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Opinion: Don't meme – innovate

Sun Devils need to get off their Twitters and find real opportunities to innovate

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Students use the crosswalk on College Avenue by the ASU Fulton Center in Tempe, Arizona, on Sept. 14, 2017. 

No. 1 in innovation? Well, yeah, I sure hope we are.

Over the last four years, ASU's Tempe campus has been ranked as the most innovative school in the country according to U.S. News and World Report. And while it has been on buses and banners on campus, it has also been the subject for many tweets and memes generated by ASU students. 

This turn to social media has become a trend for many topics, especially over the last few years in regards to topics such as larger social movements and wide-scale events. It is clear that Sun Devils are not the exception of turning positive change and initiatives into a joke across social media platforms. 

Some Sun Devils may not grasp exactly what initiatives and programs earned ASU its spot at the top. It's clear that students need to stop making memes about innovation and actually take steps to be more innovative. 

ASU has worked to become the most innovative school through programs and activities like Innovation Zones, the Entrepreneurship + Innovation program and research. Although ASU Tempe was awarded top college, there are programs across the University that highlight innovation and a variety of faculty who work on innovating their specific programs. 

Christopher Wharton, assistant dean of innovation and strategic initiatives at the College of Health Solutions, is a great example of these initiatives. 

"Just like the University, we have a diverse set of disciplines within our college," Wharton said. "It's basically about leveraging the tools that we have and the expertise that we have to solve health problems and to innovate health problems."

Wharton referenced other centers across ASU, such as the Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology, and discussed the teams that are in place within CHS that create a collaborative environment for faculty, students and more.

It is through these collaborations, among others, that ASU is working to become more innovative in its School for the Future of Innovation in Society.

Michael Horn wrote in Forbes, "Innovation has reached buzzword status inside colleges and universities," something that's apparent daily through tweets from students and outsiders poking fun at the title. 

"Colleges must mitigate the risks that can come with innovation while maximizing the upside for their specific institutional mission," Horn wrote.

This is the responsibility of both the University as well as its students, faculty and more. Look past the Twitter app on your phone, go out and innovate. 

With ASU being such an accessible institution, there should be no reason not to do so. 

 Reach the columnist at and follow @mayafoxall on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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