Urban Plunge

3 students and advisor at Urban Plunge in Pioneer Square

Poster for Urban Plunge with details

Urban Plunge is an immersive experience designed to help students encounter people’s stories and learn what resources are available to Seattle’s homeless population. Students are invited to experience some of the challenges the homeless population of Seattle faces on a daily basis, while learning how service agencies and others engage in supporting the people who face those challenges. Partner sites are given honorariums for allowing us to learn from them, and food sites are reimbursed for meals consumed by participants. 

For more information about Urban Plunge, contact MChew@spu.edu

Apply Now for Urban Plunge!

 Apply to participate in Urban Plunge, SPU’s immersive local engagement experience on homelessness in Seattle, from November 9th-12th. As part of Urban Plunge, students will:

  • Prepare by learning how to enter in to communities, and about the complexities of homelessness. (October 19, 26, and November 2)
  • Explore Seattle as they walk the streets throughout the day.
  • Stay at a local Church downtown.
  • Learn from representatives of local service agencies.
  • Listen to the stories of unhoused neighbors
  • Discuss views of homelessness and how your ideas are formed with proximity.

Applications are due Ocober 6th. Cost is $25 with scholarships available based on need 

For more information about Urban Plunge, contact MChew@spu.edu

*You must commit to all three trainings, or make arrangements to go over the material*

*The number of participants is capped at 15*

New Horizons Check-In from Fall 2020

NH Clips 1

Student comments

“I went in thinking that this was an opportunity for me to be Christ to these people. What I discovered was that they had become Christ to me.” — Mike

“I saw you again last night. Your head was turned and your shoulders were hunched. I walked by in all the privilege of my young strength and health and wealth, complaining of the cold … And you are still there. What has happened to you in the last month? Why in my self-centeredness do I think because you look the same that you are the same? What has happened and not happened in the last month that keeps you pacing cold streets at night and me critiquing the quality of my mattress? Who is Jesus for you?” — Bethanie

“If you are an SPU student, I would highly encourage you to do Urban Plunge. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that Urban Plunge is the only way to attain empathy. Empathy is a key component to any surface-penetrating relationship. But often, like in my case, these relationships with people outside of my socioeconomic class were difficult to form on my own volition; Urban Plunge threw me right into the middle of it.” — Zeek

“I don’t know about you, but at 6:30 in the morning, I’m kind of a zombie. I don’t make much sense, and so my whole group kind of wandered around for a half hour, stopping every once in a while to ask ‘Why are we here?’ That was a key question throughout our Plunge experience, because this probably happened about three times a day, where we wound up in a sketchy neighborhood (thanks, Katie) and had to ask ourselves how we’d gotten there.” — Mike

“It wasn’t just a sandwich to us. It was an acknowledgement of our existence and our importance and dignity as human beings. It was a statement that we, as human beings, deserved to eat. It was a statement that we mattered. I think that’s why Liz cried. A free tuna sandwich doesn’t mean much, really. But an act of love, an acknowledgement of our humanity, meant everything to us.” — Anonymous

“Once you understand just a piece of someone’s perspective, showing mercy and loving them comes naturally. Before Plunge, this was something I knew analytically, but now I know physically.” — Anonymous

Spring 2011 Urban Plunge photos

From the media

Over the years, Seattle media outlets have taken notice of Urban Plunge.

John Perkins talks to SPU students

About John Perkins

Born into a life of poverty in Mississippi, John M. Perkins became one of the leading Evangelical voices to come out of the American civil rights movement.