SU Voice Alumni Blog

What Makes Summer in Seattle Great?

Posted by Caitlin Joyce, '11, '18 on August 3, 2017 at 3:08 PM PDT

Though Seattleites try to keep it quiet, it’s no secret that summer in Seattle is spectacular. The days are long, the rain takes a holiday, the air is cool and the sun is warm. Unlike other cities, Seattle tends to avoid humid overtly hot summers, making it the perfect time to get out and explore. While not all alumni stay in the Pacific Northwest after graduation, 61% of our alumni are in the Puget Sound area, so we put together the Redhawk Summer Fun List with recommendations from alumni and some of our own. We hope it will give you some new ideas for summer fun.

 

Mary Ann Dancing in the Street
Photo credit: Alabastro Photography

“July is my absolute favorite month in Seattle! There is nowhere else. I'd rather be.  Every July I look forward to the annual Bon Odori festivals. This is a Japanese Buddhist festival that honors loved ones who have passed on. This is done through dance, taiko drumming, and great food. Women and men are in colorful yukata (a summer kimono) and hapi coats. I do the whole obon circuit: Seattle, White River, Tacoma, Olympia! One summer I will try to work in Vancouver and Portland, and even maybe even San Jose!” – Mary Ann Goto, '79

 

 Arman and Wife

“My favorite thing about summer in Seattle is... spending more time outdoors!! I love to escape the city and get out in nature, for something like a "mental reset." I also like to come home from work and take a quick nap in my hammock in my backyard! It's a great way to relax before starting on dinner and evening chores!” – Arman Birang, ‘11

 

Dog at the beach 

 

 

“My favorite thing to do in the summer is going to the beach (preferably the Oregon Coast) with my family and what I really mean is with our dogs.” – Susan Vosper, AVP of the Seattle University Alumni Association.

 

Afina and Friend

 

 

“My favorite thing to do in the summer is being outside - whether I'm going to the beach or visiting small towns like Snohomish or Port Townsend. Ideally with friends!” Afina Walton, ‘17

 

John and family hiking

 

 

 

“City hikes at Discovery Park.” - John Boyle, ‘02

 

 Kaily Hiking with Dog

 

 

“Seattle has the best hiking trails! My favorite thing about summer is taking my dog on hikes and seeing the great outdoors.” – Kaily Serralta, ‘12

 Sunset over water

 

 

 

“I go to the Beach Drive in West Seattle to watch the sun set behind the Olympic Mountains.  It’s breathtaking.” – Peter Graziani, ‘12

 

 

 

 

"During the summer in Seattle, I enjoy walking around Seward Park, hitting the town with my DSLR camera while taking in the ever changing city, spending time with friends, and visiting the local Capitol Hill Farmers Market on Sundays." – Duron Jones, ’14, President of the African American Alumni Chapter

 

Redhawk Summer Fun List

August 3-6

Wooden O presents Shakespeare in the Park

Seafair Weekend

Umoja Fest African Heritage Festival

August 7-13

Out to Lunch concert series
Alumna Hollis Wong-Wear, ’08, and her band the Flavr Blue performed as part of this series.

Concerts at the Mural Amphitheatre

Nights at the Neptune

Outdoor Movie Nights with Peddler Brewing Company
The brewery is alumni owned and operated.  

A Taste of Edmonds

August 14-20

Sunset Supper at the Market

ZooTunes concert series

Tumwater Artesian Brewfest

August 21-27

Evergreen State Fair

Seattle U Day at the Sounders

Choochokam Makers + Music Festival

August 28-September 3
Bumbershoot
 

Benchmark Your Career with the help of PayScale!

Posted by Seattle University Alumni Association on August 2, 2017 at 5:08 PM PDT

By now you may have received an email from President Stephen Sundborg, S.J. telling you that Seattle U is partnering with PayScale and asking you to complete the Seattle University PayScale Alumni Careers Survey.  Why should you participate? Great question!

