By Amanda Cardini, Co-editor
Students arriving back on campus this January were confronted with a strange feeling. The return to school this semester brought students face to face with the reality that Thunderbird’s historic campus will soon cease to exist. At a yet to be decided date sometime over the next year, Thunderbird will move to ASU’s downtown Phoenix campus.
Both history and fond personal memories are housed within Thunderbird’s grounds. While new memories will form at the new location in due time, alumni will return ‘home’ to an unfamiliar place. The best current students and alumni can do to preserve the memories of old is to make the most of Thunderbird’s final months in Glendale, whether it be six months or 12.
Take advantage of campus events
Certain events like Regional Nights are part of Thunderbird tradition and will hopefully continue into the future despite the move to downtown Phoenix. However, as plans for the temporary space are still up in the air, it is questionable whether Regional Nights will have a home there before the new building is finished. Even if the temporary space does include a venue for these events, it will be a much different experience than the one current students have come to know and love at the TEC. Current students will have to savor the last of these events taking place on Thunderbird’s original campus, as these classic Thunderbird traditions could very well be on hold for the foreseeable future.
Spend time around campus
While the campus may be old, it has a certain charm and beauty about it that will be impossible to replicate in downtown Phoenix. Studying outside and enjoying the Arizona weather on the lush Thunderbird grounds will have a completely different feel from a high-rise building in the city. Before the move, students will want to relax with friends in common areas like the Fish or at the picnic tables throughout campus. Or they can spend time in the Tower, overlooking campus as a whole or just enjoying the solitude. Appreciate living only a few steps away from your friends, as moving downtown will likely spread the entire student body apart; housing has yet to be determined for the interim space and may not be offered at all.
While appreciating campus during these final months, document your days. Whether it’s photos with friends, at campus events or of a particularly spectacular Arizona sunset, the backdrop will be entirely different once downtown Phoenix is our new home. Not to mention that the old Thunderbird campus will be a completely new building in the future, and pictures will be all that’s left.
Visit the archives
If you’ve ever wondered about the details of Thunderbird’s vibrant history, make an appointment to visit the archives. With materials dating back to the 1940s, the Thunderbird Archives have made it their mission to retain concrete links to the past in the form of yearbooks, photos, old school magazines, copies of Das Tor, and much more. The archivist is happy to answer questions, give tours and share stories of Thunderbird over the years.
Visit the Pub…often
It seems like “visit the pub as much as you can” was the most commonly given advice from alumni to new T-birds during Foundations, and while many took the advice to heart, it’s even more relevant in light of the closing campus. Plans for the new building in Downtown Phoenix allegedly include a new Thunderbird Pub, but as the building won’t be finished until 2021 students caught in the middle of the transition will lose the Pub experience. More than just a place to grab a drink, the Pub has been a place for informed conversation and cultivating relationships with fellow students and alumni. It will be sorely missed in the years to come, and current students will want to take advantage of the current pub’s final months.
A lot of uncertainty remains about the future of Thunderbird. A temporary space has yet to be found, and the date of the move is still up in the air. Unfortunately the only thing that is certain is that it will happen within the next year. Current students and alumni can only savor the final months at the current campus by attending events, documenting their time here and appreciating all that Thunderbird has given us. While T-birds may not be able to call Glendale home for much longer, the memories that have been made on this campus will live on and hopefully, history will be preserved as best it can.