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Salute to Service begins Nov. 8 with events planned across ASU campuses

November 2, 2023

Arizona State University will celebrate those who have served the nation and their communities with an assortment of events across Phoenix metro campuses for this year’s Salute to Service happening Nov. 8–18.

Salute to Service honors the military veteran community along with first responders, front-line medical workers, volunteers and the many other individuals working in public service.

“We invite the university community and the public to join us for the fun and memorable events we have in store for this year’s very special Salute to Service,” said Michelle Loposky, chair for the Salute to Service planning committee and Pat Tillman Veterans Center director of development and strategic partnerships. “There is something for everyone, and most of the events are free.

“More importantly, we want everyone to come out as a show of appreciation for all who have served in the military, who have served their communities as volunteers, and who serve us today as first responders, medical personnel and in the public sector working to keep our towns, cities, state and the country running smoothly.”  

Events taking place during Salute to Service include:

Game Watch Party
noon–10 p.m. Nov. 4
ASU MIX Center, downtown Mesa

Just prior to Salute to Service kicking off, take part in a free fun outing at ASU’s Mesa’s MIX Center and watch Sun Devil football take on the UCLA Bruins. Bring blankets or lawn chairs to watch the game outside on a 100-foot outdoor movie screen. Organized by Sun Devil Generations and the Pat Tillman Veterans Center, the event will also feature food trucks and other family-friendly activities. 

Thank You for Your Service Networking Event
4–6 p.m. Nov. 7
A.E. England Building, Downtown Phoenix campus

Practice networking skills with professionals who will be available to answer questions about various occupations and how to get into service-oriented fields, such as law enforcement, nursing or social work. The event is “come and go” with complimentary light food and beverages available. Visit the event homepage for more information. 

Movies on the Field — “Top Gun: Maverick”
5:30–9:30 p.m. Nov. 10
Mountain America Stadium, Tempe campus

Bring a blanket and the whole family to enjoy a free movie as Movies on the Field kicks off this semester during Salute to Service with “Top Gun: Maverick.” Doors open at 5:30 p.m., with the movie starting at 7 p.m. Register at ASU 365 Community Union.

Rúla Búla Pop-Up
Various times, Nov. 10–16
Coca-Cola Sun Deck, Mountain America Stadium, Tempe campus

Iconic Mill Street bar Rúla Búla may have closed in 2021, but this year during Salute to Service it returns for a multiday pop-up pub experience inside Mountain America Stadium. Bar owners will bring back some of the original bar, art, décor and signage and serve food and drink. The bar will be open for seven straight days. Visit the ASU 365 Community Union event page for opening times and other info.

West Valley Forward Pow Wow
11 a.m.–10 p.m. Nov. 11
West Valley campus

Celebrate Native American heritage and honor the contributions of all U.S. veterans with the return of the Native American Heritage Festival featuring the 20th Annual Veterans Day Weekend Pow Wow at the Fletcher Library lawn. The Pow Wow is a traditional gathering of dancers, drummers, elders and families. The arena director will explain the symbolism, protocol and spiritual meaning of the dances, regalia, singing and drumming. The event also includes a mix of vendors and other family-friendly activities.

MVP Community Workout
9 a.m.–noon Nov. 11
Mountain America Stadium, Tempe campus

All members of the public are invited to join Merging Vets and Players (MVP) for a free community workout inside the football stadium. Founded by NFL insider Jay Glazer and former Green Beret and Seattle Seahawk Nate Boyer, MVP is a nonprofit that brings together combat vets and former pro athletes to participate in a variety of sporting and community events, including workouts, golf tournaments, hikes, etc. For more information, visit the event page.

Caregiver Panel Discussion
4:30–6 p.m. Nov. 15
Cooley Ballroom, Polytechnic campus

ASU’s Office for Veteran and Military Academic Engagement will host a caregiver panel to get insights and experiences from caregivers who have supported veterans. The panel aims to provide valuable information on caregiving, challenges, coping strategies and available resources. Visit the event page for more information and to register.

Panel and Lunch with Arizona Military Leaders
Noon–2:15 p.m. Nov. 17
Old Main, Tempe campus

Join the military commanders from Arizona’s Army, Air Force and Marine Corps military installations and their senior enlisted leaders for a complimentary lunch and discussion on how the U.S. military is preparing for future conflicts. The enlisted leaders will host a second panel to discuss what it means to serve in today’s military. Registration is required.

Salute to Service football game
TBA, Nov. 18
Mountain America Stadium, Tempe campus

Come out and support Coach Kenny Dillingham and the ASU Sun Devils as they take on top nationally ranked opponent Oregon Ducks. Pregame events on College Avenue will include military displays, service members interacting with the public, and many other activities. 

Visit the Salute to Service homepage for a complete list of all the events.

Jerry Gonzalez

Assistant Director , Media Relations and Strategic Communications

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Mapping our water reserves for the future

November 2, 2023

ASU professor's research tracks groundwater to help policymakers make sustainable decisions

Tired of reading how Arizona might one day run out of water and become the 21st century version of the Dust Bowl?

Then this story is for you. It offers hope, innovation and common-sense measures — but mostly it reveals how one Arizona State University professor is helping to monitor groundwater storage changes across the state, find new groundwaterwater and maintain it at a level that will ensure longevity, and fend off overexploitation.

For more than a quarter-century, ASU Professor Jay Famiglietti and his research team have been working on a satellite system that he says can track groundwater supply changes and depletion from space via the NASA GRACE mission.