In the 2016 Alumni Attitude Survey you told us that it was important that the national rankings of Seattle U accurately reflect the quality of the education you received. You also shared that access to professional development is very important to you.  The Seattle University PayScale Alumni Careers Survey is one source that will accomplish both of those things.

Upon completion, the Seattle University PayScale Alumni Careers Survey generates a personalized salary report. This report can help you:

  • Evaluate your current and possibly future value as an employee.
  • Negotiate salary increases or build a case for additional skills training.
  • Understand what to ask for as you prep for career advancement.

The survey data also provides valuable career outcome information that is influential to evaluators when they develop national rankings—a powerful influence with employers.

Watch out for an email from SeattleUSurveys@seattleu.edu with a link to participate in the Seattle University PayScale Alumni Careers Survey.   

 

We Are

Posted by Seattle University Alumni Association on June 1, 2017 at 2:06 PM PDT

Carolyn Ronis, '00, '03 JD, was awarded the 2017 Seattle University Community Service Award at the Alumni Awards on May 5th. During her acceptance speech, she presented Fr. Steve and the Seattle University community with a piece of artwork entitled “We Are.” Read on to see what Carolyn had to say about the piece.

“WE ARE”

This piece of art titled “We Are” was created by Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) currently residing at Sengere settlement in Yola, Adamawa State, Nigeria. Most of the IDPs escaped to Sangere after the deadly “Gwoza Massacre” of June 2, 2014 in Gwoza, Borno State. Boko Haram, the world’s deadliest terrorist organization, tortured, assassinated and burned residents of all ages. Children witnessed their parents being executed and many were left as orphans. Reliable sources estimate the death toll from that attack at between 400-500 civilians.

Most of these survivors escaped with only the clothes on their backs. After hiding in the bush for many weeks, these IDPs finally arrived at Sangere. Tattered, dirty, starving, and sick, they now face discrimination and starvation, but they are thankful to be alive.

 Children Tracing Hands

“We Are” is an original piece made up of the real handprints, dirt and all, of individuals who survived that deadly night and the many deadly nights after, in search of peace. Sharing their handprints, they send a message to the world that they exist, they do not want to be forgotten, and they are working to come to terms with what has happened so they can create their own peace. The leaf prints communicate their occupation as farmers in Gwoza and their quest to find their own land where they can safely resume their livelihood activities. Until then, they are starving.

Children from Yola

“We Are” was created during a Healing Through Art (HTA) program administered by ICEHA (International Coalition for the Eradication of Hunger and Abuse). ICEHA’s Executive Director, Carolyn Ronis, graduated from Seattle University in 2000 and SU Law in 2003. She developed Healing Through Art to help children heal the psycho-social wounds of war and stop the perpetuation of violence from one generation to the next. Boko Haram is officially designated as the world’s deadliest terrorist organization. In Nigeria alone, it is estimated that there are over 2 million people displaced by Boko Haram. Without psycho-social healing, many, especially children, remain vulnerable to recruitment into Boko Haram.

Welcome Class of 2017!

Posted by Seattle University Alumni Association on June 1, 2017 at 2:06 PM PDT

Did you know that you are already a member of the Seattle University Alumni Association? That’s right, no dues or fees required! All 78,000 alumni of Seattle University are automatically members of the Seattle University Alumni Association at graduation and being a member has its perks.

Alumni Events
Alumni events are a great way to have fun while building your network, making new friends and staying connected to Seattle U!

Mark your calendar now for these upcoming events:

SU International Alumni Chapter Spring Social and Networking Event
June 2 | 6:30 p.m.
Seattle U Stuart Rolfe Community Room, Admissions and Alumni Building

Young Alumni Happy Hour
June 15 | 6 p.m.
Optimism Brewing Company

Volunteer for the Walk for Rice with the Women of SU
June 24 |9:30 a.m.
Seward Park

Young Alumni Summer Party
August 16 | 5:30 p.m.
Flatstick Pub (Pioneer Square)

SU Night at the Seattle Sounders
August 27 |6:30 p.m.
Century Link Field

 

Professional Development Opportunities

From our alumni LinkedIn group with over 8,000 professionals looking to connect with you to networking nights, career workshops and job postings, we have the tools to help you develop your career. Learn more here.

