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Pitchfork Awards: a night of celebration for Sun Devil community

Orpheum theatre pitchfork awards

The Pitchfork Awards were presented to the ASU community in downtown Phoenix at the historic Orpheum Theatre on Thursday, April 7, 2016. 

Between the towering buildings of downtown Phoenix stands the historic Orpheum Theatre, which was the location of the 5th annual Pitchfork Awards. Sun Devils gathered to recognize hundreds of students, advisors and organizations for their commitment to the ASU community.

Guests and nominees were ushered down a red carpet printed with pitchforks, toward a photographer on Thursday night  After getting their pictures taken in a true Oscar fashion, they are set free to the pre-show where they can mingle while enjoy a glass of sparkling cider or fruit water.

When the doors finally opened the view of the theater is breath taking. The detailed and intricate design makes the Orpheum Theatre a one of a kind location for the award ceremony.

The lights begin to dim and the a hush falls over the crowd. The show is about to begin.

What are Pitchfork Awards

The Pitchfork Awards are a celebration of individuals, advisors, clubs, and organizations who are making a difference on ASU campus. Each award is designed to recognize one of these groups who embody the Sun Devil way of achievement, engagement and responsibility.

Biochemistry senior Mariha Syed was Live Entertainment Co-chair for the event this year and became involved through Maroon and Gold ambassadors. She presented the leadership awards to students.

“I feel like my favorite part of the night, now and previous pitch fork awards, is always pre-show,” Syed said. “It’s just a lot of fun.”

The night started off with a pre-show as ASU Andaaz took the stage. The organization is an ASU Bollywood dancing club and stunned the crowd with its elaborate and exciting dances.

A photo posted by Aly Sherry (@alsherry) on


In total 30 awards were presented ranging from "Sports Club of the Year" to "Outstanding Undergraduate Student Organization." 

Religious studies senior Johnny Martin is the president and creator of Sun Devils are Better Together, a club whose mission is to bring together people of all faiths and create acceptance and understanding between them.

“It’s just really incredible and it feels amazing to know that our message of interfaith corporation and respect is really resonating with the sun devil community,” Martin said.

This club won two of the three awards it was nominated for, including the Changemaker Award for Social Change and Outstanding Interfaith Program.

“We all just feel really motivated to keep on doing what were doing, because people are now aware of it, recognizing it for the value that it brings to our campus,” Matin said. “That gives us all the more reason to say what can we do bigger and better, and how can we increase this movement next year.”

While the awards aim to recognize students for what they have done on campus, it also encourages them to continue making ta difference on campus.


Interspersed between the awards were performances by JPC, KoDE, TEMPEtations and Hip-Hop Coalition. At the end of the night the audience texted in their favorite performance, and the Hip-Hop Coalition took away a Pitchfork award.

Psychology and sociology sophomore Beth Rosenberg is a dancer with the coalition. She said she was excited to get onstage and perform for the second time at Pitchfork Awards. The last performance displayed the unique dance and talent of ASU's hip-hop coalition, an ASU sport club. 

“Being a part of Hip Hop Coalition we normally do more local events and ASU stuff, but now we get to perform on a big stage with lights and everything and that’s something I haven’t been able to do for a couple years now,” she said.

Each group that performed was talented and worked well under the lights of the stage. The first performer was JPC, three students who performed acoustically and caused the crowd to erupt into cheers when one of the performers began beatboxing.

The next group was a dance group called KoDE, which focused on Korean pop music and stunned the crowd with their style.

TEMPEtations, one of ASU’s a cappella groups, performed a version of a song from Lion King, which filled the theater with beautiful music without any instruments.

Who Won

Every nominee who attended the event Thursday evening deserves recognition for their action on campus, however, each category only had one winner. Some winners include World Aids day for Outstanding Well Devil Project Award, 942 Crew for The Sun Devil Spirit Award (group), Welcome Black Poetry Explosion for Best Cultural Program and Sparky Service Dogs for Most Promising New Student Organization. 

For business sophomore Tyler Pollard, winning the Sun Devil Spirit Award means more than just face paint and ASU branded clothing. He said how he believes leading by example and getting involved is what school spirit meant to him.

“There is so much confidence that can be gained from taking on a project and seeing it pan out successfully,” Pollard said.

Pollard was also involved with working on Infernofest, an event that was nominated for Best Entertainment Program (over 500). However, the winner of the category was Fall Fest, another successful ASU event. 

Of course the list of winners goes on. You may check out the complete run-down of finalists at the event's website or check out the Pitchfork Awards Twitter for a complete list of winners. 

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