Skip to main content

'Engage and confront challenging ideas,' Crow tells ASU's newest freshmen at rally

First-year students learn about traditions and what university has to offer at high-decibel Sun Devil Welcome at Wells Fargo Arena

Sun Devil Welcome
August 15, 2017

Members of Arizona State University's 11,500-strong freshman class gathered together for the first time Tuesday for the traditional Sun Devil Welcome rally.

Busloads of freshmen poured in from the Polytechnic, Downtown Phoenix and West campuses to Wells Fargo Arena on the Tempe campus, with everyone clad in gold T-shirts to learn how to properly flash a pitchfork and sing the fight song.

The screaming crowd watched hula dancers from the Hawai’i and Pacific Islander Club and performers from the ASU Hip Hop Coalition, saw a video on the tradition of whitewashing the “A” on A Mountain and watched Sparky make a dramatic entrance in the darkened arena.

Video by Laura Sposato/ASU

Brittany Benedict, the Undergraduate Student Government president for the Tempe campus, exhorted the students to get involved in the more than 1,100 clubs and groups at ASU.

“If you have ideas or suggestions, you have the power to have your voice heard,” she said.

“The opportunities at ASU are endless. No dream is too big and no goal is unattainable. Step outside your comfort zone. Start a new organization. Study abroad.”

President Michael Crow told the students they might face struggles this year, missing their families, doubting their abilities and thinking that ASU is not the place for them.

“We are here to help you through all that. Everyone that’s sitting in this room is qualified to attend a research university, and we have already predicted that you have the capability to graduate from this university,” he said.

“Everything that we are, everything that we do, all of our faculty and staff, the counselors, health services, athletic department, everything, is here for you.”

He asked them to embrace the challenges they’ll inevitably face.

“Move out of your comfort zone. Don’t try to get all A’s by taking courses you know you can get an A in. Don’t not work with someone you’re not comfortable working with. Engage and confront challenging ideas,” he said.

“Do not just walk by something you don’t agree with. Do not just walk by something that can be enhanced by you.”

After the rally, the energized freshmen poured out of the arena, ready to begin college.

“I really liked it,” said Nikki Taylor, a psychology major. “I liked hearing about all of the groups and seeing what everyone was doing. I’m interested in the ukulele club.”

Top photo: Biology freshman Lauren Dillon (center) cheers for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences during roll call at Sun Devil Welcome on Tuesday afternoon at Wells Fargo Arena on Tempe campus. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now 

More Sun Devil community


Woman speaking into a microphone at the front of a classroom full of students.

Psychology professor named president-elect of international research association

Engaging in and strengthening psychology research at Arizona State University and globally is a priority for Ashley K. Randall. In recognition of that commitment, Randall, an associate professor in…

President Barack Obama speaks at Arizona State University's 2009 spring commencement.

Obama Scholars Program celebrates 15 years of championing accessible education

Arizona State University has played host to many highly regarded commencement speakers throughout the years, but none quite as prestigious as that for the class of 2009, when graduates were joined by…

Portrait of Benjamin Taylor.

Providing access to justice

When Benjamin Taylor completed a financial internship with a major Phoenix corporation in the early 2000s, he realized he was in the wrong field. “One day, I was in my cubicle crunching numbers and…