Lifetime Email Address

Yes, you get to keep your Seattle U email for life!  No need to change your email address just because you graduated.

Fitness Center Membership 

Seattle University alumni enjoy membership to the Eisiminger Fitness Center for just $25 a month. Join now!

Seattle U License Plates

License Plate

Drive with pride and support student scholarships with the SU license plate. A portion of every sale supports scholarships. It’s a great way to show your pride and give back.

Learn more and apply!

Seattle University Credit Card

Credit Card

The Seattle U Visa® Rewards credit card -- the only credit card that helps support the Seattle University Alumni Association with every purchase! Learn more.

Insurance Discounts

The Seattle University Alumni Association is pleased to offer a complete suite of insurance products to meet all of your insurance needs. Whether you are a new graduate in need of your first auto insurance policy or you are looking for a life insurance policy – we have something for you.  Learn more.

Continuing Education

Seattle University fosters life-long learning through our continuing education program. Alumni can audit undergraduate classes for just $55, participate in the College of Arts and Sciences quarterly Alumni Seminar Series, and enjoy continued access to the Seattle University library. Continue your education.

 

 

Spotlight: Doug Buser & Valerie Trask

Posted by Caitlin Joyce, '11 on June 1, 2017 at 10:06 AM PDT

Each June we welcome our newest batch of alumni to the Seattle University Alumni Association at commencement, where they walk across the stage and get their diplomas - an important tradition.  However, our favorite tradition takes place the day before graduation when we celebrate with graduates and their families at the President’s Commencement Brunch.

This year we have asked alumni, Doug Buser, ‘10, and Valerie Trask,’11 MBA,  to act as our young alumni emcees to help us welcome the class of 2017 with words of wisdom. We sat down with Doug and Valerie in preparation for the big day to learn a little bit more about the people behind the podium at Commencement Brunch.

Valerie Trask

 

Valerie Trask is a 2011 graduate of Seattle University’s MBA program. She chose Seattle U because of its reputation for building strong networks.  “I wanted to be intentional about meeting smart and thoughtful Seattleites,” Valerie said.

Her time at SU did more than grow her professional contacts. The core classes in her master’s program gave her the skills to be confident in any business conversation and helped prepare her for her path as an entrepreneur.

After getting her undergraduate degree at the University of Washington in 2005, Valerie worked in public relations, learning how to “make it happen” and be scrappy. In that role she met a number of entrepreneurs and grew curious about the larger business world.  “At the end of my MBA, when colleagues moved up the corporate ladder, I jumped feet first into the startup world founding a company called Punchkeeper, while doing consulting on the side.”

From there, Valerie went on to be a consultant at Microsoft, but it was not long before she was lured back to the world of start-ups.  Valerie became the co-founder and chief operating officer for Sansaire, a company that makes a device for a cooking food with the sous vide method.  That company broke funding records for their category in Kickstarter and went on to sell in 70+ countries at stores like Williams Sonoma and Sur La Table.

“After several years, I realized that what energized me most was the human aspects of business–partnerships, management, learning and development. So I started a coaching practice called Masters of Moxie, while doing learning and engagement work at Expedia.”

We asked Valerie what advice she had for the graduating class and she responded by saying, “This is the easiest and best time to take risks and make bold moves. Learn as much as you can. Expose yourself to a diverse group of people. Don’t be afraid to admit when it’s time for a change.”

Doug Buser

Doug Buser is a 2010 graduate of Seattle University’s Communication Studies program. He chose Seattle U for its location and the opportunity to play on the school’s first Division I baseball team in over 30 years.

“The best part of attending Seattle U was the additional benefits, things like my professors, teammates, coaches, classmates, and the athletic department staff -- which all helped me develop into the person I am today. The academic environment at Seattle U pushed me to be intellectually curious about the world around me. Combine that with being a student-athlete, trying to perform at a high-level on and off the field. When I took my first job out of college, I relied a lot on the lessons I learned both in the classroom and on the field.”

