Alumni chapters boost local communities by participating in ASU Cares


February 10, 2014

Arizona State University alumni across the nation will be participating throughout the month of March in volunteer projects in their local communities that range from helping with city park cleanups to sorting food bank donations. The volunteerism is a part of ASU Cares, a service initiative that encourages civic involvement among Sun Devils.

More than a dozen alumni chapters from San Diego to Washington, D.C., will participate in ASU Cares projects this year. Here is a brief overview of the planned activities. ASU Cares 2013 orange harvest Download Full Image

ASU Cares Day projects:

• Idaho: Cleanup of Idaho Botanical Gardens, March 1

• Pittsburgh: Assisting the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society, March 1

• Tempe, Ariz.: Assisting in the ASU Tempe campus annual citrus harvest, March 1 (Update, 4 p.m. Feb. 28: Due to the inclement weather, the March 1 ASU Cares event at the Tempe campus – the orange harvest – has been cancelled. We apologize for the inconvenience.) 

• Washington, D.C.: Mural painting at a local public school, March 8

• Boston: Assisting at the American Red Cross Food Pantry, March 15

• Minneapolis: Sorting donations at Second Harvest Heartland WEST, March 15

• Chicago: Assisting at the Greater Chicago Food Depository, March 22

• Denver: Assisting at fundraising sale for Action Center of Colorado, March 22

• Orange County, Calif.: Beach cleanup at Newport Beach, March 22

• San Diego: Beach cleanup at South Mission Beach, March 22

• Salt Lake City: Assisting at the Utah Food Bank, March 27

• Columbus, Ohio: City park cleanup at Wolfe Park, March 29

• Seattle: Pack food at Northwest Harvest - Kent Warehouse, March 29

To register for any of the above events, or for more information about ASU Cares, visit https://alumni.asu.edu/volunteer/asu-cares.

Valentine's Day tips to keep your relationship healthy


February 10, 2014

Ah, Valentine’s Day – a time for love and sweet times spent with your significant other. 

If only it were so easy. Romance can be a balancing act, especially if you live with your partner.  Download Full Image

Jess Alberts, Arizona State University President’s Professor in the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication, has spent recent years researching conflict in personal and professional relationships, including marital conflict, the division of domestic labor and couples’ daily interaction.

To make your relationship with your partner work better, Alberts shares these recommendations for managing conflict: 

• Agree with your partner to never do any name calling, ever. “It wounds, and it wounds deeply,” Alberts said. 

• Look at how you attribute blame or how you react to something your partner does or doesn’t do. How you interpret your partner’s behavior has a significant impact on the reason why you are angry. “We don’t respond to what people do. We respond to the reason that we think they did the behavior,” Alberts said.

• If you have a problem with your significant other’s behavior, ask them about their perspective or why they thought their actions were a good idea. The reasons behind what they did may surprise you. Sometimes people are exhausted and not thinking straight. Or, they may think that you would do the same thing in their situation. Or, they may not have been thinking about you when they made their decision. “People usually have reasons for what they do,” Alberts said. 

• Be positive. “I tell students that we fall in love with our reflection in our lover’s eyes. This means that part of the reason we love someone else is how they see us and make us feel. It really helps to have that positive attitude when things are going well, and especially when you fight,” she said. 

• Don’t use your relationship as a source of power. Don’t try to control your partner by telling them what they can and cannot do. “Using your relationship as a source of power doesn’t work very well,” she said. “An argument shouldn’t be about winning. It should be about solving a problem. No one is happy in a relationship where they feel like they have no control and they lose all of the time.” 

• Negotiate household tasks and realize that your significant other may have a lower threshold for mess than you do. Things that one person may not even notice can drive another person nuts. Talk about the division of labor in the household and how you’ll handle it if you have different thresholds for clutter. 

• Don’t stew in anger. Talk about things before you explode. But, be sure to pick a time to talk that is as good for your partner as it is for you.