Famiglietti, a Global Futures Professor in the School of Sustainability, part of the College of Global Futures, said these satellites can map out regions of the world that are gaining or losing water on a monthly basis, as well as reveal long-term wetting or drying trends. Closer to home, Famiglietti said this can help the Grand Canyon state protect and identify vital groundwater supply and divulge how to better utilize it for future generations.

The award-winning scientist also hosts a popular podcast on Apple, now produced by Arizona PBS, called “What About Water,” which is about to launch its fifth season. The podcast aims to empower people and communities to connect water science with the stories that bring about solutions, adaptation and actions for the world’s water realities.

ASU News recently spoke to Famiglietti to discuss his work, research and what Arizona must do to protect its most precious resource.

Note: Answers have been edited for length and clarity.

Man in glasses wearing jacket and shirt

Jay Famiglietti


Question: How do these satellites work and how long have you been at this?

Answer: I’ve been working with the NASA GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) satellites since about 1997, which was five years before they launched in 2002. That gave me and my students a lot of time to prepare for the launch and to think about what to expect from the data and how we might use it to track water from space. We are still at it, now working with the second GRACE mission, the GRACE Follow-On mission (the original mission ran out of battery life in 2017 and the Follow-On launched in 2018), over 25 years later.

The two small satellites that make up the mission ... move up and down in their orbits in response to how much water is, or isn’t, on the ground. For example, Arizona and the southwestern U.S. are in the throes of a megadrought and are literally losing water mass each month. The loss of water mass on the ground means that the region exerts slightly less of a gravitational tug on the satellites as they fly by, allowing them to float slightly higher in their orbits. The opposite happens, for example, when there is a large snowstorm in the mountains — the region has gained water mass, and the satellites are pulled a tiny bit closer to the Earth in response to the greater gravitational tug on the satellites.

By keeping track of the ups and downs of the GRACE satellites, which is done with incredible accuracy ... we are able to map out the regions of world that are gaining or losing water on a monthly basis. Because we now have over two decades of GRACE data, we can also see the trends in changing water availability over the last 20 years.  

Q: How has our groundwater in Arizona been used or misused in the past?

A: Arizona gets about 40% of its water supply from groundwater. That water is used in both municipal and rural water supplies. Outside of cities, much of that groundwater is used for irrigated agriculture. Like many states in the United States, and many regions around the world, water management has historically focused on surface water in our rivers, lakes and reservoirs. The need to manage groundwater has lagged behind by decades. ... That means that there was a long history of the "Wild West" of groundwater use in both states. Specifically, there were no constraints on groundwater pumping, which led to significant overuse and depletion of aquifers in both states.

It may surprise people to know that, by area, less than 25% of the state of Arizona is subject to groundwater management. In the rest of the state ... if you own the land and you have drilled a well, there are virtually no limits to how much groundwater you can pump.

This is problematic, and can lead to several negative environmental consequences, like causing rivers to run dry, driving a loss of biodiversity or causing the ground to sink (land subsidence). Importantly, overpumping in one region often leads to lowering groundwater levels beyond that region. 

Q: Why are you optimistic about your technology now?

A: We are having a moment here in Arizona in which I feel like the stars and planets are aligned so that we can make great progress towards water sustainability in our state. Most imporantly, we have in Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs someone who has made water a priority from day one of her administration. 

We are also fortunate to have a core of dedicated researchers across the state, including our team at ASU, that received $40 million from outgoing Gov. Ducey to lead the state’s Arizona Water Innovation Initiative. The (initative) provides the funding base so that we engage deeply with state agencies to co-develop a research agenda to find those critical pathways to a sustainable water future for Arizona.

Finally, it is worth noting that ... Arizona’s government water agencies are welcoming the opportunity to work together with us at ASU. 

Q: Does groundwater ever get replenished or is it gone for good once we’ve tapped into it?

A: Groundwater may or may not be renewable, depending in part on characteristics such as how deep an aquifer is. Groundwater from aquifers that are close to the surface, or that are located adjacent to rivers, is generally renewable.

However, the water in deeper aquifers filled them on timescales ranging from thousands to tens of thousands of years ago, and more. Since water travels very slowly in Earth’s subsurface — say, a foot per day, per year, or even per decade — the water removed from these deeper aquifers will not be replenished on human timescales by natural processes. 

Q: What can we do to improve the situation in Arizona?

A: One of the most important things that we can do in Arizona, across the entire state, is to understand how much water we have, how much we use and how these are changing over time. If we don’t know these things, it will be impossible to manage our water sustainably with future generations in mind. 

We need to assess how much surface and groundwater we have, how much is available to us and how much of that is renewable versus nonrenewable. We need to know exactly how much water we are using and what we are using it for. We need to have a clear picture of how the aridification of the West is impacting our water supply, and to predict how the gap between supply and demand will change in the coming decades. Once we understand that gap, across the state’s watersheds, groundwater basins, irrigation or water management districts, then we can look at how to manage it moving forward.

As an outcome of the Arizona Water Innovation Initiative, along with our partners, we hope to identify a range of potential options for decision-makers and water managers — like tools in a toolkit. For example, these can include conservation, new technological advances in water monitoring and water-use efficiency and production, managed aquifer recharge, sewage recycling, desalination, policy interventions and more.

Top photo courtesy of iStock/Getty Image

Reporter , ASU News