Doug’s first career after college was in crisis management PR.  The role was high stress, solving complex problems on a short timeline. Now, Doug works for a Seattle-based sports technology startup, Volt Athletics. While the challenges he faces are different, it’s equally exciting and rewarding. “In crisis management, the incident you are responding to has a certain, and usually short, timeline which requires all of your focus. In a startup, the timeline is different but you’re constantly trying to improve.”

Despite being busy launching his career, Doug has managed to stay connected to Seattle University in a number of ways. “Some of my best friendships were made at Seattle U, and now I attend SU sporting events and alumni gatherings with that same group of friends.” When we asked Doug why he felt it was important to stay connected he responded with, “As SU alumni, this is our community. We can shape it into whatever we want it to be. Plus, it is fun to learn what my fellow alumni are doing to change the region and beyond. We've got a really creative and exciting community. Why wouldn't I want to stay connected with it?”

Doug also had some advice for the class of 2017. Telling our most recent graduates, “Bet on yourself. You're the only one that knows what you want to do, and if you take time to learn what that is -- go get it! It won't be easy, but if you believe in yourself, whatever you end up achieving will be worth it.”

We can’t wait to celebrate with these two young alumni emcees and the class of 2017 at Commencement Brunch and we hope you’ll be there too.

The President’s Commencement Brunch
Saturday, June 10, 2017 | 10:00 a.m.
Seattle Sheraton Hotel

If you are a graduating student, you can get tickets for Commencement Brunch here.

Not a graduate but still want to attend? We are looking for alumni table hosts to help us welcome our newest alumni. Email Katelyn Mendoza (mendozak@seattleu.edu) to learn more about volunteer opportunities at Commencement Brunch.

Alumni Spotlight: Alexandra “Ally” Kennedy

Posted by Caitlin Joyce, '11, '18 on May 4, 2017 at 11:05 AM PDT

 

 

In honor of Mother’s Day, we are highlighting an alumna who is a mother of five, a business owner, lawyer and our 2017 Outstanding Recent Alumna award winner, Alexandra “Ally” Kennedy, ’08 JD. Ally is known professionally for her role as an immigration attorney, but to women around the country, she is known as the founder of AMIGA, a national network supporting immigration attorneys who balance the roles of both business owner and mother.

A 2008 graduate of Seattle University’s School of Law, Ally is the founding partner of Alexandra Kennedy Immigration Law, PLLC. The firm’s goal is to keep families together through the use of the U.S. immigration system. In her practice, she helps victims of violence and domestic violence seek immigration relief and defends clients in immigration court who are facing deportation. “Being a lawyer is more than a job,” she says. “It is a calling.”

For Ally, an interest in law started at age 16 following a mission trip to Belize and Guatemala where she was exposed to real poverty for the first time.

“I decided I would do everything I could to fight for equality and give a voice to the voiceless,” she says. “Fortunately, I have been able to find a way to do this by defending undocumented immigrants in the United States.”

Her passion for immigration justice is only matched by her passion for being a mother. In 2015, Ally founded the national organization AMIGA Lawyers—also known as the Association of Mother Immigration Attorneys—designed to help mothers who are attorneys who needed support while “doing it all.”

AMIGA is comprised of immigration attorneys and mothers throughout the country. These women are business owners, lawyers, partners and mothers. Of Amiga, Ally said, “The women play a lot of different roles. We provide support for each other in a meaningful way. For me, it was hard to navigate this path of being a lawyer, a mother and a business owner. I needed a community and couldn’t find one–so I created my own.”

Ally created a virtual community where AMIGA members can discuss all areas of their lives, from the best brand of diapers to the best legal strategies. They provide support, uplift and empower one another. Her Whole-istic Approach to the practice of law is a way for women to practice law that integrates their whole selves.

