There is a lot of pride in the Sun Devil community, and the events of Welcome Week have done a great deal to instill that same pride in our incoming students. From a Fall Welcome concert featuring Mac Miller, to Taylorfest, and Tiki Luau, it is evident that we’ve done a great deal to welcome our own.
But while ASU was putting on impressive events to greet its enthusiastic student body, a quieter reception was being held in the neighborhoods surrounding our Tempe Campus. In coordination with Tempe Police Department and the City of Tempe, ASU organized a Welcome Back Walk. Although absent of pomp and glamour, this welcome spoke the loudest to us.
The three-day event involved Tempe police walking through neighborhoods heavily populated by students, and sought to establish a connection between ASU students and their neighbors. In doing so, the officers became vessels of an increasingly important conversation about how ASU students and their neighbors should interact.
Although enamored with Maroon and Gold, ASU students may find it difficult to be involved with the neighbors around us. After all, in a sea of students who share our majors, clubs, fraternities, sororities, intramural team, etc. it seems almost silly to branch out to people who may be older than our parents. So, we’ll ask the reader a question: What is the place of ASU students within the Tempe community? For the sizable portion of ASU students who reside in houses in the neighborhoods surrounding ASU, this question is paramount.
Considering how deeply involved all of us are in college life, it’s easy to become insular. It’s easy to forget that, despite ASU’s immense influence on Tempe, we are simply a part of this city. We must remain conscious that our student body maintains a different lifestyle from many of the residents of Tempe.
We’re mostly 18- to 22-year-olds with a penchant for staying up late, being loud and occasionally being reckless. Our neighbors are parents with kids who need to get to bed, elderly folks who enjoy quiet nights every now and then, and folks who simply aren’t OK with dozens of cars pulling up in front of their home or the house-party across the street.
We can’t simply ignore that. The main objective of the Welcome Back Walk was to facilitate a communication between residents that have largely been grouped into “ASU students” and “Not ASU students”.
The steps taken by Welcome Back Walk present an opportunity to start working towards mending this disconnect. Most residents are reasonable people, and all know what it was like to be young. If they are informed of intentions of a party over the weekend, more likely than not, they will be receptive towards ensuring the night is safe for the community.
If communities surrounding ASU are to maintain a level of respect and tolerance, it starts with us.
Want to join the conversation? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep letters under 300 words and be sure to include your university affiliation. Anonymity will not be granted.