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Communities connect in the name of learning something new

March 24, 2010

From coffee meet-ups to workshops to arts and crafts, “Communities Connect Dialogues” is a new university collaborative designed to bring the ASU community together in the name of learning something new.

Beginning April 1 on the Downtown Phoenix campus, Communities Connect Dialogues aim to bring faculty, staff, students and community members together to share, connect and celebrate the spirit and diversity of ASU and its campuses. Dialogues is a collaborative effort coordinated by the Office of University Initiatives.

“We’re hoping to provide a venue for participants to share their stories about collaboration and bettering our communities,” said Jacqueline Smith, university innovation fellow with the Office of University Initiatives. “They can learn about resources to build effective internship programs, develop marketing strategies that reach a diversity of audiences, and even meet potential partners.”

The Dialogues are open to everyone.

“Both communities and institutions have so much to learn from each other and the Dialogues are a great place to begin,” said Laci Lester, a core member of the downtown planning team and a second year Public Ally serving at Karuna Village Fair Trade.

The Dialogues will offer something unique at each event – from workshops to networking to campus tours, music, arts and crafts, and food.

“We’re hoping people will come away with a greater understanding of the nuances of working with community organizations and larger institutes, such as ASU,” Lester said. “It’ll be a day where people will connect and learn from one another.”

The Downtown Phoenix campus Dialogue will begin with a coffee meet-up, presentations and a photo display of examples of collaboration from local organizations such as Greater Phoenix Youth at Risk and the Herberger Institute Community School for Design and the Arts. Participants will then engage in internship development and marketing strategies workshops before heading outside to the Civic Space Park for Lunch Unplugged, hosted by a local radio station.

The Dialogue will continue April 2 with action, advocacy and arts – a day filled with gallery exhibitions, art activists and special guests.

ASU’s Polytechnic campus will conduct the next Dialogue, beginning at 9 a.m., April 14.

“I can’t wait for people to come out and see what we have going on here,” said Rachel Beech, event coordinator at ASU’s Polytechnic campus. “I think the Dialogues will give the Polytechnic campus an amazing opportunity to show off everything we have available.”

Wadell Blackwell, director of Multicultural Student Affairs at ASU’s Polytechnic campus, agrees that a tour is the best way to experience the campus.

“Once people visit, they get a unique understanding for what this campus is about, especially the flight simulators, the new buildings and facilities, and the graphic print labs that produce a lot of the printed material you see around campus,” Blackwell said.

ASU’s West campus launches its dialogue, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., April 21, with a Sun Devils Networking Reception which will include presentations, networking and dessert. 

“Tapping into what we call ‘the hidden job market’ is really what this event is all about,” said Isabel Ferrales, director of Career Services at the West campus. “If you ask the average ASU student, he or she may pretend to know what networking is and why it is useful, but at the reception, we offer the opportunity to practice actually doing it.”

The West Dialogue will continue April 22 with West CultureFest, a multicultural celebration with dance, music storytelling, arts and crafts, and food.

“The West CultureFest will provide a great opportunity for university and community members to make connections in a fun and entertaining atmosphere,” said Roberta Magdaleno, director of public affairs at ASU’s West campus. “We think it’s important for the university to serve as a gathering place where everyone can come together and experience a variety of cultures.”

The Dialogues will close out at the Tempe campus April 27. Celebrating the spirit of collaboration, the final Dialogue will partner with Ignite Phoenix for an event called Ignite Phoenix @ASU – what is hoped to be an evening of collaborative explosion and idea exchange.

“The rapid-fire, open format of Ignite will really help facilitate discussion and idea-sharing across boundaries,” said Jeff Moriarty, organizer and co-founder of Ignite Phoenix.

“I'm excited for the opportunity to work with ASU to see what ideas, passion and connections might be brought to light. What Ignite Phoenix does really well is drive people to share their passions across the many different groups and communities that exist in our sprawling Valley. With its students, alumni, employees and neighbors, ASU represents one of the largest communities in the Valley. The truth is, ASU is deeply intertwined with countless aspects of our culture and economy, and in some way or another it impacts the lives of a lot of people in Arizona.”

The Arizona State Credit Union is serving as primary co-sponsor on all four campuses by providing refreshments, door prizes and marketing supplies. Other partners include the College of Public Programs, the Office of Public Affairs, the Department of Student Engagement, Career Services and the Cultural Arts Coalition.

For detailed information about the Communities Connect Dialogues please visit

To RSVP for the events visit or contact Jacqueline Smith.


Written by Samantha Leigh Miller
University Initiatives