A new fundraising campaign kicked off Saturday to take Sun Devil Stadium to the next level of transformation with the goal of turning the nearly 60-year-old landmark into a year-round hub of activity the entire community can enjoy.
The ASU 365 Community Union campaign seeks to raise $40 million that will be used to fund elements needed to create a successful venue with amenities that will attract not only the Arizona State University community but also residents from surrounding cities.
Leading the 365 Community Union initiative is Colleen Jennings-Roggensack, vice president for cultural affairs at ASU and executive director of ASU Gammage. Here she provides some insight into this unique initiative, which is an ASU first.
Question: What was the impetus for ASU to look into using the stadium beyond the seven or so football games played each year?
Answer: Sustainability is always top of mind at ASU. With a typical college stadium being utilized only 2 percent of the time, we knew we needed to flip the paradigm and move to a 98 percent solution. Redefining Sun Devil Stadium as a university asset that becomes a cultural hub between campus and the surrounding communities is where we are heading.
Q: What type of activities can people expect inside the stadium once the 365 Community Union is fully up and running?
A: ASU’s 365 Community Union will be your place for cardio and concerts, festivals and farmers markets. It will be a place for your morning jog and your morning joe. A hot spot for movies and meals as well as a place to showcase the leaders on the field and the leaders of tomorrow. Our goal is to bring the community together in a way that has never been done before.
Q: Although the 365 Community Union at Sun Devil Stadium is being designed for use by everyone, what specific benefits do you anticipate for students?
A: The 365 Community Union will house classes, seminars and recruitment events, as well as be a new home for the Pat Tillman Veterans Center, Public Service Academy and the Global Sport Institute. There will even be a brand-new studio for the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. These new facilities were big priorities for ASU President Michael Crow and will showcase how important these initiatives are to the New American University. There will also be many opportunities for student run popup shops for aspiring entrepreneurs as well as many opportunities for work experience and internships in venue management.
Q: If you could look ahead 10 years, what is your vision of what you hope the 365 Community Union becomes?
A: Our vision is for the 365 Community Union and Sun Devil Stadium to be a dynamic cultural hub that operates every day of the year and acts as a model for venues around the world. We want to create a place where you can imagine Sun Devils of all ages starting their day with yoga on the sun deck or a breakfast meeting at a café and ending their day with a film festival or concert under the stars.
Q: What message do you have for those supporters that want to help bring the 365 Community Union vision to fruition?
A: The reinvention of Sun Devil Stadium really was born out of our philanthropy and our alumnus Jack Furst. Turning Sun Devil Stadium into a facility that operates 365 days a year couldn’t happen without incredible donors who wholeheartedly believe in this vision. Private support is so critical to everything we do at ASU, and along with Campaign ASU 2020 we all have the historic opportunity to shape the future of this great university.
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