day at the capitol

Sun Devils share their stories at ASU Day at the Capitol

By

Marcus Chormicle

Arizona State University’s annual Day at the Capitol “is an opportunity for the legislators to spend some quality time learning about many of the things ASU is engaged in,” according to Matt Salmon, ASU vice president of government affairs.

Salmon spoke at the event, held Tuesday at the Arizona State Capitol. ASU Day at the Capitol has become a staple in the interaction between the Arizona State Legislature and the university since its inaugural event 33 years ago. Every year ASU brings representatives from some of its many departments, programs and initiatives to show legislators what the university is working on.

From an original copy of the Gettysburg Address in Abraham Lincoln’s own writing to a virtual reality program that is currently enabling online students all across the globe to learn lab safety from their own homes, there was a lot to experience. 

ASU Day at the Capitol also serves as an opportunity for many ASU students to get an introduction to the way that the Legislature operates and to interact with senators and representatives from all across the state — even their own districts. 

“It’s a convenient opportunity for the student government to not only talk with their legislators but get familiar with them and tell a really personal account of how students on their respective campuses are feeling about issues,” said Aly Perkins, a senior studying public policy and the president of the ASU Undergraduate Student Government for the Downtown Phoenix campus. 

Video by Halla Nelson and Ethan Gaines/ASU

Legislators joined students and faculty at the Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza across from the Capitol building to view the many booths displaying information about programs at ASU and to have lunch with students, who told what members of the Associated Students of ASU referred to as “their Sun Devil Story.” 

“It’s always great to see all of the great work that the university is doing,” said Sen. Sean Bowie. “It’s important for legislators to see.”

After lunch, Bowie and Rep. Athena Salman held small-group meetings with members of the ASU Undergraduate Student Government Tempe policy team to discuss accessibility of tuition to students. 

“I’m passionate about that. If I didn’t have my merit scholarship, I wouldn’t be able to be here,” said Cameron Vega, a sophomore studying politics and the economy, and civic and economic thought and leadership. Vega is the director of state and national affairs with the Undergraduate Student Government Tempe. 

ASU President Michael M. Crow was in attendance throughout the day. He moved across the plaza shaking hands and talking with both students and legislators alike. Later that afternoon, Crow attended an Arizona State Senate Appropriations Committee meeting, where he spoke about the funding structure of ASU and the success of research initiatives.

“Just because costs are low, that doesn’t mean value can’t be high,” Crow said. 

“We want to be valuable partners for this community,” Salmon said. “Not only are we producing top-level graduates who go on and get great jobs, but with a lot of the research we do, we make life better here in Arizona.”

Top photo: ASU President Michael Crow on Tuesday speaks to ASU students and faculty during ASU Day at the Capitol, a showcase of the initiatives and programs at ASU for the Arizona Legislature. Photo by Marcus Chormicle/ASU Now