Feature Preview

Community is a big part of life at Seattle Pacific University. People here like to gather to discuss, serve, study, and play. So it's no surprise that clubs abound. With more than 50, we'd be surprised if you couldn't find a few that fit you. But if you can't, there's the option to start your own. Here's a quick glance at what club life looks like at SPU.

Chemistry Club Members
American Chemical Society, Beyond Beakers

With a motto like, "Chemistry for Life," you may assume that members of the American Chemical Society spend all of their meetings talking about reactions and the periodic table. Not so! The members of the SPU chapter dabble in business, event planning, and bowling.

They sell lab coats and mugs that look like erlenmeyer flasks (which are like a beaker, but narrow at the top). Yes, the latter only appeal to hardcore chem-fans, but the lab coats are required for all students in science classes. So it's the perfect way to help fund events and send students to chemistry research conferences.

In February, the club plans to attract about 300-500 SPU students to a chemistry "magic" show. The guest of honor is Tim Hoyt, a professor at neighboring Pacific Lutheran University, who entertains crowds with chemical reactions that produce color, slime, smoke, and explosions. And of course he wears a full wizard costume — think Merlin with the pointy hat, stars, and long white beard.

Then, in spring, the members can work on their bowling proficiency at "Bowling With the Professors," which is open to all students. "It's really fun and almost all of the profs come," says senior Erin Dunnington.

Kevin Bartlett, an associate professor of chemistry, likes to come to bond with students, show off his bowling skills, and prove that he doesn't sleep in the science building. "It's a perfect event," he says. "When students come into my office, we usually talk about chemistry. But when we go out bowling, they can see that Dr. Bartlett has a life — and a wife and kids."

Chemistry Students Working With Fire

You don't have to be a chemist
to be wowed by chemical reactions. That's why SPU's chapter of the American Chemical Society invites all students to a chemistry "magic" show in February.

Get a Closer Look
Click on the images to enlarge.

Kevin Sayson
Spanish and Latino Student Awareness Club, Culture Club

Some students wore sweats and some showed up in dress shirts or high heels. But no matter the attire, everyone was ready for the annual Noche de Salsa event this October. By 8 p.m. there was barely enough room for attendees to shake their shoulders and hips as instructed by Salsa teacher Steve Krane. "I've never seen the SUB gazebo room so full of SPU students ready to get their spice on," says Claudia Mosquera, who is vice president of the Spanish and Latino Student Awareness Club (SALSA).

But SALSA is not just about dance. The club is known for their Cinco de Mayo celebration in spring, helping people speak Spanish, and their annual summer trip to Mexico. "We want to help people at SPU see what Latin countries are like and what they struggle with," says co-president Yolanda Vogel.

SALSA has a relationship with the El Sauzal Orphanage near Ensenada, Mexico, and supports them with prayer and fundraisers during the year. But nothing's like the summer road trip that brings club members face to face with the kids.

One of Hilde Holgate's favorite stories from the orphanage happened before she even went on the trip her sophomore year. A student asked an 8-year-old-boy who his brothers or sisters were. He smiled and said, "These are all my brothers and sisters: I am so lucky."

On the trip, Hilde '10 saw this family atmosphere in the way the children took care of each other and played soccer and danced together.

"The orphanage sometimes struggles to meet the kids' needs day to day," she says. "But they still shared everything they had with us: their food, their time, their family. That was very humbling."


Students practice the basic salsa
steps with instructor Steve Krane before letting loose at Noche de Salsa. The annual event is put on by the Spanish and Latino Student Awareness Club.

Photos from the Night
Click on the images to enlarge.

Outdoor Club
Seattle Pacific Outdoors Club, Trail Blazers

Kevin Williams didn't even have to talk to Jesse Boyd to know they'd be friends. The Facebook photos of mountain biking and skiing said it all.

"Freshman year, I showed up at SPU from Colorado and had a hard time finding people to do outdoorsy stuff with," Kevin says. "There are outdoor people here, but I didn't find a culture."

So when Kevin met Jesse his sophomore year, he was glad to add another outdoor enthusiast to his circle of friends. Before transferring to SPU, Jesse was president of the Outdoor Club at Wenatchee Valley Community College. A few months later, Kevin and Jesse were scheming about starting an outdoors club at Seattle Pacific.

The feedback was overwhelmingly positive, even from the student government body that oversees clubs. "The process was a lot easier than I expected," says Jesse, who is the club president.

