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Answer Me This

Q: Is there anything notable about the food we ate and the flowers we enjoyed at the Faculty and Staff Appreciation party?

May 17, 2011

Food and flowers at Appreciation Party

Q:  Is there anything notable about the food we ate and flowers we enjoyed at the Faculty and Staff Appreciation party? 

A:  Yes. As was true last year, Bon Appétit served a menu of low-carbon items, and the flowers you saw at the event were collected from our campus by the grounds department and arranged by volunteers. 

Q: How can I lessen my impact on the Earth?

April 18, 2011

Five ways to be more green

Q:  How can I lessen my impact on the Earth? 

A:   As we prepare to celebrate Earth Day on April 22, Karen Price, campus sustainability manager, offers these five ideas for treading more lightly on our planet. 

1. Wipe wet hands dry on your pants, skirt or run them through your hair instead of debating if paper towels or air dryers are better. The next time you dry your hands on a paper towel and throw it in the trash think about the greenhouse gases that were created in the oil used to power equipment to harvest and transport trees to a mill, mill the trees, transport the paper towels to the dispenser, then transport them to a landfill. Feel guilty? Air dryers are not the answer because of the oil used for material extraction, fabrication and transportation. I have dried my hands by running them through my hair for about nine years and don’t miss the paper towel experience. I’m even teaching my one-and-a-half year old to wipe her hands on her skirt. 

2. Just stop drinking packaged beveragesthey’re bad for your health and the environment. Do you recycle the metal, plastic or glass container your beverage came in and feel like you are doing a good thing? Stop and think about the oil that was used by equipment for material extraction, to heat and melt it to form the container; the gas to ship the container to the beverage company, the distributer, the retailer, to your home, then to the recycling plant. Just because the Food and Drug Administration considers packaged beverages a food doesn’t mean that your body’s cells will thrive on sugar, corn syrup and chemicals. Bottled juice without the fruit’s fiber from its peel, for example apple and blueberry, spikes your blood sugar which contributes to diabetes and obesity. I will never give my child bottled beverages; she loves water and smoothies.   

3. Eat a lot less meat and dairyit’ll improve your health and the planet’s. Eating meat produces more greenhouse gas emissions than driving your car was in the news several years ago after a couple scientific reports were published. For example, the Environmental Defense Fund  writes on their web site, “If every American had one meat-free meal per week, it would be the same as taking more than 5 million cars off our roads.” Are you still eating the same amount of animal products? Beans and tofu have protein AND fiber, only small amounts of fat and no cholesterol. Quinoa has the highest protein content of any grain and Bon Appétit serves it at their salad bar. Read the New York Times Rethinking the Meat-Guzzler for more background information on the impacts of livestock to our planet’s health. 

4. Before you buy something new, evaluate if you really need it—and if you do, buy used.  For example, my dentist recommended I buy a Sonicare tooth brush. I saw several new-in-the-box listed on Craigslist for half the $100-200 price.  Then I looked at my husband’s Sonicare and saw that I could remove his brush head and twist on another brush head in five seconds. So I decided to share my husband’s Sonicare instead of buying used. I saved myself $50-100. I saved the planet from the environmental stress of material extraction and transportation and the hazardous materials in the battery. The book, Your Money or Your Life, explains how you can get more happiness out of life by spending less, saving more, and thinking about earning and spending money as expending your energy for something of value. 

5. Learn about the health risks to you, your family and the environment from the consumer products you use daily. Do not expect the government to protect you—you have to become an informed consumer. The Environmental Working Group is a non-profit team of scientists, engineers, policy experts and lawyers that pores over government data, legal documents, scientific studies and their own laboratory tests to expose threats to your health and the environment. Their research brings to light unsettling facts that you have a right to know. Go to ewg.org to find how the most and least toxic sunscreens, learn why you should get rid of your Teflon pans, download the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, compare the radiation in cell phones, and so much more. 

Q: What is the process for selecting Alumni Award recipients?

April 5, 2011

Choosing Alumni Awards recipients

Q:  What is the process for selecting Alumni Award recipients? 

A:  Every year in fall quarter Alumni Relations puts out an invitation, far and wide, asking alumni, faculty and staff to submit nominations in six categories. A subcommittee of the Alumni Board of Governors then votes on the nominees and sends their recommendations to the president and vice president for University Advancement, who give final approval to the awardees.

The following individuals were honored at the 26th Annual Alumni Awards celebration on April 5.

Alumna of the Year:  Betty Petri Hedreen, ’57
University Service Award:  Anita Crawford-Willis, ’82, ’86
Professional Achievement Award:  William Marler, ’87
Community Service Award:  Ezra Teshome, ’76
Distinguished Teaching, Toni Vezeau, College of Nursing
Outstanding Recent Alumnus: Ryan Schmid, ’07

Q: Can I get my taxes done for free?

March 21, 2011

Free tax prep

Q:  Can I get my taxes done for free?

A:  If your household income is $50,000 or less, the answer is yes. This year, the accounting department in the Albers School of Business and Economics is working with the United Way of King County to provide free tax help at the Yesler Community Center (917 E. Yesler Way). The service is available now through April 16*. SU accounting students are working at the site on Saturdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., and tax preparation is also available on Thursdays, 5-9 p.m. For more information, visit Free Tax Preparation

* Please note that the Internal Revenue Service has extended the deadline for filing taxes to Monday, April 18. 

 

Q: What is the oldest tree on campus?

March 7, 2011

Oldest tree

Q:  What is the oldest tree on campus?

A:  While its precise age is not known, The Commons has it on good authority that the Enkianthus campanulatus located on the east side of the Admin Building is SU's arboreal elder. Gardener Becki Koukal-Liebe says, “I took an informational campus walk with (SU’s longtime head of Grounds) Ciscoe Morris, and he said the tree had been moved from People’s Park by (Fujitaro) Kubota and that it was the oldest tree on campus.”

