Move-in day, Fall Welcome events kick off school year

August 12, 2015

Moving into the residence hall. Learning the ASU fight song. Whitewashing the “A.”

College is all about traditions. And for those beginning their experience at Arizona State University over the coming week, there’s plenty of do and learn. Sun Devil Welcome event Sun Devil Welcome, which is set for Aug. 18 at Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe, is a chance for students to experience Sun Devil pride, sing the fight song and learn about what ASU has to offer students. <br><br> And did we mention it's a lot of fun? Download Full Image

But first, students have to unpack their stuff.

This fall, approximately 13,000 students will move into campus residence halls Aug. 14-17.

“Living on campus is an important part of the college experience,” said Matthew Brown, assistant vice president and executive director of housing at ASU. “It helps students connect with their peers and promotes involvement in student activities and campus life. This increased level of engagement is critical to student success.”

All first-year students live in the university’s residential college housing model: Students live in specific halls based on which college they’re enrolled in, and those halls are equipped with classrooms and multi-use rooms, beneficial to students seeking tutoring and study-group space. It’s an important way the university helps students connect with others in their area of study.

Assisted move-in will be available on all four campuses, with student volunteers on hand to answer questions and help students transition into their new living space. Students have time to settle in, meet new friends and become familiar with the campus before the first day of classes on Aug. 20.

Students and parents are encouraged to be move-in ready by doing the following:

• arrive at the assigned date and time
• complete the pre-check-in process
• bring a printed boarding pass and ASU ID
• follow specific directions to assigned residence halls
• stay well hydrated and wear comfortable clothing and footwear

Find out more at

Fall Welcome Week

The inauguration of the school year continues during Fall Welcome Week. A number of events — from concerts to a student-club fair to whitewashing the “A” on Hayden Butte — help students get into the Sun Devil spirit and learn about what ASU has to offer. With more than 140 events, there is something for everyone at each campus. Find the full calendar at; highlights include:

Camp Solera at West Campus, Saturday-Monday, Aug. 15-17
Incoming freshman stay two nights in the residence halls, learning university traditions and how to make the most of their first year at ASU from current students.

ASU Parents Reception, 5-7 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 16, Memorial Union, second floor, Tempe campus
Parents can meet fellow ASU parents, the Sun Devil Family Association Board and ASU leadership and staff.

Sun Devil Welcome, 1:30-3 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 18, Wells Fargo Arena, Tempe campus
Experience Sun Devil pride at its best! New and returning students sing the fight song and learn about the opportunities that lie ahead at ASU.

Culture at ASU Festival, 3-5 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 18, Memorial Union, Outdoor North Stage, Tempe campus
This year’s Culture @ASU Festival will feature national jazz artist Julian Vaughn. The festival immediately follows the Sun Devil Welcome.

Fall Welcome Concert, 6-11 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 18, Wells Fargo Arena, Tempe campus
3OH!3 and Metric will hit the stage at this concert. Tickets are first-come, first-served and can be reserved at

Passport to ASU, 6:30-9 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 19, Memorial Union and Sun Devil Fitness Complex, Tempe campus
More than 800 student organizations will be represented. Students can meet group members and get information on how to get involved.  Vendors from across the Phoenix area will be present with free food and other giveaways.

Fear the Fork BBQ, noon-2 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 20, Fletcher Lawn, West campus
Join the Undergraduate Student Government at this event.  Meet with student representatives over some barbecue on the first day of classes and learn how to be a voice for students at the West campus and across the University.

Whitewash the “A,”   9-11 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 22, Hayden Butte (or A Mountain), Tempe campus  
Kicking off the school year wouldn’t be complete without one of the longest-standing traditions at ASU.  ASU students have been signifying a fresh start to the school year by whitewashing the “A” since the 1930s. Dress for hot weather and wear closed-toe shoes, sunscreen and a hat.

Residence Hall Association Presents: Water Wars, 2-4 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 22, Sun Devil Fitness Center, Polytechnic campus
Show off speed and talents on the field at Water Wars, ducking, dodging and scoring against other teams. Tired after a long week and don’t feel up to that much action? Come tie-dye a shirt and cool off! Bring your own towel.

Sparky’s Carnival, 6-9 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 22, San Carlos Room and Civic Space Park, Downtown Phoenix campus
Sparky’s Carnival is an opportunity for students to learn about the community and student organizations on or near the downtown campus. There will be free food and carnival activities.

Free shuttles will be provided to transport students living on the West, Polytechnic and Downtown campuses to the Sun Devil Welcome and Fall Welcome Concert.  For a complete list of Fall Welcome events, download the “ASU Events” app in the App Store or Google Play Store. Or for more information, visit

Students can share their experience or learn what others are doing by using #ASUFallWelcome on social media.

Cree's sustainable hunting practices focus of ASU student's research

August 13, 2015

In Northern Quebec, off the eastern shore of James Bay and about 850 miles north of Montreal, the community of Wemindji is situated within sprawling vistas of boreal forests.

