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Answer Me This

Q: What used to be in the nooks that can be seen in the Bannan stairwell?

August 18, 2014

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: 

"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.

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

July 14, 2014

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."

Q: What is a "gonfalon" and what does it have to do with SU's commencement?

June 3, 2014

Gaga for gonfalons

Q:  What is a "gonfalon" and what does it have to do with SU's commencement?

A:  This year for the first time, Seattle University's commencement ceremonies will feature gonfalons for each of the eight schools similar to this mock-up (left). Described by Wikipedia as a "heraldic flag or banner," a gonfalon is used for processions and ceremonies. 

A gonfalon typically hangs from a crossbar connected to a post that's anchored in a weighty base. Gonfalons often include a decorative feature at the top, such as a spear-like figure. This is called a...wait for it..."finial." 

So when the person sitting next to you at commencement remarks, "My, what a handsome finial that is atop the gonfalon!" you can respond with a knowing smile. And then you might counter with a clever remark about SU's ceremonial mace. But that's an entirely different story

(A big thanks to Terry Lundmark, senior graphic designer in Marketing Communications, for helping to unlock the mysterious world of gonfalons.)

Q: How are the recipients of the Exemplary Staff Awards chosen?

May 21, 2014

Staff awards

Q:  How are the recipients of the Exemplary Staff Awards chosen?

A:  The selection process for SU's Exemplary Staff Awards (Excellence in Leadership Staff Award and Lee Thurber Outstanding Staff Award) starts in early spring with a university-wide call for nominations. Nominations are submitted to Helaina Sorey, chair of the Awards Committee. The chair selects committee members, which include at least two previous award recipients (see roster below). Over the course their meetings-typically four-committee members consider the nominated staff members. Final decisions are made through committee consensus. Once the selections have been finalized, the chair notifies President Stephen Sundborg, S.J., Executive Vice President Tim Leary and the cabinet members who oversee the areas in which the awardees work. Father Sundborg then delivers the good news to each recipient in a surprise visit to his or her office.

2014 Annual Staff Award Selection Committee Members

Helaina Sorey, Human Resources (Award Committee Chair)
Heidi Krispin, Enrollment Services
Keisa Liu, University Advancement
Natch Ohno, S.J., Student Development
Joe Orlando, Jesuit Identity (Leadership Award Recipient 2005)
Diana Singleton, School of Law (Leadership Award Recipient 2012)
Michael Smith, College of Science and Engineering (Lee Thurber Award Recipient '08)
Jacob Wild, Conference and Event Services
Rhonda Woods, College of Arts and Sciences

Q: What are the best places on campus for bird watching?

May 5, 2014

Bird watching

Q:  What are the best places on campus for bird watching? 

A:  There are many good vantage points from which to observe our feathered friends. Janice Murphy, integrated pest management coordinator in Grounds, suggests the deck over the Union Green, the backyards of Loyola Hall and the Admin Building and the Ethnobotanical Garden. Visit Bird Haven for lots of information on the birds on campus. 

(Photo by Chris Kalinko)

Q: Will I be able to use my Orca card to ride the First Hill Streetcar?

April 23, 2014

First Hill Streetcar

Q:  Will I be able to use my Orca card to ride the First Hill Streetcar?

A:  Yes! This is one of the many frequently asked questions to which you can find answers on the First Hill Streetcar's website. Like when the streetcar will be completed, where exactly will it run and how's it being funded. You'll also find videos that simulate the routes and, of course, continued updates on impacts to motorists, cyclists and pedestrians as the project heads into the final stretch.

Q: Which of our colleagues won the raffle for participating in the LiVE program?

April 8, 2014

LiVE Seattle University

Q:   Which of our colleagues won the raffle for participating in the LiVE program?

A:   LiVE Seattle University is a wellness program that allows faculty and staff to earn rewards as they adopt healthy lifestyles. 

  • 1,000 points qualifies you for the lowest available price on medical insurance
  • 1,500 enters you into a year-end raffle for a $750 REI gift card
  • 2,000 gets you recognized as a member of the Wellness Achievement Circle 

The two winners of the $750 REI gift cards based on their 2013 points totals are Bridget Walker, associate professor in the College of Education, and Terry Lundmark, senior graphic designer in Marketing Communications. 

"I had started using the (LiVE) system last year in an inconsistent manner," says Walker, left. "But then I had surgery early last summer and as part of my recovery set some goals for myself to get back in shape and active again. I started charting and tracking my activity and related events, and the points just added up." 

Walker used part of the REI gift card to purchase some new hiking boots, socks and a day pack in advance of a trip that she and her husband took to Zion National Park in Utah over spring break. 

"I found that the charting aspect of the program was useful and motivating, especially as I got a more systematic approach to exercise into my life again," says Walker. "Silly as it sounds I guess I enjoyed the smiley faces when I would meet my goals. The prompts for some other activities, such as connecting with a friend, cooking a slow food meal etc. were good reminders for me. I didn't need to compare or compete with anyone else, but the graphs and charts of my own progress were helpful to me. I also found the well-being assessment interesting and a source of reflection." 

TerryLundmark_85Lundmark, right, says it was the prospect of a reduced health premium that motivated her to participate in LiVE. And the program seemed to fit her lifestyle. "I'm generally a healthy person, so racking up the points-like getting a check-up is worth tons of points!-wasn't all that difficult. You just have to be diligent about it." 

She and her husband also plan to use the gift card for hiking gear-"Although we may need to replace our tent in another year or so, so we may hang on to it for that." 

