The Department of Housing & Residence Life at Seattle University is a featured program.
Seattle University is located in the vibrant northwest city and has the following enrollment based on fall, 2014:
- 7,273 students: 4,511 undergraduate students, 1,967 graduate students, and 795 law students
- 95% of undergraduate students attend full-time
- 35% of first-year students are from Washington state
- 33% of all students are from ethnically diverse backgrounds
- 9% are international students
Seattle traces its roots back to 1890 when Jesuit priests took over a struggling parish school. Fundraising allowed the institution to experience steady growth and the first bachelor’s degree was awarded in 1919. However, World War I, high paying jobs in the Seattle shipbuilding industry and a flu epidemic that shut down all city schools for several months created a serious fiscal crisis which was partially resolved by having the college share space with a prep school. Seattle University moved again in 1931 and enrollment soared to 46 students. Controversial night classes were begun and SU admitted female students, which was considered scandalous at the time in Jesuit circles making SU the first Jesuit co-ed institution in the US. The post WW II boom impacts included an expansion to 6 colleges with enrollment hitting 2400 although like many colleges at the time, housing became a precious commodity. Evolution continued for SU shouldered on its D-I basketball program (at the time) led by future NBA Hall of Fame player, Elgin Baylor. However, difficult times returned in the mid 60’s due to overly optimistic expectations, heavy debt and empty buildings. Seattle University became a hot bed of student activism with bombings, riots and a presidential office takeover. Stability returned during the tenure of President William Sullivan, SJ who would serve 20 years in the position with a long term view of reforming the institutional fiscal woes and launching the first comprehensive funds campaign which resulted in a growing reputation for outstanding teaching by the faculty. Steady growth and stability has continued into the 21st century with one of the highlights being the acquisition of the University of Puget Sound Law School in 1993. Seattle University has a focus on educating moral leaders who do the right thing regardless of pressure or public opinion. The institution is a leader in social justice and an active supporter of programs that urge students and faculty to make a difference in the lives of others.
Academic Programs and Service
Seattle University offers an extensive array of programs: eight colleges and schools offer 64 undergraduate programs, more than 31 graduate programs and 28 certificate programs. Three out of four Seattle University undergraduate students engage in community service, three times the national average. Students, faculty and staff contribute 200,000 hours of service annually
Housing and Residence Life Overview
The Department of Housing & Residence Life at Seattle University provides safe, secure, and well maintained residential communities that support the intellectual, spiritual, and emotional development of our students.
We will be a cornerstone of the Seattle University student experience and the model housing and residence life program of our profession. These are the steps we are actively taking in order to realize our vision.
- Highest quality custodial and maintenance services are provided to our students. We strive for same day response to requests and to provide the cleanest housing facilities in the nation.
- Personalized service to meet a variety of needs and respect each student as an individual.
- Integrate technology to enhance the resident experience and improve the delivery of services.
- Provide opportunities for students to engage in leadership development opportunities through training and student governance.
- Assist residents in the formation and understanding of their leadership philosophy and skills through the framework of the Social Change Model of Leadership Development.
- Explore connections between in-class and out-of-class learning.
- Access to faculty outside of the classroom.
- Provide events and thought-provoking activities to all first-year students.
- Create welcoming and inclusive residential communities through development of community standards and establishing a sense of identity.
- Involvement, interaction and investment in the residential community is encouraged through interactive programming, events and leadership opportunities.
- Residents gain the skills required to be positive community members within the residence halls and as they transition to the greater community.
- Students engage in our diverse community through intentional peer-to-peer small group dialogues.
- Professional and student staff reflects the diversity of our student body.
- Educate our students and staff around issues of social justice through training, dialogue, and experiential learning.
Housing Capacity – 1900 students with a 2 Year Housing Requirement which results in 95% First Years & 85% Second Year residents being accommodated on campus.
Staffing – Director, Associate Director, 2 Assistant Directors, 2 office staff(including Housing Coordinator), 4 Resident Directors, 6 Assistant Resident Directors, XX Resident Assistants
3 Traditional Residence Halls (Bellarmine-7 story with 420 residents, Campion-12 story with 650 residents, & Xavier Halls-low rise with 200 residents; and all are home to First & Second Year students)
2 Apartment Style Residence Halls [Murphy-370 beds; & Douglas-257 beds-(Partnership with Property Management Company) Apartments for Junior, Senior, Graduate]
1 Suite Style Hall (Chardin Hall- 148 beds for Sophomores)
1 Town House style (Logan Court – 28 beds for Graduate/Senior)
1 Theme House (Kolvenbach – 8 beds for upper class students with emphasis on intentional learning Community)
Jesuits in Residences:
Similar to other Catholic based institutions, Seattle University have a number Jesuit priests that live in residence and have the discretion in choosing how involved they are in the residential communities. They will work in partnership with the Resident Director and Resident Assistants in how they will engage the residents. The Jesuits provide residents with a different perspective to consider pertaining to a wide range of topics and activities. Some of the Jesuits will initiate events in their community and participate in off-campus excursions.
Residential Ministers (RMs) are students who report to Campus Ministry and collaborate with the Resident Directors when working with residents. RMs meets with the Resident Directors (RDs) and will communicate their observations and interactions with the residents from that hall. The RMs and RDs will coordinate working with some residents of concern in supporting them through difficult times. RMs will offer some programs to get to know their community. RMs are provided housing in the residence halls.
Custodial & Maintenance:
We work closely with our custodial & maintenance staff in each building. Residents can submit a work order for their rooms on the Housing website which is directly linked to the maintenance staff of the building. Maintenance staff will respond based on the priority of the work order. RDs meet regularly with the Custodial and Maintenance Supervisor to coordinate requests and keep informed of upcoming projects. Our custodial and maintenance staff prides themselves on being able to respond quickly and effectively to the needs of our residential students.
Seattle University has 11 Learning Communities spread out throughout the Residence Halls and the Transfer/Commuter community. Each LC has a Faculty Director and LC Academic Mentors (student positions) to work on the curricular portion of the community and each LC has approximately 150 students each. LC’s have a Core class linked for the residents to connect in and the LC Academic Mentors are responsible for promoting the class events and offering study halls for that community. LCs will have a RD or ARD and 2-4 RAs that will collaborate in organizing LC Signature Events throughout the year. Faculty Directors are encouraged to hold office hours in the lobbies of the residence halls where their LC are located and visit the community to engage in different ways the students. Residence Life provides the Faculty Directors with card access to the residence halls so that they will be visible and present in those communities.
Community Engagement Plan:
Most residence life programs utilize a programming model based on institutional history or create a plan to meet the unique needs of their students. Seattle University employs a non traditional model that provides the RDs the ability to create their own plans of engaging their communities based on principles established by the CEP. That program is outlined below and has worked very successfully at Seattle University.