ASU Barrett Honors College events welcome students, build community connections
Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University’s Tempe campus took on a carnival atmosphere as hundreds of first-year students converged for the 2023 Barrett Bash welcome event.
A rotating photo booth, a prize wheel, snow cones, lawn games and Barrett swag giveaways added to the fun. But, in addition to welcoming students back to campus, the main thrust of the event on Aug. 14 was to encourage them to get involved, build community and connections among their peers, and find opportunities to be of service.
Barrett Bash, which drew more than 800 students, was one of two honors community events held in the days leading up to the start of the fall semester. The other was Fall Welcome on Aug. 15, which brought together first-year Barrett students from all four ASU campuses.
Representatives of more than a dozen student-led organizations and clubs — including the No Missing Pieces board game club, All Walks Project, Arizona Microcredit Initiative, Sustainability Club at Barrett, Honors Devils, Refugee Education and Clinic Team (REACT), Women’s League at Barrett, First Generation Students at Barrett, Leadership and Service Team at Barrett, Normal Noise magazine, Black Student Association at Barrett, Sun Devil Mock Trial, Page Turners, the LGBTQIA+ Club at Barrett and Honors College Council at Barrett — were on hand at Barrett Bash to share information and sign up new members.
“It is always exciting to see the energy of first-year students learning about Barrett, meeting each other for the first time, and feeling the sense of community and belonging Barrett is known for,” said Barrett Vice Dean Kristen Hermann.
“Hello, do you guys play board games?” Dylan Rose, a Barrett student and co-founder of No Missing Pieces, called out to students passing by his information table on the lawn of the Great Court, a large gathering space in the center of the Barrett Tempe complex.
Rose, a Barrett student majoring in supply chain management and data analysis, said the group sprang from a simple premise: to bring students together for a fun activity so they could get to know one another and find their community. The club meets one evening a week to play board games and socialize.
Casey Ratigan, a first-year Barrett student who is leaning toward majoring in urban planning, moved to Arizona from Japan. He stopped at the No Missing Pieces table to see what the group is all about.
He said Barrett and ASU are welcoming, but making friends at such a large university is challenging.
“I would welcome the opportunity to meet new people. Joining the board game club might be a good option to make new friends, and I can play new games while I’m at it,” he said.
Riya Garg, a Barrett junior majoring in biological sciences, staffed the table for the Refugee Education and Clinic Team (REACT), which was established by Barrett students in 2017.
REACT is a collaboration between ASU and Mayo Clinic medical students that provides education, empowerment and health care to refugees and asylees in Arizona, Garg said.
“We’re looking for students who are passionate about helping people,” she said, adding that students with any major, whether in Barrett or not, are welcome to join the organization.
Lea Coronado, a Barrett junior studying industrial engineering, is the outreach director for the First Generation Students at Barrett, an organization for students who are the first in their families to attend college.
She said the club focuses on building connections among first-generation students and providing practical skills training like resume writing, as well as helpful information about financial aid, scholarships and other resources.
Aaliyah Herndon, a Barrett junior majoring in psychology, is president of the Black Student Association at Barrett, which was established in 2022.
“We provide a safe space for Black students to build a community in Barrett. Being able to know you’re a part of an inclusive community is integral to the Barrett experience,” Herndon said, adding that her organization hosts social, academic and informational events for students.
“Hopefully we can have an impact on the experience of Black students in Barrett, where they feel they belong because Barrett is a place for everyone,” she said.
Emma Mast, a Barrett first-year student majoring in environmental engineering, said she appreciated learning about opportunities for involvement that could lead to useful connections.
“What really helps is to meet people and build a network that will set you up for success in the future,” she said.
The theme of Barrett Honors College as a place for students from all walks of life was emphasized at Fall Welcome, held inside Gammage Auditorium.
“The values that inspire all that we do as a college are community and belonging, leadership and agency, and courage and curiosity. We hope each one of you has an opportunity to build each of those throughout your journey in Barrett,” Dean Tara Williams said.
A video of the Barrett Honors Fall Welcome event can be viewed here.