Answer Me This

Answer Me This is a forum for addressing questions about working at Seattle University and campus life. The Commons invites faculty and staff to suggest possible topics for questions or specific questions for consideration by e-mailing

CEJS goings on  

Q:   What's new at the Center for Environmental Justice and Sustainability (CEJS) these days?BullittCenterWaterTesting_275

A:   In a word, lots. Here's a quick rundown.

  • As of July 1, Campus Sustainability Manager Karen Price is reporting to Professor Phil Thompson, director of CEJS . (The position previously reported to the associate vice president for facilities.) The move allows for greater integration and alignment of the academic, co-curricular and operational components of SU's sustainability efforts and it makes CEJS the center of all things related to sustainability on campus. 
  • More than 200 people from 25 states and 12 countries attended CEJS's inaugural conference, Just Sustainability: Hope for the Commons, which took place in August. Attendees included academics, grassroots activists and representatives from agencies such as the EPA. Thirteen Jesuit universities participated, including North Bengal St. Xavier's College, India, and Central American University, Nicaragua. CEJS plans to host the conference every other year, building the network of Jesuit institutions connecting environmental justice and sustainability, and supporting those working in these fields locally and around the country. For reflections on the conference, you can read Jesuit James Hug's reports HERE
  • Enjoy food and drink while hearing stories that connect environmental justice and sustainability at the CEJS Happy Hour. Come listen to CEJS Faculty Fellows tell stories about their research in such topics as snow leopard identification, climate debt, poverty alleviation in Costa Rica and tracking the impacts of the Elwha River dam removal. Mark your calendar for these upcoming CEJS Happy Hours: Nov. 20, Feb. 11, April 1 and May 26 in Student Center 160 from 5-6:30 p.m. 
  • Stay informed about SU's sustainable operations and environmental justice research and teaching initiatives. Sign up for the fall and spring quarter e-newsletter by emailing and/or like the CEJS Facebook page
  • Want to tour the greenest commercial office building on the planet? SU community members are invited to tour the Bullitt Center in which CEJS is located. It's only a seven-minute walk from the center of campus to E. Madison and 15th. Learn more at Tour the Bullitt Center with CEJS.

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: 

BananStairwellNook_350"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.

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."

Emergency preparedness

SafeHawkscreen200Q:   What are the top five things I can do to prepare for emergency situations on campus? 

A:   Tim Marron, executive director of Public Safety and Transportation, encourages faculty, staff and students to take the following steps. 

1.   Sign up, if you haven't already, for e2Campus  to receive emergency text alerts. You will only receive a text in emergency situations. 

2.   Familiarize yourself with SU's Emergency Procedures, which include instructions on what to do in a variety of situations such as a violent intruder, earthquake, fire and hazardous material. 

3.   Learn how to respond to armed intruders or active shooters by viewing this instructional video put out by the Department of Homeland Security. 

4.   Download SafeHawk (left), a free, customized Seattle University app that places a number of informational tools such as safety news, emergency contacts, resources, notifications and anonymous crime reporting right at your fingertips. SafeHawk can be downloaded at iTunes or Google Play

5.   Become more acquainted with a variety of other information and tools for staying safe on campus by visiting SU's Public Safety website and be on the look-out for trainings that will be put on by the department during fall quarter.

Gaga for gonfalons

Gonfalon_125Q:  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.)

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

Bird watching

BirdonCampus_250Q:  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)

First Hill Streetcar

StreetcarAnimation_350Q:  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.

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. 

BridgetWalker"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.