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Seattle University

Answer Me This

Q: Where can I get more information on decisions made by university leadership?

May 18, 2018

A new web page was launched this month to provide details on decisions made by the university's board of trustees. Click here to view a summary of the board's most recent meeting, which took place May 2-3.

Q: How is SU enhancing its staff family/medical leave benefits?

April 10, 2018

Following extensive community input and work by an advisory group, Seattle University is enhancing its staff family/medical leave benefits. Benefits-eligible staff may now be paid 100 percent of regular pay during a family or medical leave of absence, Vice President for Human Resources Michelle Clements, announced on April 10. 

Effective immediately, this means up to 12 weeks of pay regardless of how many days of sick leave or vacation a staff member may have accrued to cover a longer-term absence. 

The comprehensive enhancement was unanimously approved by the Cabinet and Board of Trustees. It provides broad coverage for those in need, including: 

  • Moms who need to take paid time off to care for themselves and their newborn; 
  • Non-birth moms and dads to allow them to take paid time off to bond with a new child who joins the family through natural birth, adoption or foster care,
  • Your own serious health condition or to be on hand to care for a recuperating spouse, partner, child or parent. 

In short, up to 12 weeks of paid leave will be available in a rolling 12-month period for any absence that qualifies as a family medical leave.

Q: Where can I go for a map of SU's notable trees?

April 9, 2018

Just in time for Arbor Day (April 27) and, even before that, Earth Day (April 22), Grounds and Landscaping have teamed up with the Center for Environmental Justice and Sustainability to create a wonderful new resource, “The Trees of Seattle University.” The brochure features a handy map of notable campus trees—a perfect companion for all you tree-huggers out there to embark on a self-guided tour.

Q: How can I celebrate Earth Day at SU?

April 4, 2018

April 22 is Earth Day! SU staff, faculty and students are invited to reflect on how we care for the earth and our communities, and to participate in one or more of the many events that are organized at Seattle University this month. Please find a list of events below. For more detailed event information, visit the 2018 Earth Month at SU page. 

Today until April 9: Interfaith Earth Day Video Contest 

Today until April 29: Sustainability Signage Competition at Res Halls

April 3-30: Earth Month at the Library

April 6: Work Party at the Vi Hilbert Ethnobotanical Garden (more information below)

April 9-29: SU’s 5th Annual EcoChallenge

April 11 and 13: Tour the “Trees of Seattle University

April 16-20: Bon Appétit loves it all: Leave no Leaf, Stem, Bone or Rind behind!

April 19: Interfaith Earth Day: Morning Fair and Speakers

April 19: Interfaith Earth Day: Evening Video Contest Showcase

April 27: Plant and Veggie Sale AND Compost Give-Away 

April 27: Evening Guest Lecture by Gary Machlis: “A Conversation on Conservation in America”

April (dates TBD): Work Parties with Food With Spirit!

Q: How can I learn more about SU’s new dining services provider?

March 2, 2018

As announced last month by CFO and Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Affairs Connie Kanter, Seattle University is transitioning to Chartwells for its food service. Chartwells, a sister company of Bon Appétit, SU’s current food service provider, takes over July 1. Click here for the particulars on this transition and what it means for the future of food service at Seattle U.

Q: How much blood did the SU community donate in 2017?

January 17, 2018

“In 2017, 350 Seattle U students, staff and faculty registered to donate blood at the blood drives on campus,” writes Kim Gitt, area manager for Puget Sound West, Bloodworks Northwest. “Of those (who registered), Bloodworks Northwest was able to collect 300 units of blood. Since each donation can help three patients in need, the Seattle U blood drives helped save the lives of up to 900 patients in our local community.” 

Each year, more than 55,000 patients need life-saving blood transfusions in hospitals in western Washington, says Gitt. “We are able to help these patients thanks to the caring and dedication of Seattle U donors!”

Visit Bloodworks Northwest for more information.

Q: How can I comment on SU's self-evaluation report for accreditation?

December 11, 2017

All students, staff, and faculty can access the Year Seven Self-Evaluation Report here on the Office of University Planning’s accreditation website. Please direct your comments and corrections to Sophia Sansone, accreditation and assessment manager, at no later than Jan. 11, 2018. 

Seattle University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). As an accredited institution of higher education, Seattle University must continually demonstrate that it is meeting the standards set by NWCCU

During this past year the Office of University Planning sought and received substantial input from various offices, individuals and groups across campus. The Academic Assembly, the Student Government of Seattle University, the Graduate Student Council, the Student Bar Association, program directors, deans and cabinet members all reviewed drafts and/or provided input.  More than 200 faculty, staff, and students have contributed to the drafting of the self-evaluation report. 

In April 2018, the university will host a team of nine academic professionals from our region trained by NWCCU to review the university’s policies and practices as part of the process of reaffirming the university’s accreditation for the next seven years. In early February 2018 the Office of University Planning will send NWCCU the final version of the Year Seven Self-Evaluation Report for the team to study prior to their visit. The evaluation team’s visit to campus will be on April 25, 26 and 27, 2018. During the visit students, staff and faculty will have the opportunity to meet with the evaluators. More information about these meetings will be announced prior to the visit. University Planning will present to various groups and host several information sessions in Winter term to familiarize members of the Seattle University community with the accreditation process and what to expect during the visit. 

For more information, contact Sansone at or 206-296-2809.

