Editorial: Defining the ‘New American University’

One of the hallmarks of life at ASU is the large and diverse community. There are over 70,000 students enrolled, and it’s nearly impossible to fit that many people into one box. It’s impossible to capture the vibrancy of ASU, but the concept of a “New American University” comes close.

How do we define a New American University? We’re not an Ivy League university. We can’t hold our own in football against the SEC. We don’t have a medical school. We don’t have astronomically high tuition. We don’t have snow days.

We’re 72,000 students from 120 different countries. We all have different reasons for coming to ASU, whether it was a lifelong dream, fulfilling a family dynasty or just settling for an in-state school. We all have different goals and different paths we want to take once we leave ASU.

One of the most striking things is this: There will never be another time when we can walk around with other (mostly) young people who are eager to learn and achieve.

Once we leave, we’ll be in the world of bills, bills, bills. For now, we’re surrounded students who are also looking to do something bigger and be something better.

That’s the beauty of the university setting. We have a vast array of opportunities to make new connections and find ourselves.

The same could be true of any major university. But there’s something about ASU that draws people here from all over the country. The reason for a desire to appeal to these out-of-state students is not hard to guess. Tuition for non-Arizona residents is significantly higher than in-state students and means additional resources for the university.

But those students bring much more to the table than their tuition dollars. The diversity of ASU is remarkable. People with different interests and ambitions always make things more interesting. It’s still difficult, if not impossible, to fully grasp what ASU means to us. But this is a start.

For many of us, attending ASU is simply the best or most convenient option for pursuing higher education. But once we arrived, once we spent time on campus, it’s hard to not feel at least some connection to the institution.

Everyone will have a different definition of ASU. We all bring different points of view to our college careers and we see the world differently, too. But we all share a connection to the New American University.

We still can’t fit in a box. But it’s not like we’d want to, anyway.

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