Open house event offers family-friendly activities, inside look at ASU initiatives

Flier of the Night of the Open Door event that takes place on the March 2nd. (Photo by Abhiram Saligram)

Flier of the Night of the Open Door event that takes place on the March 2nd. (Photo by Abhiram Chandrashekar)

A campus-wide open house Saturday will offer hands-on activities, tours and an inside look at many initiatives and projects at ASU.

From 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., the Night of the Open Door will display ASU’s Tempe and West campuses to all students, parents, faculty and community members.

Spearheaded by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, this event will include more than 100 activities showcasing ASU’s involvement in the arts, engineering, science and the humanities.

The event is free to the public and although pre-registration is not necessary, the first 2,000 attendees who register online before the event will get an ASU bag.

 

History

A part of the Arizona SciTech Festival, the Night of the Open Door event is in its second year and is one of the biggest events at the festival.

The Arizona SciTech Festival is held statewide during February and March and promotes STEAM: science, technology, engineering, the arts and math.

The festival is a collaboration between the Arizona Science Center, the Arizona Technology Council Foundation, UA and ASU.

Charles Kazilek, assistant dean of Technology, Media and Communications for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, said the Night of the Open Door is modeled after the German event Lange Nacht der Offenen Türen.

He said faculty from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences were aware of or had attended the event in Germany and thought it was a good model for a similar event at ASU.

“We were already planning a signature event for the Arizona SciTech Festival,” Kazilek said. “The German event gave us the perfect name to encompass a shared evening of science, humanities, engineering and the arts.”

Along with the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, the Center for Science and Imagination and the Biodesign Institute also collaborated on this event.

Margaret Coulombe, director of academic communications at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, said 3,500 people have registered for the event, nearly double the number of people who registered last year.

However, because registration is not required, it is hard to estimate how many people attended last year’s event and how many people will attend this year’s event, she said.

“What makes this event work so well is the enthusiasm of each of the units in our college and their efforts to create events that the public and students want to see,” Coulombe said. “With this year’s addition of Open Door @ ASU West, we can really open up the entire campus and really share one-on-one what the university offers all of us in the metro Phoenix community.”

Anna Wales, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences special event manager, said there are more than 800 students, faculty, alumni and staff volunteering at the event on the Tempe campus.

She said all groups involved in the project met shortly after the 2012 event, which was held on the first Saturday in March, to begin planning this year’s event.

After discussing what worked and what didn’t, Wales said one thing that could have been done better was to have more food trucks at the event.

 

 

Activities

The Night of the Open Door will have more than 100 activities on the Tempe campus along with the activities at the West campus.

These range from hands-on activities and arts and crafts to tours and performances. All of the activities are suitable for all ages.

Events include an interactive Oscar event hosted by School of Transborder Studies professors Paul Espinosa and Desiree Garcia about transborder films and film production.

Attendees can also tour ASU’s Super Computer at the Goldwater Center and the University’s insect collection, rattlesnake, sea turtles and glow-in-the-dark birds exhibits at the School of Life Sciences.

The School of International Letters and Cultures will host belly dancing performances, international karaoke, calligraphy and different workshops.

A list of all activities and a map outlining the zones in which events are taking place can be found on the event’s website.

Exploratory sophomore Eric Macias volunteered at one of the registration tables at last year’s Night of the Open Door.

He said the event is an engaging way for kids of all ages to explore and experience different programs offered at ASU.

“Events like this are important, because they are a good way for kids to explore what a college education has to offer,” Macias said.

Kazilek said this event benefits the community, because it offers the public a chance to see parts of ASU that are usually closed to the public, such as the Biodesign Institute and the Super Computer facility.

“Whether it is the Mars Rover, green energy, biomedicine, ancient Rome, extreme weather, or Chinese language and calligraphy, you can get a sense of all the choices and opportunities to study, collaborate, experience and even invent your future,” Kazilek said.

 

Reach the reporter at ppineda@asu.edu or follow her @paulinapineda22