Ignite Phoenix hosting event on Tempe campus

COLORFUL SPEECH: Speakers give five-minute presentations on various topics during Ignite Phoenix events. The next event is scheduled for April 27 at ASU. (Photo Courtesy of sheliadeeisme)

For those running on creative fumes as the semester ends, Ignite Phoenix is looking to light a flame within ASU’s best and brightest.

The lecture series will take place April 27 at the Education Lecture Hall on the Tempe campus, focusing on ASU’s role in the community and how it can be improved. Ignite Phoenix is an “information exchange” that hosts several events annually, where speakers give short presentations about their ideas and passions.

“Ignite [Phoenix] at its best is passion distilled down into actionable form,” said Jana Knapp, an organizer for the event. “What we get is people who are very passionate about something.”

Hot off the heels of their last event, Ignite Phoenix 6, at the Mesa Arts Center, organizers are now turning their focus toward an ASU-hosted event.

“The whole purpose of Ignite is sharing and connecting,” said Katie Charland, a recent ASU graduate. Charland, who received a master’s degree in mass communication, said she hopes the event allows ASU to better connect with its community.

“I want to keep feeling connected and I want to keep sharing my ideas,” Charland said, “and hopefully that benefits people.”

Ignite Phoenix began in 2008, organized by a group of volunteers. They intended to bring together people from the technical, creative and business communities to network, inspire and share their stories.

“Ignite has a unique problem — you cannot accurately explain it to someone,” Knapp said.

The events take place once every few months, and hopeful participants submit their would-be presentations to be reviewed by the Ignite Phoenix selection committee. Up to 18 chosen speakers make their presentations at the event.

Speakers for the April 27 event will be announced later this week.

“The energy of that room filled with 500 to 600 people who are there because they want the people on stage to share and succeed — it’s a different kind of energy that you get from anywhere else,” Knapp said.

Knapp first became involved with the organization after attending Ignite Phoenix 4, which she said “completely changed” her life. She’s been involved in organizing the events ever since.

Charland found herself inspired after attending Ignite Phoenix 3, and made a submission for the fourth event.

“It made me inspired and want to participate,” Charland said.

Charland’s submission for Ignite Phoenix 4 was titled “Passing Notes 2.0,” encouraging educators to find new ways to utilize social media as a teaching tool in the classroom. She made a submission to speak at June’s Ignite Phoenix 7, titled “The Art of Brand Loyalty.”

Former ASU graduate student Tyler Hurst said he’s glad ASU is doing more to connect with the community.

“I see ASU as very positive, but also a huge negative since they tend to isolate themselves from the rest of the community,” he said.

Hurst made two submissions to speak at the ASU event — “How to Fit In By Standing Out In the Crowd” and “How Collaborative Workspaces Save the World.” Hurst said he hopes to encourage collaboration.

“I want to show that getting involved helps everyone a ton,” he said.

Knapp said the teamwork between ASU and Ignite Phoenix is great for both organizations.

“ASU came to Ignite and said this would be a good way to wrap up their community dialogues … they wanted to do it around a theme of collaboration between ASU and the community,” Knapp said. “Anytime anyone is looking to inspire passionate people to make change in the community … I think that’s a great thing.”

The partnership between ASU and Ignite Phoenix, Knapp said, is not only beneficial for the organizations but for the Greater Phoenix area as a whole.

“Phoenix has so much opportunity for growth, change, excitement,” Knapp said. “It’s such a huge city, that doing Ignite in different places — during different times of the year with different audiences — hopefully, we can reach a mass amount of people in Phoenix and say, ‘Hey, turn around and do something really cool.’”

Reach the reporter at joseph.schmidt@asu.edu