January 24, 2021

Top ASU West campus traditions

ASU West Campus traditions make student life exciting for Sun Devils while bringing a sense of pride to the community. You can be in the know and have some fun by participating in traditions at this tight-knit campus community. 

Check out these four unique traditions that Sun Devils at West participate in to show their campus pride.


The pale gates at the ASU West Campus

1: The symbolic walk through the Paley Gates

What goes up must come down, or in this case what begins must end — in a good way. One of the most meaningful and respected traditions at West is processing through the Paley Gates. It’s known as The Golden Tradition and is part of the Sun Devil Welcome experience for first-year students and the culminating graduation ceremonies for graduating seniors at West.

During the first week of school, all first-year students are invited to take part in the  welcome ceremony at the Paley Gates, a set of gates that were designed by modernist sculptor Albert Paley located at the front of the West campus.

First-year students line up and walk through the gates, touching the gates in turn. After walking through, students are welcomed by faculty and staff and receive a keynote address from the dean of the campus about what is in store for them now that they are Sun Devils. 

West students have adopted the tradition of not entering or exiting the campus through gates again until they complete their journey at ASU. As a culminating moment and highlight of commencement week, the graduating class is invited to process through the gates once again — this time signifying that their ASU journey is complete. 

“I think it represents the start and finish to your journey through ASU,” said Alexis Klemm, past president of the Devil's Advocates at the West campus and a fall 2020 forensic psychology and criminology and criminal justice graduate.

“You have the opportunity to come and do the tradition backward, and walk out of the gates, touching them, connecting with them and saying goodbye to the university,” Klemm said.


Bool Bell at the West Campus

2: Fun with the Bool Bell

Nothing screams tradition like a good old senior prank. The Bool Bell tradition is one students have honored for years, specifically ASU seniors. 

The Bool Bell was donated to the West campus in 1983 and was named for the couple who donated it, Herb and Betty Bool. Since then, the bell has been a symbol of achievement for West students. 

On an average day, the bell sits untouched between the University Center and the administration building on campus. However, during finals week every semester, the bell becomes a reminder to first-year and upper-division students that all their hard work will pay off.

Once a student has finished their last final at ASU, completing the final course of their senior year, they ring the Bool Bell. During finals week students can walk the campus and listen to the bell being rung, knowing that with each ring a different student has finished their academic journey at ASU. 

The tradition is so popular among students that the bell can even be heard occasionally over the summer. 

“You hear it even throughout the summer,” said Klemm, “When people had to take that one more class. If they’re done, they're done, it's still a tradition they stand by.”


Time capsule plaque at the West Campus

3: The time capsule

It’s like buried treasure, but instead of gold, it’s full of history! The West campus time capsule is just as mysterious as it sounds. The time capsule is located just three feet south of the Bool Bell and was buried April 22, 1994, to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the West campus. 

The tradition is that the time capsule will be opened in 2034 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the West campus. According to student tradition, no one knows what is inside the capsule. 

“I have no idea what’s inside it,” said Klemm. “Despite us being smaller it’s something that is unique to us and kind of encompasses the community here.”






ASU sign at the West Campus

4: A rare Arizona State University sign

It wouldn’t be the 21st century if a campus didn’t have a traditional photo spot! The West campus features one of the only ASU signs that spells out the university's entire name. 

The sign is located north of Fletcher Lawn and is a traditional picture spot for students. Whether the pictures are for graduation, admission announcements or just for fun, the Arizona State University sign is a classic spot for students to pull out their cameras.








4 minutes
Madeleine Williamson