New TV series features students sharing personal stories about their ASU experience
Editor’s note: This story is featured in the 2021 year in review.
As COVID-19 continues to make visiting college campuses a challenge for prospective students and families, ASU is stepping up and taking an innovative approach to allow students to tour ASU, all from the comfort of their living room sofas. Introducing the ASU College Tour, a 60-minute episode about ASU in the new Hollywood-produced series, "The College Tour," now streaming on Amazon Prime Video and Roku.
The new series was the brainchild of host Alex Boylan, an Emmy-nominated television personality and producer, most recognizable as a past winner of "The Amazing Race."
“My niece is now looking at colleges and with her family on a budget, she couldn’t tour as many colleges as she hoped,” Boylan. “I thought, what an amazing opportunity to showcase different universities to place-bound students around the country through a professionally produced television show.”
"The College Tour" was born and ASU is one of the first universities to be featured.
ASU’s full episode of the College Tour can be streamed on Amazon Prime Video, Roku and on ASU’s YouTube channel.
“In a challenging year for many families, we knew that we needed to put in action bold ideas to help prospective students learn about the amazing university experience waiting for them at ASU,” said Matt Lopez, associate vice president of enrollment services and executive director of admission services. “Giving our current students the chance to tell their stories on platforms as far-reaching as Amazon Prime Video and Roku was an exciting way to meet families where most of us are right now – at home.”
Throughout the episode, which provides a sweeping visual tour of ASU, 18 Sun Devils share their personal academic journeys at the most innovative university in the country. One of those students is Lily Baye-Wallace, a mechanical engineering major and dance minor, whose segment on the show provides viewers an overview of ASU’s world-class academics.
“I was thrilled to participate in ASU’s episode of The College Tour,” Baye-Wallace said. “I want to help prospective students understand that while ASU is by no means exclusive, it is home to incredible research and academic options that enabled me to graduate early with experience in a variety of fields by simply asking me to participate. My story is not unique either. I'm surrounded by peers that have multiple majors, minors and graduate a semester or even a year ahead when that's often impossible — not to mention expensive — at private universities."
Nikhil Dave, a double major in neuroscience and innovation in society, is another student featured. He narrates his story called, “What kind of university the world needs.”
“Our focus on accessibility is something that’s unique to Arizona State University, not only as a university, but for its students,” said Dave, a recent XPRIZE winner who assisted with ASU’s COVID-19 response efforts through the university’s Luminosity Lab. “In emphasizing inclusivity, our students have the opportunity to encounter diverse perspectives and different backgrounds, challenging their thinking and pushing them to grow.”
ASU’s episode focuses on student choices and personalized learning experiences available on ASU’s distinct campuses as well as through ASU Online. The desire to learn on a smaller, tight-knit campus with a focus on technology is one of the reasons why Rachael Shantz chose the Polytechnic campus. She’s a junior majoring in aeronautical management technology (air traffic management). In "The College Tour," she explains that she wanted a small college environment with the benefits of a large institution.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that the Polytechnic campus is truly where I belong,” Shantz said. “And I firmly believe that with all of the options and opportunities available to you at Arizona State, you can find where you belong too.”
“We are deeply impressed and grateful for the amazing students that volunteered their time and talents to tell the ASU story so well,” said Kent Hopkins, vice president for enrollment services. “When designing new ways for prospective students to experience ASU, we always want to highlight the stories of the amazing students that make up our university community. Our students are our best storytellers, and these 18 students have created something special for high school students around the world to learn about ASU.”
Boylan, the show's host, tells ASU News that the crew was impressed by the inclusivity of ASU during filming, as well as ASU’s diversity of locations and experiences available to students.
“Almost every student touched upon inclusivity in the episode and it was so awesome to see it up close and personal while filming on campus," Boylan said. “The second big takeaway is how impressive ASU students are. I’ve been on many college campuses and after meeting these students, one thing is clear – these young people are going to change the world for good.”
ASU invites prospective students and their families to a virtual ASU College Tour Watch Party at 6 p.m. (MST) on March 4. During the hourlong party, viewers will get the chance to meet Boylan and a panel of students featured in the ASU College Tour and watch select segments from the episode. President Michael Crow and Provost Pro Tempore Nancy Gonzales will also join the event to greet prospective students and families and answer questions about ASU. Attendees can submit questions to the panelists live by tweeting them using #TheCollegeTourASU on Twitter.