The goal was to do an activity a week, such as hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, or trail maintenance or other service projects. "We don't want to be just an outdoor club," Kevin says. "We want to bring our faith into it and give back to the outdoor community as a whole." The club has dreams of taking Seattle inner-city youth on outdoor events for free, and they hope to be established at SPU for years to come.

Those dreams have been important to remember as challenges arise. For example, it rained on the day that a whopping 279 students signed up for the club, which meant that it took Kevin about four to five hours to type up the inky blur of addresses. Situations like this always call for moral support.

"I'll call Kevin up and say, 'I'm having a hard time,'" Jesse says. "But we always come back to knowing that it's worth it." After all, there are 279 SPU students who agree.

Outdoor Club Members Rope

"Being out in the mountains helps
you put everything into perspective," says outdoors club member Andrew Hamilton. "I'll think, 'Wow! I'm out here in this huge wilderness and I'm just so small.'"

Come Climbing!
Click on the images to enlarge.

Outdoor Club
At Home in the Balkans

Have a passion for service of any and all kinds? Keep in mind two clubs for your SPU career: Falconettes and Centurions.

The Falconettes began in 1935, and is still going strong today. Members get together every week to pray for each other, plan service activities, and enjoy each other's company. Projects include baking cookies for residence hall girls during finals, collecting canned goods on Halloween, and making dinner and serving it at a local homeless shelter.

One of President Jayme Gilmore's favorite memories is last year's Alumni Tea, where the 60- to 80-year-old Falconette alumnae entertained Gilmore and others with stories from their time at SPU. "They are hilarious women," says Gilmore. "We laughed a lot about their stories about boys and how they occasionally fought over them."

Because Falconettes is comprised of juniors and seniors only, the club provides a new kind of community for those who aren't living on campus anymore, a major factor in junior Kelsey Hancock's decision to join. "We also laugh a lot and eat really delicious treats," she says. "That's everything I love!"

While Centurions isn't 75 years old, it is 52 and its members have the same passion for service. Centurions President Rob Henry explains the two aspects of the club: helping out at campus events like graduation, and partnering with campus service clubs to help the Seattle community.

"We have a lot of respect for each other, and members are committed to the goals they have and are often involved in campus leadership," he says.

Naturally, camaraderie comes with serving side-by-side. "My favorite part is recognizing each other on a daily basis across campus," says junior Evan Harris.

Then there's the annual service trip every Spring Quarter, which is open to the entire SPU male community. Last year it took place on a ranch in Bozeman, Montana, a 13-hour drive from Seattle. Senior Trevor Koba thought the trip was a great bonding experience. "We built trails, used chainsaws to fell trees and flame throwers to clear camping areas, and built walkways in knee-deep mud." There's nothing like a little manual labor to bring people together.


Nothing says "official" like
a patch. These clubs have worn patches and blazers for decades.

Ice Cream and Cookies
Click on the images to enlarge.

Could one of these be the club for you?

See the full list of 50 at

Seattle Pacific Agriculture for the Community and Environment (SPACE)
The only club that has its own plot of land
It's for you if ... Those who either know what Broccoli Romanesco is or want to try it.

Law Society
LSAT study groups and law school prep
It's for you if ... your favorite fiction hero was Atticus Finch

Jane Austen Club
Reading, tea drinking, English country dancing
It's for you if ... you wish you were born in 18th Century England

Mocha Club
A service club aimed at helping people in Africa
It's for you if ... you're passionate about people having their needs met worldwide

One of the largest clubs on campus that talks about culture and has high energy events such as Club Soul (a dance party) and the Night of Beats
It's for you if ... you're fascinated by other cultures (and your own!)

Political Union
A bi-partisan clubs that sponsors speakers on controversial topics, such as intelligent design and the Mideast peace process
It's for you if ... you're not afraid to wrestle with tough questions

Nordic Club
Cross country skiing, Swedish pancake eating, and parading in celebration of Scandinavian culture
It's for you if ... You have an Uncle Oystein or you wish you did

More Features

Students Off Season

Students Off Season

From biking across the country to teaching English in Romania, SPU students take full advantage of their months spent out of school.

Scholarly Ascents

Scholarly Ascents

Every year, a group of incoming students is invited to be a part of Seattle Pacific University’s honors program.

Grads with Awesome Occupations

Grads with Awesome Occupations

We wanted to talk to SPU alums who not only liked their jobs, but actually even loved them. Here are some of those stories.