February 15, 2023

Residents host students for annual innovation competition

While the Super Bowl and Phoenix Open brought thousands of visitors to the Phoenix area last week, some local visitors were here for another reason — the ASU Innovation Open, an annual venture pitch competition, which was held on the Tempe campus on Feb. 10.

Since this year, two of the largest sporting events in the U.S. coincided with the Innovation Open, some students who came from out-of-state for the event were left without many affordable or available lodging options.

That's where Mirabella at ASU decided to step in.

The Miraballa community offered to host visiting teams in unoccupied units, and two resident couples — Barbara and Jim Carpenter and Peggy and Gary Thompson — served as their guides.

Mirabella housed visiting engineering students in Feb. 2023 - Jim Barbara Carpenter

Mirabella residents show their support for visiting engineering students. Photo courtesy Serena Allen

One visiting student, Serena Allen from the University of Southern California, is the team CEO of a venture called AiryCherry, which has developed a way to remove pollutants created from wood-burning stoves. 

“ASU is a unique close-knit community that values innovation and sustainability,” Allen said. “We’ve never experienced anything like Mirabella and loved talking to residents about their lives and our project to combat particulate matter pollution.” 

Allen said it was fascinating to learn about the ASU buildings that are specifically designed for environmental cooling.

“This living community is so cool. From having dinner with Barbara and Jim to casual talks in the hall with residents to petting everyone’s dogs, there is a wonderful community here.” 

In addition to lodging and resident guides, Mirabella provided students with breakfast, where they mingled with residents who cheered on the visiting teams before their pitches. Some of the Mirabella residents also attended the competition to show their support, which Allen said her team was incredibly grateful for. 

“We would not have been able to compete in the ASUio without this housing due to the limited resources that entrepreneurs face, particularly those focused on social and environmental impact over profit. Staying at Mirabella made our experience at ASU something we will never forget,” Allen said. 

Top photo: The Mirabella at ASU building in Tempe. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU News.

Krista Hinz

Copy Writer , ASU Media Relations