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Sun Devil Welcome greets students with ASU spirit — and rain showers

The annual event was an energy-filled evening of entertainment and opportunities for first-year students to learn about their new home


Group of students wearing gold t-shirts making pitchfork students in football stadium in the rain
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August 16, 2023

House party music filled Mountain America Stadium in Tempe on Tuesday night, as thousands of energized Arizona State University first-year students came out for the 2023 Sun Devil Welcome event. 

A concert-like energy filled the air as many arrived from ASU’s Polytechnic, Downtown Phoenix and West campuses to join the Tempe students and sit with their specific schools.

And then it started to rain. 

With more to celebrate, the already pumped-up crowd took their energy to the next level, and the words “wet and wild” were apt adjectives to describe the scene.

“I didn’t think it rained here,” said a smiling Lucas Mooney, a first-year student from Washington, who will be studying history and political science.

Friends, music and Sun Devil spirit drew ASU’s Class of 2027 to the annual pep rally that highlighted the university’s values, traditions and opportunities, and introduced Sparky, the Sun Devil Marching Band and more. 

GALLERY: Students move in, attend welcome events for fall 2023

The welcome was followed by InfernoFest — a concert featuring the Harlem-born rapper Ferg.

“I’m excited. I am a big concert person,” said Gayla Bowen, a first-year nursing student from Gilbert, Arizona, who’s ready for school to begin on Thursday.

“I am very ambitious,” she said. “I’m ready to work hard and go, go, go.” 

The rain showers marked the end of a record-breaking dry spell in Tempe and the beginning of a new adventure for the first-year students who wore signature gold ASU T-shirts and cheered “ASU” and “Ferg” with their future classmates.

Group of students in football stadium wearing gold t-shirts and holding up letters that spell Herberger

Students from the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts hold up a sign celebrating their unit during Sun Devil Welcome held Aug. 15 at Mountain America Stadium in Tempe. Photo courtesy ASU

Dia Granillo, a first-generation journalism and mass communication student from Apache Junction, Arizona, was thrilled to finally be a part of the ASU culture.

“I have been looking forward to this for so many years. Ever since I was in middle school,” said Granillo, one of nearly 16,000 projected first-year students attending ASU this fall.

READ MORE: ASU projects record enrollment for fall 2023

After a pause in the program, ASU President Michael Crow and University Provost Nancy Gonzales walked through the rain and wet turf to the stage and welcomed the class. 

“We just made this rain to cool you off,” said Crow, who explained the ASU Charter to the crowd, and encouraged students on their path to success.

“We are built around the idea of inclusion, not exclusion, and your success,” Crow said.

“What I mean by your success is we are here to find a way to enable your dreams, to enable your life, to move your life forward, and everything we do is driven by that."

He closed by making sure students know that ASU was there for them if they faced academic, emotional or financial struggles during their time at the university. 

“Raise your hand and we will find people to help you,” he said. 

Dancers then took to the rain-soaked stage adding splattering water to their choreographed shows. 

Performance groups included: Andaaz, ASU’s competitive Bollywood Fusion Dance Team; the National Pan-Hellenic Council, the coordinating body for the African American fraternities and sororities; and AZNA Dance, an Asian American organization at ASU.

Two student dancers perform on stage

Andaaz performs during Sun Devil Welcome at Mountain America Stadium in Tempe on Aug. 15. Photo courtesy ASU

Student leaders from each campus introduced themselves and shared information about ASU’s clubs and organizations, and ways the students can navigate the university. 

The main take-home lesson: Get involved.

RELATED: Incoming students bring talent to the table, are ready for success at ASU

The welcome event ended with a finale of fireworks but not before students learned the ASU fight song, whose lyrics provided a suitable send-off. 

“For it’s hail, hail, the gang’s all here/ And it’s onward to victory!”

Top photo: First-year students don't let the rain spoil their Sun Devil spirit as they celebrate at the 2023 Sun Devil Welcome event. Photo courtesy ASU

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