Answer Me This

Answer Me This is a forum for addressing questions about working at Seattle University and campus life. The Commons invites faculty and staff to suggest possible topics for questions or specific questions for consideration by e-mailing

Gift ideas

Q:  What are some things I can buy for the holidays right here on campus? 

A:  You don't really want to go to the mall now, do you? Well, you don't have to-there's something for everyone on your list at SU's Campus Store. We asked our friends at the store for recommendations on what's hot this holiday season. Swing by the store on your lunch break or whenever to shop for these and more.

SUOrnament_AMT1. The gift card (also known as the ace in the hole) is always a great option when you're stuck on what to get that notoriously picky relative or friend, and the Campus Store carries plenty of options, whether you're looking for Starbucks, iTunes, Amazon, Subway or something else. You can even purchase a gift card for the Campus Store.

2. Fact: No Christmas tree is complete without a Seattle U ornament. Snag one today and hang it proudly.

3. Keep yourself and your loved ones warm with a Columbia fleece.

4. Get in the spirit of the holidays with Seattle U Santa hats and Christmas stockings.

5. Pick up some yoga accessories to work off all those calories you'll be racking up over the holidays. 

BONUS IDEA: Here's another great gift idea suggested by Laura Paskin of Arts and Sciences:

Check out the list of A&S arts, lectures and events coming this winter and spring--a wonderful way to plan quality time with friends and family in the new year. Apollo Chamber Players will be on campus for a special concert on Feb. 23. Here's the link for all upcoming events in the college:


University Style Guide

Q:  Where can I find answers to questions on the university's editorial style?

A:  Wonder about where to put that comma--or if it even belongs in a long sentence? Confused about period placement or how to properly explain a title? These and other writing dilemmas will be answered in the Seattle University Editorial Style Guide, which is now available in PDF form here. The refreshed guide, produced by Marketing Communications, offers handy tips that are useful when you are writing a news story, an article for an e-newsletter or pulling together a stream of information for social media purposes. So check it out today!

Restrooms in Casey

Q:   The ever-inquisitive Associate Professor of History Dave Madsen, had this question: "I have noticed that the men's bathrooms on Casey 2 and 4 have had the stalls removed so that one must lock the door upon entry. I'm guessing that the same has happened in the women's rooms on 1, 3 and 5. Is this the preamble to a change to make all of them gender neutral?"

A:  Checking with Lara Branigan (Director of Design and Construction in Facilities Administration), we learned the change was made  in order to improve accessibility in the restrooms. "The toilets were located in alcoves with stall doors closing off the alcove and the stalls were not as large as current Americans with Disability Act (ADA) requires.  In order to prevent someone in a wheelchair from becoming stuck in a stall, we removed the stall doors, which then necessitated the locks on the doors to make them single user rooms."

As for the separate issue of gender neutral restrooms, Branigan says, "We are studying the feasibility of gender inclusive restrooms on campus. There are a set of complex issues involved including building codes, current configurations, signage, etc.  We are working through these issues and hope to have some direction in the near future."

International students

Q:   How many international students are enrolled at SU this fall?

International-Students-Chart_AMTA:  Nearly 700 students at SU hail from countries outside the United States. A total of 674 students representing 49 countries are enrolled at SU this quarter on F and J visas. That's up from last fall's total of 640 students.

"The same top ten countries (shown in the table to the left)  were listed last year although with the big growth in the numbers of students from China, Saudi Arabia, and India there has been some shifts within the Top 10 countries," said Ryan Greene, director of the International Student Center.

The other 39 countries represented at SU this year are: 

Thailand (10 students); United Kingdom (6 students); Croatia, Mexico, Uganda (4 students each); Austria, Brazil, Ecuador, New Zealand and Sweden (3 students each); France, Germany, Macau, Nepal, Philippines, Rwanda, and Serbia (2 students each); and Armenia, Australia, Chile, Colombia, Germany , Egypt, Eritrea, Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Poland, Russia, Senegal, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, Venezuela and Zaire (1 student each).

In addition, the International Student Center is managing 141 students in optional practical training, which is up from 120 students who were in the program last year. Practical training is a temporary work authorization for F-1 visa students, granted by the United States government, designed to give students an opportunity to gain working experience in their field of study prior to or after graduation.

University policies

Q:  Is there a centralized place for university policies?

A:  If you're looking for a university policy, there's a good chance you'll find it at Maintained by the Office of University Counsel, the site includes policies and guides on topics as varied as business expenses, photography, political activities and employee recognition--to name just a few. In some cases the site links you to other pages. The site does not include policies that apply only to specific academic or administrative units or only to students, though it may link visitors to those policies.

Sky bridge

Skybridge_AMTQ:  Kari Langsea of Campus Ministry writes, "I'm curious about the plans for the sky bridge over James Street--is the fencing there to stay or are there plans to remodel the structure?" 

A:  Yes, Kari, the temporary fencing on the sky bridge between the Student Center and Murphy Garage will be replaced with permanent features over the next several months. Currently in the design phase, construction is planned for December-January, pending permit approvals. For more information, contact Steve De Bruhl in Facilities Services at 296-2508.

CEJS goings on  

Q:   What's new at the Center for Environmental Justice and Sustainability (CEJS) these days?BullittCenterWaterTesting_275

A:   In a word, lots. Here's a quick rundown.

