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Sun Devil Welcome a raucous start to new year

Incoming freshman show their school spirit at the Sun Devil Welcome.

Incoming freshmen of the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering show their school spirit during the Sun Devil Welcome at Wells Fargo Arena on Aug. 18 in Tempe.

August 18, 2015

Editor's note: As ASU gears up for the start of classes this week, our reporters are spotlighting scenes around its campuses. To read more, click here.

If anyone walking into the arena Tuesday afternoon for the Sun Devil Welcome rally didn’t have maroon and gold blood coursing through their veins, they certainly did when they left.

Plus ruptured eardrums.

With drums, horns, dancers and balloons cascading from the ceiling, the 11,000-strong class of 2019 filled two-thirds of the arena with a sea of gold from all 50 states and more than 100 countries.

“Awesome,” said Race Carter, a business management major from Scottsdale.

After a kickoff performance by Andaaz, the Bollywood dance team, vice president of athletics Ray Anderson told the crowd that when he arrived at ASU two years ago, people said ASU Athletics was a sleeping giant.

“I’m here to tell you the giant is alive and well, and stomping through the Valley and the Pac-12,” Anderson said. “And we are kicking butt in all our programs.”

“Raise your pitchforks high and give ’em hell, Sun Devils!” yelled Corina Tapscott, ‎president of downtown student government.

A video of a Godzilla-size Sparky stomping across the Valley to the thundering bass of AC/DC drew huge cheers, especially when he crushed a car with the University of Arizona logo on the roof before entering his Sun Devil Stadium and impaling the turf with a flaming pitchfork.

“That is the last time you will hear those words (U of A) spoken,” marching band director James Hudson told the crowd. “It’s ‘that place down south.’ We never speak those words.”

And, he added, “On Friday we wear gold.”

University President Michael Crow took the stage. “Yes, I’m the old serious guy,” he began. “Somebody’s got to be.”

He asked the crowd what they want their lives to mean. “When people talk about you after you’re gone, what do you want them to say?” he said. “There is not a person in this room who should not graduate from this institution and go on to do fantastic things.”

There are 400 areas of subjects to learn from at ASU, Crow said.

“We have hundreds and hundreds of majors,” he said. “Why? It’s not because we have so many students. It’s because they have so many dreams."

The university president — who was the first in his family to graduate from college — spoke about how majoring in political science helped him, despite not going into politics. It doesn’t matter what you study, he said.

“What that major did for me was help me to understand how things work,” Crow said. “It helped me to figure out how to learn new things. … I was able to adjust to anything I experienced. Every job I’ve had, every opportunity that I’ve had, everything was a function not of the specifics of what I learned, but of the process of learning how to learn.”

He gave out his email address and asked any student with an unsolved problem to contact him directly.

Carter was most impressed by Crow’s speech, “the fact that he believes in all of us, the fact that someone that high up is approachable is impressive.”

Ashley Altmann, a journalism and mass communication major from the Bay Area, thought the rally was inspiring.

“It made me want to get involved,” she said. “I feel like I’m at home here. It’s only my third day and I feel like I’m at home.”

SunDevil Welcome from Arizona State University on Vimeo.

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