Q: What can I expect from SU's 2018 Search for Meaning Festival?

December 7, 2017

Search for Meaning is Seattle University’s annual community festival dedicated to topics surrounding the human quest for meaning, and the characteristics of an ethical and well-lived life. Hosted on the university’s campus, Search for Meaning draws more than 60 nationally and internationally acclaimed authors and artists for an interactive, introspective experience.  

The 2018 festival, which takes place Feb. 24, features: 

  • Author presentations on topics including social justice, cross-cultural, racial and interreligious dialogue, history, poetry and spirituality

  • Keynote presentations by: Rev. Barbara Brown Taylor | Redeeming Darkness: A Spirituality for the Night Times; Ruth Ozeki | A Tale for the Time Being; and Rev. William J. Barber, II and Taylor Branch | Dismantling American Racism: Past & Present 
  • Pop-up book shop featuring author book signings

  • Art exhibit highlighting works of artists who participate in the ACRS Behavioral Health Art Therapy program

  • Theatre performance, The Madwoman of Chaillot by Jean Giraudoux directed by Jane Nichols. Search for Meaning ticket holders receive a discounted rate

  • Mobile Mavens food trucks and Bon Appétit campus cafes  

Visit Search for Meaning for more information, including a full list of authors/presenters.

Q: How many international students are at Seattle University this year?

November 23, 2017

Thanks to a slick infographic prepared by the International Student Center, we know there are 764 international students representing 54 countries currently at SU. Click here to see the top 10 countries represented and other interesting demographic information.

Q: What is the university's procedure for snow closure communications?

November 3, 2017

Snow closure or delayed opening decisions are typically made by 5 a.m. so that an announcement can be disseminated by 5:30 a.m. To ensure information is readily available, announcements will be shared as follows: 

  • Snow delays or closures will be posted on the university home page ( and a message will be recorded on SU’s hotline (206-296-2200).
  • A text message will be sent using the university’s E2campus messaging account. Sign up for messages by texting SeattleUalert to 79516 to stay informed.
  • An e-mail will be sent to all students, faculty and staff with closure specifics.

  • Postings will also be made on the university Facebook page and Twitter account.

Weather conditions can change so please look for updates throughout the morning.

In all cases, faculty and staff should use their best judgment about how safe it is to travel based on the conditions near their homes. Please inform your supervisor (by e-mail or phone) if you are not able to come in to the office. 

Radio and TV outlets typically report on our closures, though we cannot guarantee the timeliness of those reports. AM radio stations KIRO 710 and KOMO 1000 and FM stations KNKX 88.5 and KUOW 94.9 air snow closure announcements. Local television stations KOMO, KING, KIRO, KONG, KCPQ and Northwest Cable News also announce school closures.

Q: Whatever happened to the Segways?

October 20, 2017

As some will recall, the Department of Public Safety added a number of Segways to its fleet in the summer of 2013. The department has since decided to discontinue using the two-wheeled scooters, as explained here by Executive Director of Public Safety and Transportation Craig Birklid: 

“We had to retire the Segway’s from patrol. While they provided a speedy response, allowed Public Safety staff to carry additional first aid supplies (including an AED) and provided additional patrol capability, there were some unintended drawbacks we experienced in their use. Besides some workplace injuries, we had a number of concerns raised by officers about lack of physical activity during their patrol. The university has since invested in the campus wide installation of AED’s allowing for the quick implementation of a device in a cardiac emergency, which was one of the more significant concerns addressed in the Segway deployment. Public Safety continues a foot or bike patrol presence on campus and officers carry some first aid supplies with them. We also have a service vehicle available for officers to provide safety escorts and assist in other duties.” 

Click here to learn more about Public Safety at Seattle U. 

(Thanks to Dave Madsen, associate professor of history, for the question.)

Q: How much waste does SU generate in a given day?

October 6, 2017

A campus event this week helped answer that question as volunteers attacked a mountain of refuse that tipped the scales at 450-plus pounds. 

Hosted by the Facilities Recycling Shop and the Green Team at the Library Plaza on Oct. 4, Garbology II brought attention to the kinds of waste and how much of it SU generates each day. 

The 17 volunteers, representing students, faculty and staff, sifted through the contents collected from all the campus bins that day. As Recycling Coordinator and Compost Technician Eric Elliott reports, here’s the final breakdown of what the volunteers sorted: 

  • 62 percent was compostable
  • 21 percent was recyclable
  • 17 percent was neither compostable nor recyclable and was sent to a landfill 

Elliott points out that items placed in campus trash bins (vs. recycling/composting bins) is never sorted except at Garbology events. “Seattle University sends an average of 1.6 tons of waste directly from our trash cans to a landfill every day,” he says. “If the ratios found during Garbology II are relatively accurate, over 80 percent of that waste could have been placed in a green compost container or a blue recycling bin instead.” 

While the first Garbology took place last winter with patches of snow on the ground, the Garbology II crew of volunteers labored under near-perfect weather conditions, fortified by freshly pressed apple cider at lunch.

The Green Team, which is open to students, faculty and staff, promotes sustainability on campus through a variety of outreach activities such as helping people properly dispose of their waste at university events.

If you have questions about Garbology or waste collection on campus, please contact Eric Elliott at You can also learn more about the SU's leadership in sustainability and the university's ongoing efforts to lighten its carbon footprint at