Each week, Ally blogs about how to build better businesses, create winning cases and live balanced lives. She hosts monthly webinars and travels throughout the country to speak on these topics. In June 2016 she hosted the first conference for women immigration attorneys, called Women, Power and Money, and in February 2017 she hosted a women-only legal conference called Amiga Business Bootcamp.

In 2016, Ally was awarded the national Sam Williamson Mentor Award by the American Immigration Lawyers Association for her work with AMIGA—the youngest recipient ever.

Ally is being honored, along with our five other winners, at the 32nd Annual Alumni Awards on May 5.

 

 

Red Tie Celebration

Posted by Sarah Finney, SU Athletics on May 3, 2017 at 11:05 AM PDT

 

On June 3, 2017, two of the finest tennis players in Seattle University history - Thomas Gorman, ’68 and Janet Hopps-Adkisson, ’56 will be honored at Seattle University Athletics’ Fifth Annual Red Tie Celebration.

     

The duo join an elite group of honorees, which includes Jim Whittaker, ’60 (2013); Elgin Baylor, ’58 (2014); Eddie O’Brien, ’53 (2015); Johnny O’Brien, ’53 (2015); Pat Lesser Harbottle, ’56 (2016) and Orrin Vincent, ’67 (2016).

The Red Tie Celebration, an annual dinner, and auction, benefits Seattle University’s 300+ student-athletes and programs of Seattle U athletics. A special presentation will take place to honor Gorman and Hopps-Adkisson, two legends of Seattle University.

The roots of Gorman’s successful tennis career were planted at Seattle U, where he led the team to

regional and national success from 1965-68. In 1967, he teamed with Steve Hopps, ‘56 to form the top doubles duo in the Northwest. The following season, he led Cliff Hedger’s crew to the NCAA Tournament, finishing eighth in the country. He finished his collegiate career as a two-time All-American.

Following graduation, Gorman went on to play professional tennis, winning seven singles titles and nine doubles titles.  He reached the semifinals of Wimbledon in 1971 and the U.S. Open in 1973 and was also part of the U.S. team that won the 1972 Davis Cup. As the coach, he led the U.S. Davis Cup team to victory in 1990 and 1992.

In addition to the U.S. Davis Cup, Gorman also coached the Men’s U.S. Olympic tennis teams in Seoul (1988) and Barcelona (1992). Gorman is a member of the NCAA Tennis Hall of Fame, the State of Washington Sports Hall of Fame and the Seattle University Athletics Hall of Fame.

There was no women’s tennis team in the 1950s, but that did not stop Hopps-Adkisson from landing not only a berth on the men’s tennis team, but becoming the No. 1 player on the team throughout her career. For postseason play, she competed in the Women’s All-Collegiate Tennis Tournament, the precursor to the NCAA Tournament. She won the singles title three times and the doubles title twice. 

Upon graduation, Hopps-Adkisson achieved a national ranking of No. 5 in singles in 1958 and a No. 1 doubles ranking in 1960. She held five national titles clay court doubles in 1956, indoor singles, doubles and mixed doubles in 1961 and national hardcourt doubles in 1962. She returned to Seattle U to coach both the men’s and women’s teams for 10 years, and was named NAIA Coach of the Year five times. 

Hopps-Adkisson is a member of the Seattle University Athletics Hall of Fame, the Northwest Sports Foundation Hall of Fame, the State of Washington Sports Hall of Fame and the Women’s Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame.

For those interested in attending this year’s Red Tie Celebration, limited seating is still available. Please contact Judy Yu at yuju@seattleu.edu for more information.

A new addition to the event this year is a pre-event online auction that will run from May 10-20. As the auction nears, more information will be available at goseattleu.com.

Class of 1977 Spotlight: Anna Murphy

Posted by Caitlin Joyce, '11, '18 on April 5, 2017 at 3:04 PM PDT

 

Anna Murphy, ’77, grew up in Hawaii with a desire to study nursing on the mainland. Seattle U’s standing as one of the top 10 nursing programs in the country was all the incentive she needed to pack up and head to the Emerald City.

