The A.E. England Building in Civic Space Park

While Arizona State University’s relationship with its neighboring communities hasn’t always been the smoothest, the university is making a determined effort to improve it. Simply put, ASU seeks to become a fully integrated community member. One such way is through “Communities Connect Dialogues,” a new university collaborative designed to bring ASU together with the local community in the name of learning something new.

The Community Connect Dialogues allows faculty, staff, students and community members to share, connect and celebrate the spirit and diversity of ASU and its campuses. It is a collaborative effort coordinated by the Office of University Initiatives.

On April 1, ASU will hold the first of these dialogues at the Downtown Phoenix campus. It will take place at the A.E. England Building in Civic Space Park between 8 a.m. and noon. The event is free and open to everyone. The dialogue will continue April 2 with action, advocacy and arts, a day filled with gallery exhibitions, art activists and special guests. Subsequent events are being scheduled at the ASU West, Polytechnic and Tempe campuses.

According to Jacqueline Smith, university innovation fellow with the Office of University Initiatives, ASU is “hoping to provide a venue for participants to share their stories about collaboration and bettering our communities.”

The Downtown Phoenix campus dialogue will begin with a coffee meet-up, presentations and a photo display of examples of collaboration from local organizations such as Greater Phoenix Youth at Risk and the Herberger Institute Community School for Design and the Arts. Participants will then engage in internship development and marketing strategies workshops before heading outside to the Civic Space Park for Lunch Unplugged, hosted by

Laci Lester, a core member of the Downtown planning team and a second-year public ally serving at the Fair Trade retail store in Civic Space Park notes, “Both communities and institutions have so much to learn from each other and the dialogues are a great place to begin. We’re hoping people will come away with a greater understanding of the nuances of working with community organizations and larger institutes, such as ASU.”

The Arizona State Credit Union is serving as primary co-sponsor on all four campuses by providing refreshments, door prizes and marketing supplies. Other partners include the College of Public Programs, the Office of Public Affairs, the Office of Student Engagement, ASU Career Services and the Cultural Arts Coalition.

For detailed information about the Communities Connect Dialogues, included a schedule of activities, please visit To RSVP for the events, visit or contact Jacqueline Smith.