Q: What is the official name of the atrium in the Pigott Building?

February 17, 2011

Refresher on the atrium in Pigott

Q:  What is the official name of the atrium in the Pigott Building? 

A:  Many refer to this expansive space as “Pigott Atrium,” but that would be incorrect. The name that should always be used is “PACCAR Atrium.” For the record, the company for which the atrium is named should be written as “PACCAR Inc”. The PACCAR Atrium, of course, is home to the Bottom Line café, comfortable furniture and the stunning Chihuly glass sculpture, “Accendo.”

 

Q: What sort of assistance do SU faculty and staff have in buying a home?

February 7, 2011

Home buying help

Q:  What sort of assistance do SU faculty and staff have in buying a home? 

A:  HomeStreet offers SU employees some special home buying programs including education and discounted closing costs. For more information about this benefit program, visit Human Resources, where you'll find the information under “Compensation and Benefits/Other Privileges and Amenities” or contact HomeStreet Bank Affinity Lending Center (206) 628-0207.

Q: How many international students are enrolled at Seattle University, and what country has the most students represented at SU?

January 24, 2011

International students at SU

Q:  How many international students are enrolled at Seattle University, and what country has the most students represented at SU? 

A:  According to Ryan Greene, director of the International Student Center, a grand total of 543 international students hailing from 63 different countries are currently enrolled at SU. Countries with the most students represented at SU are:  

Indonesia (124 students) 
China (52) 
Vietnam (43) 
Taiwan (42) 
South Korea (34) 
Thailand (31) 
India (27) 
Hong Kong (25) 
Saudi Arabia (23) 
Japan (21) 
Canada (20) 

Countries with one student represented: Uzbekistan, Turkey, Rwanda, South Africa, Oman, New Zealand, Palestine, Morocco, Malawi, Kenya, Laos, Libya, Kazakhstan, Jordan, Iraq, Ethiopia, El Salvador, Egypt, Ecuador, Denmark, Cyprus, Belgium, Bangladesh, Azerbaijan and Argentina. 

Q: How many teams participated in last year’s Anne Carragher Fitness & Wellness Challenge and how did they do as a group?

January 8, 2011

Carragher Fitness & Wellness Challenge

Q:  How many teams participated in last year’s Anne Carragher Fitness & Wellness Challenge and how did they do as a group? 

A: Mileva Huljev of Recreational Sports, reports that last year 96 teams of four, totaling 388 staff, faculty and students, competed in the Anne Carragher Fitness & Wellness Challenge. “As always, the students were our biggest group with 45 teams followed closely by SU staff (36), and we were happy to see a dozen or so SU faculty involved too,” she writes. 

The way it works is participants earn points for doing a variety of healthy things. Last year's competitors collectively ate41,904 healthy meals, slept 97,776 hours (about 11 years) and drank 111,744 glasses of water.

Q: A Commons reader asked about what was going on at the south end of campus—is this part of some initiative to add better entry spaces to SU?

December 20, 2010

Enhancements for the south end of campus

Q:  Melisa of Career Services asked what was going on at the south end of campus—is this part of some initiative to add better entry spaces to SU?

A:  Why, yes, as a matter of fact it's just that and more. Sari Graven, director of program and resource development in Facilities, confirms that much work has been done recently to better identify the south end of campus, enhance way-finding and improve security. Included in the upgrade are three new security cameras, six new building signs, more landscaping and hardscaping, new portal gates, a new staircase leading from Chardin to the sidewalk that parallels Logan Field and a new campus map. Graven says the enhancements are intended to bring a “better sense of identity to the south end of campus and to improve the safety of our students and faculty."

Q: In keeping with SU's commitment to sustainability, how can I shop, decorate and otherwise celebrate in an ecologically friendly way this holiday season?

December 6, 2010

Celebrating the holidays in a green way

Q:  In keeping with SU's commitment to sustainability, how can I shop, decorate and otherwise celebrate in an ecologically friendly way this holiday season?

A: The Commons turned to Karen Price, campus sustainability manager, for ideas on greening up the holidays. If you’re looking for a distinctly SU option, here’s what she suggests:

“Give the gift of clean water to Haitians by giving your family and friends a Seattle U water bottle. Proceeds from each bottle goes to Seattle U’s Engineers Without Borders to buy a water treatment system for 8,000 Haitians. The steel bottle weighs only eight ounces and holds 27 ounces of water. Buy the bottle for only $9.99 at the Bookstore.  Do the people on your list  already have a reusable plastic water bottle?  Reusable plastic bottles with scratches or a cloudy, crackled appearance more readily leach chemicals into your water and then your body; scratches can also harbor bacteria.  Upgrade to a stylish and sustainable steel water bottle and give Haitians the gift of clean water.”

Price also recommends King County’s Green Holidays website. Included on the site are such tips as using energy-efficient LED lighting (and recycling your old lights); getting your tree from farms that use minimal pesticides and sustainable practices or considering a living tree; giving “experience” gifts; and using reused materials for wrapping paper and gift tags; and many, many more ideas for the green-minded.

Q: How many staff positions does SU fill with internal candidates?

November 24, 2010

Hiring from within

Q:  How many staff positions does SU fill with internal candidates?

A:  In 2010, more than one out of every four staff vacancies have been filled by internal applicants.

The following staff have recently been promoted: Sara Campbell (HR); Kerry Keller Ash (Finance); Lorena Toledo-Easty (ESOP); Rhonda Woods (A&S); Marc Parrish (Bookstore; and Sommar Harrison (Albers).