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ASU Salute to Service to honor veterans

ASU to celebrate Salute to Service across its Phoenix metro campuses Nov. 1–12.
Want to learn more or show support for those who served? Check out events list.
October 31, 2017

Over 20 scheduled events to capture diverse aspects of service, recognize Vietnam vets

This year’s Salute to Service celebration at Arizona State University will honor the more than 3 million Americans who served during the Vietnam War with a mix of public events scheduled across ASU’s Phoenix metro campuses Nov. 1–12. 

Behind this year’s focus is a U.S. Presidential Proclamation from 2012, calling for the observance of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War until Nov. 11, 2025 — to pay tribute to all Americans who served, and honor the more than 58,000 killed in action.   

In line with the proclamation, the Salute to Service theme this year is “Legacy of Service,” which aims to recognize Vietnam War-era veterans in particular, but also all others who have worn the nation’s uniform at other times during peacetime and war.

“There is a real legacy of service at ASU,” said Steve Borden, director of the Pat Tillman Veterans Center. “There were many Vietnam vets who were going to school here and studying in what is now the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.”

While some Vietnam veterans experienced a less-than-friendly welcome back to the U.S., they were largely welcomed at ASU. Former service members even formed a veterans club on campus, Borden said. A historical record shows the veterans club participating in one of the homecoming parades back then.

Salute to Service, in its seventh iteration, is an ASU signature event organized by the Pat Tillman Veterans Center in conjunction with the ASU Alumni Association and in collaboration with other units across campus.  

The event honors those who are serving or have served, but it also captures ASU’s commitment to inclusion by welcoming military-affiliated students to the university community. 

“When we create an inclusive environment, which is very fitting in line with Dr. Crow’s vision for this university, we create an opportunity for veterans and nonveterans alike to benefit from the diversity of service members and their legacy,” said Matt Schmidt, assistant director for outreach with the Pat Tillman Veterans Center. “I think our community is better and stronger through its diversity.”

A wide array of activities have been organized for this year’s celebration — from service recognition during Sun Devil Athletics events, to insightful panel discussions on a wide range of topics, to captivating media exhibits. Most events are free and open to the public.

For Nancy Dallett, associate director for ASU’s Office for Veteran and Military Academic Engagement, the events organized here offer the opportunity to raise understanding as the nation grapples with the need to recognize and reduce the military-civilian gap. 

“Our office is pleased to be able to participate in Salute to Service 2017 and focus on our Vietnam War-era veterans and the legacy of their service,” Dallett said. “We have several opportunities for people to consider this divide and be part of the bridge.”

A screening of excerpts from highly acclaimed "The Vietnam War" documentary by Lynn Novick and Ken Burns released this year takes place Nov. 1 and includes a panel discussion on how journalists write about war.

On Nov. 2, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences will host a kickoff reception in Manzanita Hall where ASU alum Devin Mitchell’s latest Veteran Vision Project photos will be on display. This year Mitchell photographed 15 Phoenix-area Vietnam veterans.

But that is not all. 

“Those interested in documentary filmmaking can meet Iraq War veteran, filmmaker Daniel Bernardi and screen several of his films in the Veteran Documentary Corps,” Dallett said. “Or meet some women who served in Vietnam and will be sharing their stories and helping a young playwright refine her scripts for ‘A Morning in Vietnam,’ which will be staged in February 2018.”

Anyone interested in what is going on in today’s military can attend two panel discussions Nov. 2. Commanders of military bases in Arizona will be part of a discussion in Tempe’s Memorial Union on current challenges. That panel will be followed by one in the same venue with the commanders’ senior enlisted leaders giving a glimpse of what it means to serve.

On Nov. 3, the veterans chapter of the ASU Alumni Association will dedicate the ASU Veterans Memorial Wall inside the Tempe campus' Memorial Union. The wall will be inscribed with the names of the 134 ASU alumni who died serving the nation. 

The Nov. 4 football game against Colorado will feature a flyover by two U.S. Navy F-18 Super Hornet jet fighters from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington. Vietnam veterans along with TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors) families who have lost members serving in the military will receive special recognition. Recognition will also be given to game-attending commanders from Arizona military installations and to recently retired four-star Air Force general and ASU alum Phil Breedlove, former commander, Supreme Allied Command, Europe, and commander of U.S. European Command. 

