Tempe Mayor Corey Woods spoke about city initiatives for ASU students, civic engagement and socks during an event hosted by Undergraduate Student Government Tempe on Wednesday.
The mayor emphasized the importance of students voting and paying attention to local government in Tempe, but also spoke about initiatives he hopes to enact in order to encourage students to get involved in City Council.
"When I was going to school here some 18 years ago, that wasn't always the case," Woods said. "A lot of students were not from Tempe, Arizona – they were from other parts of Arizona, they were from other parts of the country and so they either weren't registered to vote, or they were registered to vote somewhere else other than Tempe. So many times a lot of the interests that students had were not being adequately represented on the City Council."
Woods said his office is looking into a fellowship or internship program for ASU graduates so young people can contribute their points of view.
He also wants to increase affordable housing opportunities so ASU graduates can stay in the Tempe area and use their degrees to better the city.
"I love the idea of getting more students to have a direct pipeline to the city of Tempe immediately upon graduating college," Woods said. "The beauty of it, quite honestly, is you have so many people at this University who are incredibly talented and hardworking and can't wait to get out of school to make a difference in the real world."
In a statement, USGT's Government Affairs Director Darius Diggs, who is a sophomore studying political science, said student government works to create an atmosphere of civic engagement on campus and advocates for the representation of all students.
"We do this by promoting resources and opportunities for students on the Tempe campus and having events such as the Dinner With The Mayor to contribute to the political efficacy of students on campus regardless of ideological association," Diggs said in the statement, adding how the mayor's role would instill into students the priority of participation.
"I would encourage you to take a look and send us a comment," Woods said. "This is an important issue that is something you want to set an example for future generations about the kind of city that you want to live in, and the kinds of values that you want to see espoused by the city government."
After his speech, the mayor took questions submitted by students prior to the event and from students in the audience.
One student in the audience asked, "Why are you here? What's in it for you?"
Woods explained that speaking with students inspires him and helps him remember why he started a career in public service. He also explained that it's important to him for young people to see the people representing them are not much older than they are.
"The thing I love most about being in rooms full of young people is that young people believe that they can move mountains and they believe they can change the world," Woods said. "So I feed off of the energy of it, quite honestly."
Another student complimented the mayor's socks, prompting him to launch into an explanation of his favorite sock brands with a mission: Bombas and Voyce Threads. The latter brand is Arizona-based and supports local organizations like the Arizona Humane Society.
In his closing remarks, Woods thanked students for coming and expressed excitement and hope for the future of the city of Tempe.
"When I see people out here like yourselves, I go home at night thinking, 'I have hope,'" Woods said.
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