Seattle U’s Jesuit influence was evident in the nursing program. “SU made me more aware of the needs of the individual person and I learned a lot about leadership and thinking outside the box,” Anna shared. 

These lessons would prove to be strong building blocks for the next chapter of Anna’s life in the military. With her wanderlust unsatisfied, Anna joined the Air Force. “I wanted to see the world and I was someone who liked order and wearing a uniform. I thought it would be a good fit.”

Anna’s military career enabled her to see the country and live in Japan. She began as an Air Force pediatric nurse and moved through the ranks becoming a nurse executive at Travis Air Force Base.

Despite a successful and rewarding career in the military, a desire for more stability for her three daughters led Anna to retire to Spokane.  Continuing on the Jesuit path, her daughters attended Gonzaga Prep.

After working as a home health nurse, Anna eventually took a job with the local Jesuit infirmary. In her new role, she served as nurse to retired Jesuits from across the Pacific Northwest – including Jesuits from Seattle U.

When we asked Anna what she found most meaningful about her job, she said, “I think it’s the fact that 99.9% of the Jesuits are so humble and appreciate all we do for them. The Jesuit infirmary is considered a private community and so it’s not like working at a nursing home. We are free to do what we can to make their last years as pleasant as possible. Joining the Jesuit Infirmary was like coming home again. The values instilled at SU emphasized being kind and social justice. The Jesuits felt like old friends who would reminisce about the old days at Seattle U.”

Despite living and working in Spokane, Anna has stayed connected to Seattle U, returning to attend class reunions. This year, Anna has taken it one step further and joined the Class of 1977 reunion committee, helping to plan the festivities for Grand Reunion Weekend May 5-7.

Anna invites her clinical and 1977 classmates to return to Seattle U. “I have always wanted to catch up. Let’s get together and find out what’s going on in our lives. What’s your family life like? Let’s see how the college has grown. It’s expanded so much. Let’s see how far we’ve come since the 70’s.”

 

National Poetry Month

Posted by Caitlin Joyce, '11, '18 on April 5, 2017 at 3:04 PM PDT

In honor of National Poetry month, we are featuring poetry from Seattle U professors, alumni and students.  Featured poets include: Karyna McGlynn,’05, Abby Murray, ‘05, Dylan Gnatz, ’17, Sharon Cumberland and Sean McDowell. Read the work of our talented poets below.

THE AFTERLIFE OF MY LOST BLAZERS

Karyna McGlynn, '05

And then the Devil will bring me to a basement
where we will be reunited: me and my blazers.
Hundreds upon hundreds of them, on hangers,
or hillocks I must eternally rifle through:
the blind worms inching down the wales
of the corduroy, my soul turning out
all the pockets. I must piece this together:
this project the worms must undo, pressing
their wet mouths into elbow patches, under-
mining the plaid and mothing the wool.
My soul tries to try on the jean jackets.
The shoulders don’t fit because I have
no shoulders. Is this the Hell of being
immaterial on a mountain of material?
In life I mourned the loss of my blazers,
left on the backs of chairs, in the backs of taxis.
In the afterlife they fall right through me.
Sometimes little things fall out: knotted
cherry stems, cough-drop wrappers, eighty-three
cents, a gas receipt, and once, a matchbook
with something scribbled inside: “Karyna,
you wasted so much of my time. Burn this.”

From her upcoming book, Hothouse.

 

Poem for My Daughter before the March

Abby E. Murray, '05

When your father says
he doesn’t want me to march
what he really means is
he doesn’t want you to march.
He doesn’t want me to march
because you will follow.
He doesn’t want you to march
by default, on my shoulders,
because you might follow
the songs of women
by default, on my shoulders,
raised on bread and justice.
Daughter, the songs of women
are the first words of children
raised on bread and justice.
Blessed are the ones who sing
the first words of children:
this is how I love you.
Blessed are the ones who say
they follow songs into the street.

