Thousands of freshmen in Arizona State University’s Class of 2022 gathered as one for the first time Tuesday and were urged to get involved and take responsibility for their futures.
Clad in gold T-shirts for the traditional Sun Devil Welcome rally, the screaming crowd came from the Polytechnic, Downtown Phoenix and West campuses to Tempe to watch the Hip Hop Coalition dancers, see a video on the tradition of whitewashing the “A” on “A” Mountain and welcome Sparky in a dramatic entrance to the darkened Wells Fargo Arena.
Alexander Haw, a political science major and the Undergraduate Student Government president for the West campus, exhorted the students to get involved in some of the more than 1,100 clubs and groups at ASU.
“Look up,” he said, pointing to the basketball jerseys hanging from the rafters.
“Each one of those students left a legacy and their mark on campus. Your legacy will be different, but you have a chance to shine," said Haw. “I challenge you to go to events, to be a part of clubs and to take classes that spark your interest. Be the you you’ve always wanted to be.”
Students from each college waved props including glow sticks, light-up devil ears and giant foam hands.
Lyndsey Smith, a business major, enjoyed representing the W. P. Carey School of Business with banners, but envied some other schools' swag: “Our props need more height.”
President Michael M. Crow told the students that from this point, they are taking responsibility for their own futures.
He showed a photo of himself as a freshman in 1973. When he arrived on campus at Iowa State University, he realized that the dorms didn’t open for several more days.
“I didn’t know what to do. I had 20 bucks in my pocket,” he said.
“I improvised. I found some people and convinced them to give me a job building cots in the dorm for which they would let me sleep there.”
Crow told the freshmen that their life outcomes are now in their hands.
“You’re going to be making decisions. You’re going to be improvising,” he said.
“The decisions you make in your first year will determine whether you can get to where you want to be. It’s not something you decide later.”
The Sun Devil Marching Band, spirit squad and Sparky led the crowd in singing the fight song to end the rally.
The burst of school spirit was electrifying.
“I thought it was really fun. It made me excited for the football games,” said Alonzo Mclemore, a medical studies major.
Leah Smith, an exercise wellness major from New York, appreciated the burst of ASU pride.
“I was very excited for all the sports events and getting to know people,” she said. “I come from out of state, and it’s a lot different back home.”
Video by Deanna Dent/ASU Now
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