The Downtown student government held a Walking Tour of downtown Phoenix Friday afternoon, with the help of the Downtown Phoenix Ambassadors, in USGD’s continued efforts to link the downtown community with ASU.
“It’s basically to help unite students with local businesses and the downtown area in general,” said Jessica Boehm, event organizer and Barrett, the Honors College senator.
The tour consisted of around a dozen students and included visits to four nearby restaurants – 1130 The Restaurant, Matador, Copper Blues and A Touch of Yogurt – and each provided free food or dessert to the group.
The event was born out of the USGD Universal Committee, a new entity this year that focuses on unifying ASU students between campuses and Downtown students to the Phoenix community.
“We have a lot of big ideas, and would love to have more manpower behind that,” Boehm said.
The 20 spots available for the event filed up quickly on Facebook, she said.
“At first I was nervous,” Boehm said before the tour began. “But there was such an obvious response.”
A little over half of the people who registered for the walk ended up going.
Cronkite School Sen. and journalism freshman Malcolm Brinkley attended the tour for the free food. Brinkley said it is important for students to feel like they’re a part of the community.
“I think it’s a great idea in order to get students involved because it’s different living in an urban campus,” he said.
To address the lower-than-expected attendance, Brinkley created a Twitter hashtag mid-walk to bring in more students.
“There’s a need to get students to go out there and explore and to get more foot traffic around the community,” Freshman Sen. and event organizer Stephanie Avalos said.
USGD worked in collaboration with the Downtown Phoenix Ambassadors, a nonprofit whose goal is to promote local businesses in the downtown area.
Since the Downtown campus opened in 2006, Downtown Phoenix Ambassadors have worked closely with Student Affairs, said Debbie Labella, an ambassador and the event’s tour guide.
Business owners in the area said they want a better relationship with Downtown students.
Amber Cesena, general manager of 1130 The Restaurant, said she was excited when they were approached for the tour.
1130, the first stop on tour, catered students with spinach-artichoke dip and fried calamari appetizers.
Because of their prices, Cesena says the restaurant has difficulty attracting students but they are doing what they can.
“We work closely with the Ambassadors, trying to help build downtown. Anything that we can do to help the downtown partnership we like to get involved,” she said.
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