Published by Rattle, 19 January 2017

 

Consumer Reports

Dylan Gnatz, '17

I hear quite often
That God is dead
And perhaps they’re right
That we’ve been abandoned
But if I were to venture to guess
Where I came from
I might picture a factory
Somewhere amongst the cornfields
Of the Midwest
Long gone now
That once pumped toxins out
Across the horizon
To the affirming sighs
Of the townsfolk
Humor my delusions
That I was tossed together
A leg, a ring finger
An arm, a torso, an abdomen
Kidneys and intestines
Stuffed in haphazardly
Liver and esophagus
Lungs and Thyroid
And weblike capillaries
With clockwork efficiency
And then a head
Threaded on tight
Due to previous recalls
And class action lawsuits
No way in hell
It’ll pop off this time
And to this day
It remains locked on tight
Suffocatingly at times
It’s out of our hands
(my hands) now
Let Taiwan handle it

Published by Seattle University’s Fragments

 

Sea of Lilacs

Sharon Cumberland

I saw a sea of lilacs
with a school of black bees
swimming from bloom to bloom
black with yellow noses
like clownfish
humming through purple waves
a forest of thin stalks
waved beneath them
in breezy currents.
What kind of creature
would I have to be
to glide into those green stems
with a flick?
Something clothed
in its own form
as are lilacs,
like a bee.

From her upcoming book, “Strange with Age

 

Look Towards the Mountain
after Du Fu

Sean H. McDowell

T’ai-shan, what is it like?
From all directions, green without end.
The cosmos distilled its spirit here.
Dark slope and light cleave night and dawn.
My heaving chest spouts layered clouds,
My straining eyes fill with returning birds.
I must reach this summit to see
At once all mountains made small.

Feb. 11 Immigration Summit: Catholics Called to Accompaniment

Posted by Emily Holt on March 1, 2017 at 10:03 AM PST

When Joe Cotton of the Archdiocese of Seattle and Chris Koehler of St. James Immigrant Assistance came to the Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture in early November, envisioning a day for Catholic parishioners, activists, service providers and volunteers to gather and discuss the needs of migrants, immigrants and refugees locally and globally, they had no sense that come February, Seattle University would be packed with over 160 Catholic social workers, lawyers, activists and community organizers.

On February 11, 2017, after weeks of nation-wide protests, hurried executive orders on immigration and an unjust travel ban, over 160 Catholics, from across the Puget Sound to Vancouver, Canada, gathered for a day of reflection, community and planning. The day left students Claire Rawson and Claire Lucas re-imagining parish life beyond the university.

“My definition of what it means to be an active parishioner was expanded,” said Lucas, a sophomore studying psychology and theology and religious studies. “I left with a greater sense of hope and less isolation.”

The day opened with a keynote address from Seattle U’s Amelia Derr—assistant professor of social work, and consultant for the City of Seattle’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs and Office for Civil Rights. She urged participants to move from a model of charity to one of solidarity.

Lucas and Rawson both noted that the quality of conversation among participants was different than what they normally experience at SU. In the classroom, conversations about immigration, migration and the refugee crisis can, for many, seem abstract.

“They [the participants] were responding to the immediate needs of parish life,” Lucas noted.

”I was humbled to hear people’s experience,” said Rawson, a senior social work major, highlighting the breadth and depth of engagement, from community organizers working with the undocumented to parishioners who hosted refugee families in the 1980s and are considering doing so again.

A sense of hospitality and care for our neighbors was the theme of the day.

In the afternoon, Patty Bowman, executive director of the Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center, reminded us that care for migrants, immigrants and refugees is rooted in the gospel, in church teaching and practice and in Catholic social teaching.

The day concluded with a commissioning mass in the Chapel of St. Ignatius with Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration.

For Lucas, the need for hospitality and humility which Bishop Elizondo emphasized in his homily goes to the heart of what the Immigration Summit meant for her:

“SU feels like home when I can welcome people here.”

To learn more about future opportunities like the March 16 Catholic Advocacy Day or the Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture’s (ICTC) May 8 Catholic Heritage Lecture, Daring Forth: Imagining the Future of Jesuit Education, with Mark Ravizza, SJ., visit the ICTC website.