Sun Devils Unveiled: Navigating Campus Life at Arizona State University

Arizona State University Content 19

Arizona State University (ASU) is one of the largest universities in the United States and has been named the most innovative US public university for its curriculum, faculty, facilities, technology, and campus life. It’s little surprise campus life got a mention because it is thrilling. College sports drive its vibrant culture across its four campuses in metro Phoenix—Downtown Phoenix, Polytechnic, Tempe and West—and its Lake Havasu City campus in western Arizona, near the California state line.

Most of SAF’s study abroad programs are on the Tempe campus, but that should absolutely not stop you from exploring the rest of the school to really get to grips with campus life in Arizona. There are convenient (and fun!) inter-campus shuttles, with free Wi-Fi, that run every 30 minutes, and there’s a light rail between Tempe and Downtown Phoenix. The trips to the Los Angeles and Washington D.C. campuses, though, take a little longer. 

Each campus has a unique vibe—big, small, urban, suburban, fast-paced, laid-back—and you can take a quiz to work out which one is most ‘you,’ so even if your program is on a different campus, you can find your spiritual ASU home.


The largest and most historic ASU campus, Tempe has a vibrant energy and diverse student body. It bustles with activity and has a strong focus on sustainability and innovation.

To really get to know—and feel—Tempe, you should stroll down the iconic Palm Walk, lined with shops, restaurants, and student organizations. For live orchestral concerts, Broadway Across America performances, and thought-provoking events, book seats at the Gammage Auditorium, an architectural gem. And for that all-American experience, join your classmates to cheer on the Sun Devils at ASU’s Mountain America Stadium (aka Sun Devil Stadium). After a major renovation in 2019, the stadium took its new name in 2023 after four decades of great footballing moments. 

If you’re at ASU at the beginning of the academic year, start your journey as a Sun Devil for life by joining the Echo from the Buttes, a tradition that started in 1918, hiking up ‘A’ mountain to give the ‘A’ a fresh lick of paint with your hands.

After, and for the rest of your time at Tempe, consider Memorial Union your student hub, a place to get involved in student activities, clubs, and cultural events.

West Valley

In the northwest Phoenix suburb of Glendale, the West Valley campus has a tight-knit community. With the Fletcher Library, the first campus building, West has Spanish-inspired architecture, lush green space, and scenic walking paths. And the biking on White Tank Mountains Regional Park’s trails is superb after class.

The nightlife isn’t on the Tempe scale—it’s a more chilled affair, with fun intramural sport teams at Sun Devil Fitness Complex, and more intimate live events and cultural experiences across campus and wider Glendale. If you want social entrepreneurship, civic engagement, service learning and community service to be part of your ASU experience, West’s Changemaker Central is your go-to for co-curricular activities and meeting like-minded folk. 

Downtown Phoenix

On the ASU Downtown campus, you immerse yourself in the bustling Phoenix city life, with all its cultural attractions, museums, and entertainment. An energetic and diverse environment, here you can network with professionals and participate in simulations and case studies that reflect real-world challenges. 

Beyond the classroom, you could catch a concert at the Comerica Theatre one night, explore Roosevelt Row art district another, and spend your study abroad time working out with your classmates which of the midtown restaurants is your favorite. At the heart of the city campus is the University Center Building with a café, bookstore, study areas, and a popular lunch spot by the Delph Courtyard fountain.

The Post Office, also, is a popular gathering place. It was designed by students for students, with foosball, pool, TVs, and a study lounge—and it’s very welcoming even if your program isn’t downtown.


A predominantly STEM campus with strong links with industry and a heavy emphasis on networking, career development, and research collaborations, Polytechnic is a 600-acre campus with an outdoorsy vibe. Wide treelined walkways guide you between the flight-simulation building, tech innovation hub, comprehensive sports facilities, golf course, equestrian center, and green spaces. If walking feels a bit much in the Arizona heat, you can grab a free bike to get you around.

Beyond your program, you can learn about crops and grow your own veg in the ASU community garden or try uni-made beers in the campus microbrewery. And for some off-campus adventure, hike or bike the scenic Usery Mountain Regional Park trails in the Sonoran Desert.

Across Arizona State University’s four campuses, you can immerse yourself in a vibrant, dynamic culture that fosters creativity and empowers you to pursue your passions and make a positive impact on the world. ASU provides an unparalleled study abroad experience that prepares you for success in the classroom and beyond and helps you make friends for life.