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences will also host the annual Salute to Service Flag Football Tournament on Nov. 5 — pitting teams of ASU’s student veterans and ROTC units against each other for the coveted Dean’s Cup, currently held by last year’s champion Air Force ROTC team.

For a list of all Salute to Service events or more details regarding the events mentioned in this article, go here

Jerry Gonzalez

Media Relations Officer , Media Relations and Strategic Communications

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New magazine, ASU initiatives help Native students reach a ‘Turning Point’

October 31, 2017

Editor's note: This story is being highlighted in ASU Now's year in review. To read more top stories from 2017, click here.

At a university that prides itself on inclusiveness and diversity, Arizona State University got a surprising wakeup call when it recently met with more than 1,100 Native American students about their college experience.

Many of them said they felt lonely, invisible, disconnected from other indigenous students, and didn’t know how to navigate ASU’s sprawling campus, or how to access resources available to them.

“In many ways, I think ASU is doing lots of things right regarding our work with Native students,” said Bryan McKinley Jones Brayboy, President’s Professor, director of the Center for Indian Education and ASU’s special adviser to the president on American Indian Affairs. “In our conversations, it became evident that we — collectively — need to do a better job of creating a welcoming environment for Native students. We can — and will — do better in the future.”

The initial effort, a first-of-its-kind magazine geared specifically for Native American students written by an all indigenous staff, will find its way into the hands of ASU’s native student population in two weeks, perfectly timed for Native American Heritage Month, which starts Nov. 1.   

It’s just one of several efforts ASU will launch in the upcoming year, efforts aimed at easing the burdens of Native American students, building connections and community, breaking down stereotypes and providing a new path forward.

“We move at a fast pace, and sometimes we miss things that help students feel like they belong at ASU,” Brayboy said. "That is what this magazine, and our other efforts are trying to convey.”

A cultural difference

It’s not uncommon for freshmen to feel lost and lonely when they come to college, but for indigenous students, they face specific challenges most others do not.

It can be tough living away from their home communities for the first time. They’re underrepresented and surrounded by people who aren’t familiar with their traditions, culture or history.

The same holds true for “urban Indians,” an increasing population of Native people who live in cities, who often report feeling unseen or stereotyped. 

That's why ASU has made it a priority to improve their college career through a suite of new initiatives that addresses how higher education works, how to engage other Native people on campus, how to navigate academic support services, how to get the most out of ASU, and how to build toward a meaningful future to serve their tribal communities.

Magazine cover

'Turning Points' magazine

ASU junior Brian Skeet said it was a rough transition going from a high school graduating class of 20 people to a university that counts more than 70,000 students on its campuses.

“I was definitely overwhelmed and felt a real disconnection when I came here,” said Skeet, a Navajo who hails from Tuba City, Arizona. “I thought ASU was a cold place and was not conscious of Native students.”

That all changed about a year ago when Skeet joined the staff of "Turning Points," a new magazine and guide to Native student success.

Skeet said once he started compiling information for the first publication, he was surprised by how many resources are available to Native students. He said after a while he reversed his decision about ASU.

“It was such an eye-opener for me that ASU had all of these wonderful programs in place,” Skeet said.

Brayboy said "Turning Points" not only contains useful information, but it is intended to assist Native scholars in recognizing the many things ASU does for its student body in supporting their success.

“Sometimes those resources are invisible; we want to make them visible,” Brayboy said.

The magazine will be published twice a year with a circulation of 3,500 copies, which will be mailed to prospective college students and distributed to approximately 2,800 Native students on four of ASU's campuses.  

It’s just one of many ways for Native students to connect and build community, said editor Amanda Tachine.

“Connection is a worldview in how Natives are brought up, and leaving the reservation in a way is loss of self,” said Tachine, a Navajo post-doctoral scholar who works in the Center for Indian Education, where the magazine is headquartered.

“I hope that a student can pick up this magazine and it could spark their hope and know that they belong here, and continue their journey through college.”

ASU 101

Efforts to raise college enrollment among underrepresented groups are central to ASU’s goal of increasing the number of college graduates in Arizona.

ASU has also sought to increase the number of American Indians on campus through specialized programs, including the SPIRIT orientation program, which helps Native students adjust to college life over a two-week period; INSPIRE, a one-week youth camp at ASU’s Polytechnic campus; and RECHARGE, which started in 2012 with 90 students.

