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Downtown event introduces students to art, commerce and culture

August 14, 2009

Downtown denizens are mixing business with pleasure at a weekend event that will introduce ASU students to the benefits of an urban lifestyle.

The City of Phoenix, the Downtown Phoenix Partnership, Artlink, Inc. and ASU's Downtown Phoenix campus are partnering on a special trolley tour to encourage and engage student leaders to take advantage of the variety of amenities offered in the city's core.

The tour, which showcases entertainment venues, restaurants, boutiques, and cultural attractions in the heart of Downtown Phoenix, starts at 5 p.m., Aug. 15 at Taylor Place residence hall, 120 E. Taylor Place. Three trolley cars will pick up approximately 60 community assistants, student engagement supervisors and workers and residential college peer leaders for a fun-filled evening of art, commerce and culture.

Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon said the tour will be comparable to a treasure hunt.

“Please join me in welcoming our ASU students to downtown Phoenix for our 2009 tour. Our new students will experience an emerging downtown in the heart of this city on the rise,” Gordon said. “We have so many hidden treasures that won't stay hidden for much longer. I thank ASU, Artlink, Inc. and the Downtown Phoenix Partnership for shining a light on Downtown Phoenix.”

Student leaders selected for the tour have extensive exposure to the ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus student community and were invited because of their ability to promote the area. Tour stops include the Arizona Science Center Dorrance Planetarium, Arizona Center, Roosevelt Row and several restaurants and boutiques.

“The idea is to introduce student leaders what Phoenix has to offer,” said Terry Madeksza, director of operations for the Downtown Phoenix Partnership. “We want to expose them to all of our entertainment, retail, dining and cultural opportunities, which are all within walking distance of where they'll live.”

The tour will also expose students to ASU's Sun Card “Use it Here” program, a new business incentive program. Members can simply show their Sun Card at participating businesses and venues for discounts on products and services. Participating vendors will display placards that say, “Use it Here” with ASU's mascot, “Sparky,” holding a Sun Card. Faculty and staff will be encouraged to load dollars onto their cards and use them at participating vendors in the downtown area.

Artlink President Sloane Burwell said her organization couldn’t be happier to participate in what will hopefully be a time-honored tradition.

“It’s a natural, organic partnership. For the last 20 years Artlink has been a vital part of bringing people downtown and we've contributed to the development of our city,” Burwell said. “Working with ASU in this way is like introducing the next generation of leaders to our neighborhoods.”

The Downtown Phoenix campus is embedded in the heart of the city. The colleges and schools on the campus directly interact with more than 500 agencies to provide internships, research, partnerships, programs and clinical practices. Funded by a voter-approved $223 million bond, the campus will comprise nine buildings that cover approximately 20 acres, accommodate 15,000 students, employ 1,800 faculty and staff and generate about $948 million in construction costs and occupy more than 1.5 million square feet by its projected build-out in 2020. The campus will have an annual operational economic impact of $570 million not only producing the intellectual assets for the city, state, nation and the world, but also proving to be an economic force as well.