Thunderbird’s First Annual Night of the Open Door


By Emma Livingston, Co-Editor

Children race to the finish line at the Jamaican station
Children race to the finish line at the Jamaican station

On February 20, 2016, Thunderbird participated in our first Night of the Open Door, an annual ASU event held across all campuses that welcomes the greater community in for a first-hand look at what’s happening at the school. From the Snell Rooms to the Tower, Thunderbird campus was buzzing with the hum of many languages, bursting with music and the shouts of sugar-crazed children, and brimming with energy.

Dancers perform the Brazilian martial arts dance, capoeira
Dancers perform the Brazilian martial arts dance, capoeira

The event featured 43 interactive stations, including a rock climbing wall and a stage showcasing student performances, but the biggest draw was the student-staffed cultural booths where visitors could play cultural games, sample food from around the world, admire the regional costumes sported by the students, and get a glimpse of that “mystique” which makes Thunderbird so special.

Bamboo dance
Bamboo dance


Beneath the unseasonably hot sun, Thunderbird’s student band Global Sounds performed a riotous rendition of “I Will Survive,” while at the European booth, families worked together to construct a 3-D puzzle of Big Ben. Over in the Latin America section, kids kicked the soccer ball around as they danced to Brazilian music. At the base of the rock climbing wall, Uncle Sam colored with sidewalk chalk by the America booth, while at the next booth down, Thunderbird’s rugby team tried to convince the American youth that rugby is a better sport than football. Thunderbird for Good turned one of the Snell rooms into a movie theater and was showing the testimonial of women who have benefitted from the organization’s DreamBuilder program. At the Vietnam booth, visitors slammed bamboo sticks on the ground and learned a traditional bamboo dance from the highlands, while at the Africa booth visitors could play a much more challenging African version of tic-tac-toe.

Thunderbird campus on Night of the Open Door (photo courtesy of
Thunderbird campus on Night of the Open Door (photo courtesy of
Climbing wall
Rock climbing wall

In total, 1400 prospective students, alumni, current Tbird students, BGM students, staff, faculty, and community members attended Thunderbird’s first ever Night of the Open Door. This number includes 182 picture-taking Peruvian faculty members studying English through ASU’s Global Launch program, who seemed to be enjoying themselves even more than the sugar-crazed children.

Building Big Ben under the smart phone light
Building Big Ben under the light of the smart phone

The event accomplished exactly what it was supposed to: offering a window for the greater community to see what it is that makes Thunderbird special. “Some neighbors drive by every day and don’t realize the exciting things that are happening on our campus,” said Erin Schneiderman, Director of Special Events at Thunderbird.

Sidewalk chalk
Children color with sidewalk chalk

Erin, who organized the Night of the Open Door festivities, summed it up by saying, “It was very exciting to see our campus filled with people all interested in the Thunderbird Mystique. It was our chance to show the community what we have to offer. From our talented students demonstrating their heritage, to our staff showcasing their departments in an interactive way, to our campus contractors, alumni and community partners, we all came together to demonstrate what makes our school special, and that is something to be proud of!”

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