Visit LiVE Seattle University to enroll in the program.

Q: How are SU faculty, staff and students involved with Middle College High School?

March 25, 2014

Middle College High School at SU

Q:   How are SU faculty, staff and students involved with Middle College High School? 

A: Middle College High School, a Seattle Public School in collaboration with Seattle University, celebrated its first anniversary in Loyola Hall this winter. 

Many SU schools and programs are partnering with Middle College High School (MCHS) to help get the students ready for college and deepen their learning experience. Here are some examples: 

- Erica Yamamura, associate professor in the College of Education, developed a college pathways workshop series for MCHS students that included various college student panels, admissions information sessions, and residence and campus life presentations and tours.

- Working with Sally Haber, associate director in the Center for Service and Community Engagement, CSCE student leader Duron Jones developed a college access course tailored to the MCHS students. The students can earn credits toward their high school diploma and prepare for post-secondary education simultaneously.

- Faculty members have developed and delivered coursework for the high school students, including Professor Margit McGuire, Associate Professor Amy Eva, Associate Professor Mark Roddy and Instructor Bethany Plett, all of the College of Education; and School of Law faculty Professor Margaret Fisher and Access to Justice Institute Assistant Director Patricia Sully, and students Colleen Pe Benito, Kate Shipman, Kendra Hansen and Tina Ho.

Q: What is the purpose of the trellis-like structure on the second floor of the Student Center?

March 6, 2014

"Its own little room"

Q: What is the purpose of the trellis-like structure on the second floor of the Student Center outside of Cherry Street Market? 

A: First of all, a big thank you to Elia Grenier, senior administrative assistant in the Office of University Planning for the question. For the answer, we turned to Sari Graven, director of design and planning in Facilities Services. Graven writes: 

"One of the issues that consistently comes up about the student center is its non-human scale. The rooms are large, hard surfaced boxes that don't feel very inviting. It does not feel comfortable, it is not very hospitable and feels cold. There are many ways to increase the perceived comfort of a space, mostly related to renovations of ceilings, lighting, and (these) can be costly. 

"The 'trellis' presents a way to bring the scale of this enormous barn-like space into a more human scale. The canopy in conjunction with the stool-height table becomes its own little room, providing a sense of protection, a cloister if you will from the larger space. 

"We placed this unit in the Student Center as an experiment to observe if people using the second floor would gravitate to this type of space or would they prefer to be out in the open at standard tables and chairs. I make a point of observing how the space is used whenever I am in the Student Center. I have noticed it is always occupied during the lunch service. Not a scientific study, but interesting." 

Graven is interested in feedback from students, faculty and staff who use the space. You can contact her at gravens@seattleu.edu.

Q: How much money did SU's students raise at the 2014 Dance Marathon?

February 26, 2014

Dancing with Purpose

Q: How much money did SU's students raise at the 2014 Dance Marathon?

A: About 200 SU students participated in the 2014 Dance Marathon. The event began at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 22, and came to a close at 2 a.m. on Sunday. The dancers had set out to raise $50,000, $8,000 more than last year's record-setting total. When the music stopped, nearly $60,000 was raised, making it not only the most successful in SU history but the largest dance marathon in the west, according to Children's Miracle Network.

One hundred percent of the proceeds go to Seattle Children's Hospital to be used for families who otherwise could not afford the critical care their kids need. "We believe that no family should feel alone in their fight against a pediatric illness, and no child should be kept from the medical care they need to live a fulfilled life because of money," the group's mission statement reads, in part.

The dancers were entertained by DJ and the Ramblin' Years band. They heard touching stories from Seattle Children's Hospital families and were visited by Seattle Mayor Ed Murray.

In just seven years, the SU Dance Marathon has brought in more than $200,000 for Children's Hospital. For more information, visit Dance Marathon.

Q: What's new with the Help Desk?

February 11, 2014

Help Desk

Q:  What's new with SU's Help Desk?

A:  Lots. The SU Help Desk is undergoing many significant improvements this quarter. It began with the launch of on-site phone and e-mail services on Jan. 2. A further enhancement will literally arrive on the scene Feb. 24 with a new walk-up service available in Engineering 302.

“Whether you call, e-mail, or visit us in the Engineering Building, you will work with a knowledgeable Help Desk technician trained to provide helpful assistance and relevant tech advice,” says Lori Potter, Help Desk manager.

Pictured here, the Help Desk team can assist with issues such as unlocking or resetting your SU account; configuring your mobile device for SU_secure; reprinting your campus card; and providing 10-15 minutes of tech consulting services.

Q: One reader asked this a few weeks back--Why is the entrance on the south side of the Admin Building now locked during business hours?

January 28, 2014

Locking blind entrances

Q:  One reader asked this a few weeks back--Why is the entrance on the south side of the Admin Building now locked during business hours? 

A:  The door was locked over the summer because it is a "blind entrance," says Tim Marron, executive director of public safety and transportation. "Blind entrances," he explains, are those at which no one is stationed on the inside of the building to view who enters. 

The decision to lock the door was made in response to numerous safety concerns expressed by building staff over unaffiliated people entering the building and loitering in the hallway. (The north entrance has long been locked for this reason.) 

"We are an open campus in an area of Seattle that has significant crime rate," says Marron. "The safety of faculty, staff and students outweighed convenience, in this particular case." 

For more information on Campus Public Safety, including tools you can use to stay safe on campus, visit https://www.seattleu.edu/safety/.