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Seattle University

Answer Me This

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

Q: What's new, shiny and now in every academic building and residence hall?

October 8, 2013

In with the new

Q:  What's new, shiny and now in every academic building and residence hall?

A:  The new metal food waste + compostables, recycling and trash bins. This means each building has at least one food waste + compostables bin inside in a public area. The bins replace the ugly, old, gray bins. Learn more here.


Q: What is Microsoft 365 and how is it relevant to Seattle University's students and alumni?

September 24, 2013

Microsoft 365 at SU

Q:  What is Microsoft 365 and how is it relevant to Seattle University's students and alumni? 

A:  Microsoft Office 365 is a secure, cloud-based service portal that hosts web versions of popular Microsoft applications, such as Exchange e-mail, Word and Excel. Seattle University has built a new custom Office 365 environment to host all SU student e-mail accounts, says Matt Byers, systems administrator in the Office of Information Technology. "Students and alumni will benefit from 50 GB e-mail quotas and lifetime access to their SU e-mail account," he says. "Active students (students enrolled in classes) will also have access to web-based versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint, and online data storage--all for free!" 

Alumni accounts are already migrating to Office 365, and active students will begin migrating later this quarter.

Q: Why is the School of Law on a semester system when SU's other schools and colleges are on quarters? 

September 10, 2013

Law school's academic calendar

 Q:  Why is the School of Law on a semester system when SU's other schools and colleges are on quarters?

 A:  While many of us on campus are clinging to the last few shreds of summer, our colleagues in the law school have been back at it for a few weeks having begun their fall semester in on Aug. 26. The School of Law, which was on a semester system when they were part of the University of Puget Sound, opted to maintain that academic calendar when Seattle University assumed sponsorship of the school in the mid-1990s. In fact, the majority of law schools in the country are on a semester system; only a handful are on quarters. One reason is that law students and professors benefit from having 14 weeks to cover the course work. The semester system also allows graduates of the law school two months to study for the state bar exams, which are held in late July.

Thanks to Matt Byers in the Office of Information Technology for posing this question, and to Leann Wagele in the law school for the answer. If you have a question for Answer Me This, please send it to

Q: How many air filters on SU's campus are changed out yearly?

August 13, 2013

Air filters

  Q:  How many air filters on SU's campus are changed out yearly?

 A:  Approximately 4,500 air filters are changed out every year by Yang Kim, HVAC technician in Facilities Services, and his crew in the mechanical shop.

To illustrate just how many filters we're talking about, the list of needed replacements is held up alongside the 6'9" former SU basketball player Louis Green, center, who appears here with fellow 2013 graduates Duffy Stein (left) and Charlie Douglas.

Most of the filters are replaced over the summer, spring and winter breaks. The 4,500 on this list don't include other filters (fuel, etc.) that are also replaced on a regular basis by Facilities staff.

Now that's the unfiltered truth!

 (Photo courtesy of Mike Mullen, Facilities Services)

Q: How much material was removed from the Engineering Building's rooftops to make way for the new roofing system?

July 15, 2013

Engineering Building

Q:  How much material was removed from the Engineering Building's rooftops to make way for the new roofing system?

A:  A little more than 70,000 pounds of rock/material were removed from the building's rooftops, which took about two days. "The building stands up taller now," said Kavik Frol, assistant project engineer of energy projects in Facilities Services. Frol said that the gravel roof system was very difficult to repair. The new roof, which is referred to as a Modified Bitumen system, will be much easier to maintain.