Arizona State University (ASU) is known for it’s diversity. The ASU Charter, developed over a decade ago, states the public research university desires to be measured by who they include and how they succeed. Many big universities are “exclusive” and give preference to certain groups of people (high scorers, income, etc.). ASU desires to be “inclusive” and open the doors wide for everyone to join them in advancing research and discovery of public health; and assuming fundamental responsibility for the economic, social, cultural and overall health of the communities served.
We should note that ASU is not looking to blend all cultures together to create their own. Eight design aspirations guide the ongoing evolution of ASU as a New American University. The intent is that everyone works together, as unique individuals, to achieve excellence, access and impact. ASU recognizes that it’s charter, goals and mission create a unique culture of it’s own… but the objective is for the students to succeed and connect in communities to improve their world. ASU seems to appreciate that, not only are the individual students unique, but they come from a unique culture where they have meaningful connections. ASU President Michael Crow is even supportive of their religion(s), stating his desire to help students holistically, with their “minds, bodies and spirit.”
ASU does a good job letting student be who they are while seeking to become better as they learn and recreate. A recent example of this is seen in the 64 young women from Afghanistan who entered the U.S. as refugees but became students at ASU. They came with unique needs and we see ASU doing what they can to not only help them survive, but thrive in the midst of hardships and tragedy. The photo above is from the Nowruz Festival held in downtown Phoenix. ASU helped these ladies celebrate their culture at the beginning of the spring season, along with Parsi communities across the world. Cultivating a climate of celebrating culture is something to dance about.