This patch of Canadian countryside is home to about 1,300 members of the Cree Nation. Although their land may appear mostly untouched, the Cree have been modifying it to their benefit for generations. photo of Jesse Sayles Jesse Sayles takes notes in the Northern Quebec coastal area where he has researched goose hunting as an element of the Cree people's stewardship of the land. Download Full Image

Jesse Sayles, a graduate student of geographical sciences at Arizona State University, researches the Cree and their land-use strategies. In his recently published article, "No wilderness to plunder: Process thinking reveals Cree land-use via the goose-scape," he sheds light on the Cree’s complex relationship to their land, how they have pursued development within their own community and what makes their system a sustainable one.

“Cree do modify their landscape, but they do so in a way that is difficult for Western society to see,” Sayles said. “They have a vision of development that respects the ecological integrity of the landscape.”

Sayles first spent time in Wemindji when he was an undergraduate. Since then he has made repeated visits, building his understanding of the Cree’s relationship to the environment.

Goose hunting and environmental modification

In his most recent publication, Sayles focuses on strategies the Cree use to sustain their traditional practice of goose hunting.  While today’s residents of Wemindji and other Cree communities earn a living in a variety of ways, many are full-time hunters or hunt outside of work hours, either to support their family’s own food supply or to keep alive a cultural tradition.

Today some Cree from the Wemindji area are concerned that development efforts may endanger their cultural traditions. Plan Nord, an economic development strategy launched by the Quebec government in 2011, proposes investments in energy, mining and forestry in the lands currently used by Cree communities scattered through northern Quebec.

“These proposals prompted me to take another look at the Cree’s hunting practices,” Sayles said. “From my previous research I knew that while the lands surrounding Wemidji might easily be seen as untouched and open to development, Cree have used these lands and subtly modified them for generations.”

Geese fly through the region in large numbers in the spring, as they migrate north, and appear again in the fall on their southward journey.

As an area once covered in glaciers, Wemindji and the surrounding lands are a rapidly changing environment.  Within the span of a human lifetime, land rises, coastal channels dry up, and plant and animal habitats move. 

Faced with these challenges, Cree hunters have developed strategies for shaping the flight path of the geese through the land. They build dikes in wetlands, delaying the time when vegetation will change to dry-land species that are less attractive to geese.  They also cut corridors through the forest, luring the geese to areas where they can be more easily hunted.

The dikes, corridors and other landscape modifications have minimal impact on the greater ecosystem of the James Bay area, but help ensure that geese will remain a viable and important food source for their community, and that the role of geese in the traditional culture of sharing will continue.

Hunting and cultural identity

During his time in Wemindji, Sayles visited many of the different hunting and fishing camps used by the Cree for decades.

“We’d spend a lot of time visiting different sites on the land, and I documented the history of these places,” Sayles said.

To the Cree these places are more than just randomly placed camps in the wilderness. By speaking to the people of Wemindji, Sayles learned how important these lands are to the Cree’s cultural identity. These are the lands where young Cree are taught important traditions and values, and where the community goes when it is time for a celebration.

Every year the people of Wemindji launch a weeklong canoe expedition relocating to the site of their old village, in Old Factory Bay. They convene there for an annual celebration filled with feasts, music and dancing.

Sayles and his research colleagues were lucky enough to participate in this tradition.

“It was really cool to learn about a different culture, learn what was important to them, and develop those friendships,” Sayles said.

Sharing findings about Cree hunting

Sayles feels that the process of moving from in-the-field experience to a published academic report has been a rewarding one. 

“Seeing that your work holds up to being vetted by a group of experts lends your ideas credibility,” Sayles said.

In addition to validation through the review of the article for publication, Sayles’ work was also recognized by the Association of American Geographers’ Indigenous Peoples Specialty Group, when they selected the report as winner of their 2015 Graduate Student Paper Competition.

“Understanding human-environment relationships has a long tradition in the geographical sciences,” said B.L. Turner, Jesse’s doctoral adviser.  “Sayles’ research builds on this tradition, and also contributes to contemporary concerns about the sustainability of social-environmental systems.”

Having completed his research in Wemindji for the time being, Sayles hopes that his findings will provide a way of thinking about land and resource use that will “affirm Cree stewardship and occupation of their territory.”

Since his first visit to Wemindji more than 10 years ago now, the community has seen a lot of healthy growth due in part to its effective balance of development and stewardship ethics.

“The first time I went there in 2003 there wasn’t really Internet access in the community; then two years later everyone had Internet access. Now they all have Xboxes,” Sayles joked.

Wemindji’s streets now feature modern homes and a state-of-the-art cultural center, but the Cree’s devotion to maintaining their traditional relationship with the land does not seem any weaker because of it. If anything, the Cree just want to enjoy the same modern amenities at home as the rest of the world.

The Cree look forward to growing their community and protecting Wemindji’s environment. An excerpt from their website reads: “Our vision is of a clean, healthy, safe and secure Community where we enjoy an exceptionally good quality of life. We are in constant state of healing, moving towards the strength that characterized our traditional way of life.”

The School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning is an academic unit of ASU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. B. L. Turner II, Gilbert F. White Professor of Environment and Society, holds a joint appointment in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning and the School of Sustainability.

Gavin Maxwell,
School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning

Barbara Trapido-Lurie

research professional senior, School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning