7 Reasons You Should Visit Arizona State University

7 Reasons You Should Visit Arizona State University

ASU is one of the largest universities in the country, and there is plenty to see and do when you visit this year.

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Arizona State University —or "Spring Break University" — is the next destination you need to add to your travel list this year. Besides being a leader in innovation, here are seven other reasons you should visit ASU.

Multiple campuses

It's not like a regular university, it's one of the largest universities in the nation. ASU has a total of four campuses located in Tempe, Downtown Phoenix, Glendale, and Mesa. Each campus has a different setup which creates a unique experience when visiting each one. So why just visit one when you can road trip to visit them all?

Tons of options for caffeine addicts 

Starbucks? Yes. Dutch Bros? Yes. Cartel Coffee? Yes, and these are just the larger coffee companies located on almost every campus. There are also smaller coffee shops sprinkled throughout the ASU campuses that give you plenty of options to get your fix.

Food Options

The Tempe campus alone offers numerous options for food both directly on campus and in the surrounding community. You can enjoy fast-food options like Chick-fil-A, Qdoba, Einstein Bagels, and many others on and around campus, and sit-down restaurants like Postinos and Snooze on College Ave. Whatever you're in the mood for, ASU has options for you.

Stadiums close by

Tempe campus is within walking distance of ASU's football and basketball stadiums. Downtown Phoenix is a short light-rail trip away from ASU's baseball stadium, and also happens to be within walking distance away from Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks. In the springtime, many Spring Training baseball stadiums are within close vicinity to many of the ASU campuses. Lots of options, so little time!

Night-life

Ever heard of a little place called Mill Avenue? Literally right down the street from the Tempe campus. Downtown Scottsdale is another great spot for nightlife adventures and is merely a 15-minute drive from Tempe. Rumor has it there may or may not be a shuttle that will even take you between the two places. Don't believe me? Come check it out for yourself.

Shopping

Tempe Marketplace, Scottsdale Fashion Square, and Cityscape in Downtown are some of the few places with lots of different shopping options close to the different campuses. With so many options, it's very tempting to go and spend hours roaming the stores.

Palm trees galore

Most importantly, ASU is home to the infamous Palm Walk. It's the perfect spot to take a walk through campus, and even take some Insta worthy photos! Plus, how could you look at a bunch of palm trees and not just feel so happy? Factor in some warm weather and sunshine, and it's a perfect mini sight-seeing opportunity.

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I Visited The "Shameless" Houses And Here's Why You Shouldn't

Glamorizing a less-than-ideal way to live.
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After five hours of driving, hearing the GPS say "Turn right onto South Homan Avenue" was a blessing. My eyes peeled to the side of the road, viciously looking for what I have been driving so long for, when finally, I see it: the house from Shameless.

Shameless is a hit TV show produced by Showtime. It takes place in modern-day Southside, Chicago. The plot, while straying at times, largely revolves around the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. While a majority of the show is filmed offsite in a studio in Los Angeles, many outside scenes are filmed in Southside and the houses of the Gallagher's and side-characters are very much based on real houses.

We walked down the street, stopped in front of the two houses, took pictures and admired seeing the house in real life. It was a surreal experience and I felt out-of-place like I didn't belong there. As we prepared to leave (and see other spots from the show), a man came strolling down on his bicycle and asked how we were doing.

"Great! How are you?"

It fell silent as the man stopped in front of the Gallagher house, opened the gate, parked his bike and entered his home. We left a donation on his front porch, got back to the car and took off.

As we took the drive to downtown Chicago, something didn't sit right with me. While it was exciting to have this experience, I began to feel a sense of guilt or wrongdoing. After discussing it with my friends, I came to a sudden realization: No one should visit the "Gallagher" house.

The plot largely revolves the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. It represents what Southside is like for so many residents. While TV shows always dramatize reality, I realized coming to this house was an exploitation of their conditions. It's entertaining to see Frank's shenanigans on TV, the emotional roller coasters characters endure and the outlandish things they have to do to survive. I didn't come here to help better their conditions, immerse myself in what their reality is or even for the donation I left: I came here for my entertainment.

Southside, Chicago is notoriously dangerous. The thefts, murders and other crimes committed on the show are not a far-fetched fantasy for many of the residents, it's a brutal reality. It's a scary way to live. Besides the Milkovich home, all the houses typically seen by tourists are occupied by homeowners. It's not a corporation or a small museum -- it's their actual property. I don't know how many visitors these homes get per day, week, month or year. Still, these homeowners have to see frequent visitors at any hour of the day, interfering with their lives. In my view, coming to their homes and taking pictures of them is a silent way of glamorizing the cycle of poverty. It's a silent way of saying we find joy in their almost unlivable conditions.

The conceit of the show is not the issue. TV shows have a way of romanticizing very negative things all the time. The issue at hand is that several visitors are privileged enough to live in a higher quality of life.

I myself experienced the desire and excitement to see the houses. I came for the experience but left with a lesson. I understand that tourism will continue to the homes of these individuals and I am aware that my grievances may not be shared with everyone -- however, I think it's important to take a step back and think about if this were your life. Would you want hundreds, potentially thousands, of people coming to your house? Would you want people to find entertainment in your lifestyle, good and bad?

I understand the experience, excitement, and fun the trip can be. While I recommend skipping the houses altogether and just head downtown, it's most important to remember to be respectful to those very individuals whose lives have been affected so deeply by Shameless.

Cover Image Credit: itsfilmedthere.com

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I Live In A German City That Does Not Exist

The truth behind the Bielefeld Conspiracy Theory.

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I was born in Bielefeld, a city located northwest of Germany. The hidden place is populated with more than 320,000 residents and homes a university, a castle, and a beautiful old town. However, growing up, I encountered many situations that provoked me to defend this city's existence and that I definitely live in that place.

According to believers of the Bielefeld Conspiracy, the city exists only as an illusion, possibly invented by the CIA. Sounds crazy, you say? Yes, it is, but that satirical running gag is known all over Germany.

Believers of the conspiracy ask non-believers these three questions: Have you ever been to Bielefeld? Do you know anybody from Bielefeld? Do you know anybody who has ever been to Bielefeld?

As my hometown is not a place you would describe as a tourist destination, most people the answer to these three questions is "no," supposedly proving the conspiracists' point.

Originated in 1994 on a German internet forum, the satire conspiracy theory was instantly contagious, which proclaimed that Bielefeld is a made up city. Achim Held is to blame, as he is responsible for starting the theory as a joke, not knowing what kind of hype he actually created. Conspiracy theorists claim that our city was invented by a fictional entity called "THEM." To make it even weirder, they believe that "THEY" had help from aliens disguising their spaceship as the University of Bielefeld.

Up to this day, 25 years later, it continues to spread. Can you believe that Bielefeld's mayor receives emails from across the country with questions surrounding the real existence of the city? And, it's true! Even German Chancellor Angela Merkel referred to the conspiracy in public while talking about a town hall meeting she had attended in Bielefeld, adding: "if it exists at all" and "I had the impression that I was there." Finally, German cinemas even showed a movie about the Bielefeld Conspiracy!

Being born and raised in this very city, I was often annoyed by people telling me this senseless joke and persisting that I am only imagining living in Bielefeld. It is incredible, though, how a small 25-year-old joke turned into such a conspiracy that is known all across Germany and beyond.

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