, ASU Welcome

Every year, new students arrive at Arizona State University's campuses excited to start a new chapter in life. Some will even blaze new paths in innovation and research, but it all starts at move-in.

This fall, nearly 14,000 students will move into ASU’s 21 residence halls across ASU’s four campus locations Aug. 12-14.

“This is an exciting time for incoming freshmen,” said Kellie Cloud, executive director of University Housing. “Living on campus is a huge first step into adulthood, and we take great care in ensuring freshmen successfully acclimate to college life. It is here where students will form lifelong friendships, engage in student activities and find support networks, crucial components for student success throughout college and beyond."

ASU’s residential college model is designed to help students succeed academically by housing students together based on academic major. First-year students form connections and create a network of friends with similar educational interests. Additionally, students benefit from collaborative living spaces that offer on-site tutoring and multi-use rooms that can be used for study groups, workshops and events

During move-in, campuses are alive with music and energy as volunteers greet both parents and students with an ASU welcome. With the help of volunteers, move-in can take as little as 20 minutes, allowing parents and students more time to give hugs and to explore the campus

Want to make move-in faster? Remember these tips:

• arrive at the assigned date and time

• complete the pre-check-in process

• bring a printed boarding pass and ASU ID

• follow specific directions to your assigned residence hall

• stay hydrated!

• wear comfortable shoes and clothing

With all that help, students can relax, get comfortable in their new home and explore the campus before the first day of class Aug. 18. Fall Welcome Week is the perfect time to explore campus, connect to ASU services and resource, and make new friends.

 

Fall Welcome

ASU kicks off the beginning of the school year with free events for new and returning students. Nearly 200 events give students the opportunity to explore everything ASU has to offer.

Don’t miss out on the must-attend signature events:

Sun Devil Welcome
4:30-5:30 p.m., Aug. 16, Wells Fargo Arena, Tempe campus

Experience Sun Devil pride at its finest. This is a high-energy, exciting event to introduce you to what it means to be a Sun Devil. This annual event is the perfect way to officially welcome all of our new Sun Devils to ASU.

Culture Festival
5:30-7 p.m., Aug. 16, Wells Fargo Arena, Tempe campus

Celebrate the diversity that students bring into the ASU community. Enjoy performances, activities and food from a variety of cultures found at ASU. Need a ride to the Sun Devil Welcome and Culture Festival? Free shuttles will be provided to transport students living on the West, Polytechnic and Downtown campus locations.

But make sure to catch other fun events at every ASU campus. Activities include:

Sparky’s Day of Service
Dates and times vary by campus location

Sun Devils have an impact on the local community and make a positive change in the world. Join this university-wide initiative to participate, volunteer and make a change.

ASU Parent and Family Events
Dates and times vary by campus location

Hear from university leadership, meet fellow ASU parents, faculty and staff and learn about upcoming campus-specific events. Parents are encouraged to attend family events at the location of their students major. Refreshments will be served.

Involvement Fairs
Dates and times vary by campus location

Passport to ASU, Sparky’s Carnival, WestFest and Club Hub are opportunities to learn about student clubs and organizations at ASU. Check out what students are doing, enjoy free food, fun giveaways and join a club!

Student Employment Job Fairs
Dates and times vary by campus location

Attend a Student Employment job fair and secure a part-time job on or off campus. Pre-registration is not required for students.

Whitewash the “A”
9-11 a.m., Aug. 20, Hayden Butte (“A” Mountain)

One of the oldest traditions at ASU — students have been whitewashing the “A” since the 1930s, a ritual that marks the start of the new year and a fresh start.

 

Download the ASU Events app and cross all the events off your Sun Devil bucket list. Share your photos, videos and the excitement using #ASUFallWelcome on social media. For more information, visit https://eoss.asu.edu/welcome.

 

Top photo: Cynthia Rivera helps her son, freshman Calvin Rivera, during move-in at Arizona State University's Polytechnic campus Aug. 17, 2015. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU News

 
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ASU's Stanlie James named vice provost for inclusion and community engagement
New ASU vice provost to guide university's inclusion efforts.
August 5, 2016

ASU's Stanlie James to guide university's commitment to inclusion

ASU professor Stanlie James has taught about diversity and inclusion for many years, from Arizona to Senegal and Uganda.

Now she will step beyond teaching. She will help make it happen.

Mark Searle, ASU's executive vice president and provost, has named James as the new vice provost for inclusion and community engagement. James, an ASU administrator and faculty member for the past decade, will help lead the university community in how to further understand and tackle complicated issues associated with race, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexuality and other forms of diversity.

She will help guide university leaders and faculty, and counsel campus organizations to ensure ASU sustains and accelerates its commitment to inclusion.

“ASU’s charter rightfully declares that we define ourselves by whom we include, rather than whom we exclude,” Searle said. “Stanlie is the ideal candidate to help us advance both that mission and our responsibility to create an environment in which issues of diversity are turned from challenges into opportunities to build understanding. She brings to this role a distinguished record, established across institutions and oceans, that will help us ensure that the ASU community in which we study or work reflects the breadth and perspectives of the world beyond the edges of our campuses.”

James said she is excited about the opportunity to grapple with the issues about which she has taught for years and address them across the university, an institution that changes thousands of lives for the better every year.

“For decades, large institutions, such as the Army and Fortune 500 companies, have been telling us they need students able to work with different cultures, domestically and internationally,” James said. “Universities have not yet fully risen to meet that challenge.”

Those unmet aspirations extend well beyond higher education, she said. Signs of progress, such as greater diversity among elected officials, corporate leaders and entertainment figures, are countered by flashpoints of division in new laws, in political campaigns or on the streets.

“We are not in a post-racial period,” said James, a fourth-generation Iowan and daughter of a dentist and a teacher.

James, a graduate of Spelman College, in Atlanta, received a master’s degree from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies and a master’s and doctorate from the Graduate School of International Studies at the University of Denver. Her career has spanned from social services case worker in Iowa, to visiting professor in a number of African institutions of higher education, to director of ASU’s African and African-American Studies program. She was also a member of the leadership team that envisioned and helped build the School of Social Transformation.

ASU’s mission as a place of learning and its commitment to access is helping to expand the diversity of its students, faculty and staff.  While a march towards diversity is in process, the university’s inclusion challenges have evolved rather than been resolved, James said.

For example, students come to ASU with the experience of growing up with friends of different races or nationalities or from the LGBTQ community.

“They have an individual sense of how to deal with people who are different than themselves,” James said. “What they don’t have is a sense of systemized or institutional racism that lingers in our society. You can’t say, ‘There is no racism, because my best friend is of a different race.’”

Issues of inclusion have changed for many universities, she said. Topics of race, once limited to black and white, now span a host of skin colors. States, including Arizona, are moving toward whites becoming a minority population.

“As we engage the notion of ASU, and indeed the state of Arizona, becoming a ‘minority majority’ institution, we must seriously address the challenge of holistic inclusion,” James said. “How we get there will be a critical reflection of who we are as an institution.”

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