  • As of July 1, Campus Sustainability Manager Karen Price is reporting to Professor Phil Thompson, director of CEJS . (The position previously reported to the associate vice president for facilities.) The move allows for greater integration and alignment of the academic, co-curricular and operational components of SU's sustainability efforts and it makes CEJS the center of all things related to sustainability on campus. 
  • More than 200 people from 25 states and 12 countries attended CEJS's inaugural conference, Just Sustainability: Hope for the Commons, which took place in August. Attendees included academics, grassroots activists and representatives from agencies such as the EPA. Thirteen Jesuit universities participated, including North Bengal St. Xavier's College, India, and Central American University, Nicaragua. CEJS plans to host the conference every other year, building the network of Jesuit institutions connecting environmental justice and sustainability, and supporting those working in these fields locally and around the country. For reflections on the conference, you can read Jesuit James Hug's reports HERE
  • Enjoy food and drink while hearing stories that connect environmental justice and sustainability at the CEJS Happy Hour. Come listen to CEJS Faculty Fellows tell stories about their research in such topics as snow leopard identification, climate debt, poverty alleviation in Costa Rica and tracking the impacts of the Elwha River dam removal. Mark your calendar for these upcoming CEJS Happy Hours: Nov. 20, Feb. 11, April 1 and May 26 in Student Center 160 from 5-6:30 p.m. 
  • Stay informed about SU's sustainable operations and environmental justice research and teaching initiatives. Sign up for the fall and spring quarter e-newsletter by emailing and/or like the CEJS Facebook page
  • Want to tour the greenest commercial office building on the planet? SU community members are invited to tour the Bullitt Center in which CEJS is located. It's only a seven-minute walk from the center of campus to E. Madison and 15th. Learn more at Tour the Bullitt Center with CEJS.

Stairwell nooks

Q:  This edition's question comes to us from Joyce Allen, registrar, who writes on behalf of Janet Shandley, director of graduate admissions, and Lorena Toledo-Eastey, associate director of enrollment services: 

BananStairwellNook_350"We are a curious bunch and in our walk today down the Bannan stairs from the 5th floor we noticed a 'nook' between floors 5 and 4 and again between floors 4 and 3. There might be one between floors 6 and 5 as well, we didn't explore that far. We got to thinking that perhaps there used to be a statue of a saint, Mary or Jesus, settled in each to help the poor students in their studies on their way in and out of the building, but perhaps we have it wrong. Can you enlighten in your role as investigator for The Commons as to what those nooks were once home to?"  

A:  Well, Joyce, Janet and Lorena…we're sorry to say that the answer is a lot more humdrum than the scenario you suggested. According to a learned source in Facilities, the nooks you observed used to be operable windows. When opened, the windows would balance the air flow in the stairwells.

Satellite campus in Alaska

Q:  What's the latest on the School of Law's plan to open a satellite campus in Alaska?

A:  In a recent article, Katherine Hedland Hansen of the law school shared the following:

In another major step toward bringing legal education to Alaska, Seattle University School of Law has reached an agreement to house its satellite campus at Alaska Pacific University.

The law school intends to launch its program, which would allow Alaskan students to spend summers and their entire third year in their home state, in fall 2015, pending approval by the American Bar Association. The ABA conducted a site visit at Seattle University in early May.

"We are so proud to partner with APU, and we look forward to continuing to meet the needs of Alaskan students and the legal community in the state," Dean Annette E. Clark said. "Seattle University has been committed to Alaska for over 12 years, and housing a satellite law school campus at APU is a natural extension of this commitment."

APU President Don Bantz echoed her thoughts.

"This partnership fits perfectly with APU's founding commitment to help Alaskans achieve higher education that contributes to Alaska's well-being," Bantz said. "We look forward to a long relationship with Seattle University School of Law and helping more Alaskans achieve their goal of earning a significant part of their law degree in Alaska."

Jonathan Rubini, founder and CEO of JL Properties Inc., has made a generous gift to APU earmarked for Seattle University to house the law school's satellite campus at APU. Mark Kroloff, a principal with First Alaskan Capital Partners, has also provided significant strategic and logistical support to the law school's endeavor.

Seattle University School of Law marked its longstanding commitment to Alaska and honored its many partners within the state at a reception in Anchorage on June 18 at the Dena'ina Center.

The law school has already formed strong ties with the Alaska Court System, the Alaska Bar Association, and individual lawyers in Alaska, the only state without its own law school. The Alaska Court System has entered into an agreement to allow the law school to use its law library as well as its courtroom for some evening and weekend classes, and for Moot Court and other competitions.

Chief Justice Dana Fabe wrote a letter to the ABA expressing enthusiastic support for the program, which she says will provide training and experience to benefit lawyers who practice in Alaska and help diversify the Alaska bar. Of the approximately 4,000 lawyers in the state, Alaska Native attorneys make up only a tiny percentage.

"We anticipate that the satellite campus will open the door to legal and judicial careers to many more Alaskans and will have a direct impact on increasing diversity in our profession," Fabe said.

Stephanie Nichols, a 2006 graduate of Seattle University School of Law who grew up in Fairbanks, directs the law school's Alaska Programs, teaches several Alaska-related law courses, and is overseeing the development of this Alaska J.D. Program. "As an Alaskan, I could not be more proud of this development and relationship with APU," she said. "I'm thrilled with the outpouring of support from so many people in the legal and greater Alaska community. Our satellite campus, the only law program on-the-ground in Alaska, will be a great benefit to Alaskan students."