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Answer Me This

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

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

Q: How do SU's librarians help provide round-the-clock assistance to students at SU and other Jesuit institutions?

January 14, 2014

AJCU library consortium

Q:  How do SU's librarians help provide round-the-clock assistance to students at SU and other Jesuit institutions?

A:  Seattle University's librarians are part of an Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) consortium that provides a 24/7 virtual reference service for students at 18 participating schools. In addition to the in-person and online service they provide to SU students, our librarians devote six hours a week (one hour each) to answering any reference questions that might come up from students at other institutions. Which means that whatever time of day (or ungodly hour of night), our students and faculty and thousands of their counterparts at Jesuit sister schools never go wanting for the reference help they need.

"In one shift I might help a Fordham student find out if a book they want is at their library or help a faculty member at Boston College determine if their library has full-text access to a 1982 article published in the Chaucer Review," explains Lynn Deeken, instruction and assessment coordinator in the Lemieux Library and McGoldrick Learning Commons. "And if I can't answer their question, I get them connected to the local resource that will be able to best help them."

For the overnight and busy times, Deeken adds, the AJCU consortium provides a third level of back-up service with a group of librarians ready to help our students.

The virtual reference coordinators meet once a year to compare notes, identify best practices and enhance the system. SU hosted this year's gathering, which included 14 coordinators (pictured left)-two of whom, appropriately enough, attended virtually.

The schools participating in the consortium are: Boston College, University of Detroit Mercy, Fordham University, Gonzaga University, College of the Holy Cross, Le Moyne College, Loyola University Chicago, Loyola Marymount University, Loyola University New Orleans, Loyola Notre Dame, Regis University, Rockhurst University, Santa Clara University, University of Scranton, Seattle University, Spring Hill College, Saint Joseph's University and University of San Francisco.


Q: What's the latest on SU's branding initiative?

December 10, 2013

The SU brand

Q:   What's the latest on SU's branding initiative?

A:  A large crowd of faculty, staff and students gathered in Campion Ballroom on Dec. 4 for a community briefing on Seattle University's new brand strategy and concept.

President Stephen Sundborg, S.J., and Vice President for Communications Scott McClellan kicked off the briefing by providing context. Father Sundborg said the initiative was important for enrolling new students, supporting the upcoming capital campaign, galvanizing the university's alumni and truly being perceived as Seattle's university. "This is the right time for us to be doing this," he said.

McClellan said the initiative was intended to "awaken the sleeping giant that is Seattle University. We have a great story to tell. We all want more people to hear it." He added that the development of the brand was "a very data-driven process," involving numerous focus groups with students, faculty, staff, alumni and supporters, as well as phone surveys with more than 700 prospective undergraduate and graduate students.

From there, 160over90, the agency with which SU is partnering on the initiative, took over and shared the findings from what they call the "discovery" phase. While their research yielded a storehouse of valuable information, the agency used their limited time at the briefing to focus on the most important takeaways. For instance, the findings affirmed that many of SU's core attributes-such as its commitment to social justice, diversity, inclusiveness, creativity, and forward-thinking education-are the same qualities being sought by a significant population of prospective students.

Also identified in the research were some significant gaps between how SU is perceived internally by those of us who know the university well and externally by those outside the university. The gaps are particularly pronounced when it comes to familiarity with the high quality of SU's academic programs.

Other findings showed that while SU's students are receiving the kind of academic experience that is expected from the Jesuit educational experience, externally speaking, there is a lack of awareness on the meaning and impact of Jesuit education.

In the agency's view, these and other findings suggest that the university has a chance to make a really strong first impression with many new populations, including prospective students as well as potential community partners and donors. They presented the following as key opportunities for SU: capitalize on our strength as a forward-looking university and our location in an urban hub; bring more awareness to our rigorous academic program; differentiate ourselves as a Jesuit university; and own Seattle.

After presenting the research, 160over90 walked the attendees through the brand strategy and concept, making it clear that "proofs of concept" they shared were sample ideas of how the new approach could look in practice, and that specific executions had yet to be developed. The real executions will be prioritized and developed over time as the initiative now moves into the "build" phase.

The conceptual ideas presented included samples of print collateral such as view books for prospective undergraduates; marketing materials for graduate students; digital content targeted to students, alumni and potential donors; outdoor signs; and even some apparel. They provided a number of intriguing options for highlighting the university's commitment to social justice, as well as the Youth Initiative, and for better engaging the university's graduates.

During the Q&A segment, campus community members responded positively to the brand concept with some faculty, staff and students sharing ideas to consider as it is implemented.

McClellan said the feedback will help inform the executions, and that the Brand Leadership Group looked forward to the continued participation of students, faculty and staff as the initiative moves forward. He also underscored that the strategy and concept are just the beginning of what will be a multi-year effort expected to include, among other facets, an ongoing visibility campaign.

The next steps in the immediate future include establishing brand guidelines in addition to beginning to develop priority executions. Brand camps are being planned for winter quarter so that the faculty, staff and students who will be most directly involved with SU's brand can immerse themselves in the guidelines and strategies in order to help carry the effort forward.

Q: What's the story on the new greenhouse at 1313 E. Columbia? 

November 19, 2013

SU Greenhouse

Q:  What's the story on the new greenhouse at 1313 E. Columbia?

A:  The structure replaces the old greenhouse, which was located on top of the Bannan Building, explains Grounds Manager Shannon Britton. Most intriguing about the new 450-square-foot structure is that it will serve both academic and operations needs for the university, with the space being shared by Grounds and Biology. The greenhouse, which was dedicated on Nov. 18, is particularly valuable for Michael Zanis, a newly arrived plant pathologist in biology, as he and his students will be able to conduct experiments as part of their plant physiology and taxonomy courses. Some of the research will concern the environmental impacts on plants. As for Grounds, they will use the space for starting and maintaining campus plant collections as well as testing out new species for growing in our climate. "Grounds and Biology look forward to sharing the space and learning from each other through interaction and possible combined projects," said Britton.

Q: What do I need to do for Open Enrollment?

November 6, 2013

Open Enrollment

 Q:  What do I need to do for Open Enrollment?

 A:  Open Enrollment for your 2014 benefits program is underway and will continue through Friday, Nov. 15. With significant adjustments made to healthcare benefits in recent years, it's important to carefully study all of your options and select the best insurance coverage for yourself and your family.

Here are some recommendations from Human Resources: 

  • Review your options by reading through all the communications you've received on open enrollment.
  • Consider your needs for the upcoming year. Take a look at your claims from previous year and anticipate any future needs.
  • Choose a health plan that is right for you.
  • Decide whether to enroll or reenroll in a flexible spending account (FSA) and how much to contribute.  Health Savings Account participants receive tax benefits through that plan and are able to also enroll in a healthcare FSA.
  • Complete your enrollment form and return it to Human Resources by Nov. 15.

Q: What is the new name of the community room in the Admissions & Alumni Building? 

October 21, 2013

Community Room 

Q:  What is the new name of the community room in the Admissions & Alumni Building? 

A:  The community room in the A&A Building is now named the Stuart T. Rolfe Community Room. Pictured here with SU President Stephen Sundborg, S.J., Rolfe is a 1978 graduate of Seattle University School of Law and a member of the board of trustees. The Rolfe Room was recently dedicated in gratitude for his generosity and service to the university. 

Photo by Nicole Baum, ZipZip Studio