Filling in the Cracks

By Bryce Bower, Co-editor

Thunderbird administration executives CEO Allen Morrison, Executive Director of Marketing and Communications Jay Thorne, and Executive Director for the Office of the CEO Chelsea Olsen came together with students last Monday, the 19th of February, in an official and on-the-record Student Update meeting.

In and effort to clarify previous reporting in the article published January 25, “Slipping Through the Cracks”, Das Tor offers the following update based upon facts shared at the Student Update session. The previous article included some incorrect information regarding the CMC, housing and a few other details pertaining to the move. We at Das Tor apologize for the spread of any misinformation that may have occurred.

The Good News

We learned at the Student Update all about the interim location. The Thunderbird School of Global Management will be located in a space roughly 60,000 square feet that spans stories seven, eight, and nine of the One Arizona Center building. I believe administration took to heart the results of the student survey conducted a few weeks ago.

Student input and concerns have been taken into account with the blueprints for our interim “home,” including several items that will modernize our learning environment. Included in the plans are amenities such as designated study rooms (with MANY electrical sockets), extra physical copies of our text books that we can borrow (as we currently have here in the IBIC), and our own vending machines for quick, healthy snacks. One floor is devoted to classrooms, study rooms and student clubs, another to student services– vital services like the Career Management Center– and the third to faculty and other staff. Many plans are in the works to enhance our experience in the Arizona Center.

As for housing, ASU and Thunderbird are in talks with apartment complexes near the Arizona Center, and they are optimistic that there will be housing options and arrangements where T-birds who wish to can live in close proximity to one another and in close proximity to the Arizona Center. Thunderbird administration has made it clear to ASU that students need housing options free from the restrictions placed on undergraduate students, considering T-birds are on average several years older.

On the matter of parking in downtown Phoenix, Thunderbird will be given approximately 100 parking spaces in the nearby parking garage. The Pub is understandably impossible to duplicate in the interim space, however we have been informed that there are some bars downtown that are vying for a contract with Thunderbird. We do not yet know where we will have our Regional Nights, but we have been assured they will happen- with plans to be able to showcase our different cultures to community members.

In regards to the different economic conditions between Glendale and the downtown area, Dr. Morrison also informed us that ASU will be providing subsidies to students studying at the Arizona Center. The exact amount has not been worked out, but they understand that people budgeted for grad school in Glendale, not in Downtown Phoenix where almost all expenses are higher.

Another thing we learned, which is very near to my heart, is that Das Tor will have its own space in the interim facility.

Rough Seas

The Higher-Ups did not want to promise us something that had the potential to fall through. When we didn’t hear anything regarding the concerns we brought up, we believed there were no plans. This was more than just conjecture created in the absence of information. To say that the first Student Update really rubbed people the wrong way is an understatement– it honestly caused current students to lose trust in the people running Thunderbird. Many students, myself included, perceived the lack of updates for several weeks on things like housing, parking, and the interim space to mean Thunderbird didn’t care about us.

After many intense and emotional conversations with members of Thunderbird’s Admissions, Marketing, and Executive offices, and after the announcements made at this week’s Student Update, I can wholeheartedly tell you that this is not the case. There are people in administration working all day, every day, to make sure the interim space provides us with the best possible experience.

Looking Forward

We as current students have a role to play as well. We have to show ASU what being a T-bird really means. Other schools have sent people to our campus to try and figure out what makes Thunderbirds, and especially the alumni network, so powerfully unique. They haven’t the slightest idea– because it isn’t something that can be taught or replicated. Thankfully, all staff and faculty directly employed by Thunderbird will continue to have a job as we transition to downtown.

When she visited our campus on February 5th, ASU Vice Provost Stephanie Lindquist must have thought about we were over-exaggerating the notion that we spend most of our time with our cohorts. It must have been surprising for her, considering most Masters programs aren’t tightly-knit as we are. For example, today after our morning class there were about 25 of us- Scorpions and Cougars alike- who took over a column of 5 tables in the Commons to eat lunch together. On Tuesdays we get into groups at the Pub to battle it out on Trivia Night, proudly naming our temporary teams something either politically charged or politically incorrect. We eat together, study together, play sports and music together, teach each other our languages, share aspects of our cultures, and “collaborate to graduate.” I am thankful for the efforts being made by Thunderbird and ASU Administration to make sure we don’t fall through the cracks, and I am hopeful that we may be able to continue our close-knit lifestyle downtown.

While our location may change, T-bird culture will remain.

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