Through these efforts, ASU is raising awareness of its indigenous roots to all students, not just Native Americans.

Starting this semester, the School of Social Transformation instituted a lesson titled “Leveraging Our Place: Native Nations and ASU” in its SST 194 courses, also known as ASU 101.

“The lesson asks freshmen to share their feelings or experiences of connection to place, belonging and identity,” said K. Tsianina Lomawaima, a professor with ASU’s School of Social Transformation who is working with Tachine on the pilot lesson plan.  

The lesson will include a video produced by ASU Now featuring President Michael M. Crow, Brayboy and several Native American students discussing the fact that Arizona State University, Arizona and the United States are built on the ancestral homelands of Native peoples. 

ASU 101 courses are required for all freshmen, and instructors have the opportunity to select lessons from an array of topics. “Leveraging Our Place” will introduce ASU students to a sense of place and encourage them to consider the question: What does it mean to live on Indian land?

students posing for photo

(From left) "Turning Points" magazine's graphic designer Ravenna Curley, lead graphic designer Brian Skeet, social media specialist Sequoia Dance and intern Taylor Notah pose for a photo at Payne Hall on Sept. 1. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

'Greater Than 1' podcast

Research shows that Native American students make up less than 1 percent of all college students in the U.S., and only about 13 percent of all Natives have a college degree.

That gnawing statistic was the inspiration for "Greater Than 1," a podcast that will be launched this spring to provide connections, visibility, broad-based support and awareness facing Native college students today.

Creating awareness is Jameson Lopez’s mission, who along with Tachine and journalism major Taylor Notah, will co-produce the show.

“Native students are doing remarkable work for their communities, and their stories are not being told," said Lopez, an education and policy major in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College and Quechan tribe member from Fort Yuma, California.

He said the purpose of the podcast is to have interviews with successful American Indian college students and graduates to offer words of support to those who are in college and those contemplating higher education.  

The podcast can be up to an hour long and will be widely distributed through iTunes, SoundCloud, RSS feeds and other digital platforms, Lopez said.

Tachine said through Turning Points, ASU 101, and Greater than 1, the university is acknowledging that Native college students matter and underscore that ASU is on the ancestral homeland of Native peoples.

"Fundamentally, these are central to cultivating a place where students can thrive," Tachine said. "We are grateful that ASU is valuing this important work."

Brayboy said other Native initiatives are currently being developed by ASU and will be unveiled by the end of the year.

“Our message to all our students, including American Indian students, is ‘You belong!’" he said.

Native American Heritage Month events

Here's a few of the events happening this month. Find more at the Student and Cultural Engagement site and ASU Events.

  • Native American Heritage Month Kick-off: Music, food and more. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 1, MU North Stage.
  • Love Beads: String a necklace of small beads as a symbol of peac and goodwill. Hosted by American Indian Student Support Services. 2-4 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 2 at Discovery Hall 313, Tempe campus. 
  • "Indigenous Binaries: Cultural Survival in Contrast": Writer and visual artist Eric Gansworth will talk about how he uses visual art and storytelling to undercut indigenous stereotypes. 7-9 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 9, at the Heard Museum, 2301 N. Central Ave., Phoenix.
  • Native American Heritage Festival/17th annual Veterans Day Weekend Traditional Pow Wow: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11, at multiple locations on ASU's West campus.
  • "Awake: A Dream from Standing Rock": Film screenings and Q&A with Standing Rock activist and filmmaker. 6-8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 13, and Tuesday, Nov. 14, at Sun Devil Market Place, 660 S. College Ave., Tempe.
  • Design Through Native Culture: Designing buildings with a traditional background. 5-6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17, at Discovery Hall, Tempe campus.
  • Cal Seciwa Feast and Fest: 6-8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 20, at Itom Hiapsi Tribal Complex, 9405 S. Avenida del Yaqui, Guadalupe.

Top photo: Graphic designer and industrial design junior Brian Skeet (left) and industrial design senior Ravenna Curley listen as Sequoia Dance updates them on the progress of the magazine during the "Turning Points" editorial meeting at Payne Hall on Friday morning on Sept. 1. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

Reporter , ASU News