Parents & Families | November 2017

A Faculty View of Tent City 3

Tent City 3

By Karen Snedker

As you may already know, Tent City 3 is returning to SPU. The self-managed encampment will reside on campus from November 18, 2017, to February 10, 2018.

When TC3 stayed at SPU during Winter Quarter 2012, Professor of Sociology Jennifer McKinney and I surveyed students, faculty, staff, and the Queen Anne neighborhood community for their beliefs about homelessness and about encampment. We expanded the survey in 2015 to include a representative sample of the SPU community. We posed the questions before and after Tent City’s visit, and here are two findings you may want to know:

While nearly 90 percent of the SPU community pre- and post-test reported that TC3 would (or did) impact SPU positively, there was a significant shift pre- and post-test to how the SPU community saw TC3 impacting SPU negatively.

Before TC3 arrived, 38 percent of respondents said TC3 would negatively impact SPU. But after TC3 left, only 15 percent of those same respondents said TC3 negatively impacted SPU.

Likewise, after TC3 left in 2015, 90 percent of survey respondents affirmed that SPU should host TC3 again — a significant increase from the pretest, where 69 percent of SPU community members reported that SPU should host TC3.

This post-survey wasn’t large enough to be fully representative, but it does fall in line with a broader principle about social contact from social scientific research: When people come face to face with others of different social groups, stereotypes begin to disappear.

Dr. McKinney and I are conducting a similar survey to the SPU community for the upcoming visit. Additionally, I’m now teaching a sociology seminar on Tent City. During the seminar, the students have been increasing their academic knowledge about homelessness through readings and site visits to other and tent cities and tiny-village communities. Once TC3 residents arrive, the student research team will again collect observational research data and interview residents to hear their stories about experiencing homelessness and residing in Tent City 3.

Other SPU faculty members will also use these months to integrate Tent City 3’s visit in their classes. Some may include readings about homelessness or show short videos in class to increase their students’ knowledge about the causes of homelessness and the experiences of being homeless. Some may create a class project around the topic, and others may encourage, or incentivize, students to attend an educational forum/event during the Winter Quarter and write a reflection.

Faculty can also incorporate Tent City 3’s visit into curriculum by arranging for a class tour of encampment or inviting  TC3 residents to attend their classes or participate in a class discussion. Numerous possibilities will be available for your student to learn from this upcoming encampment.

Karen Snedker

If you have any questions about it, email You can also see ways that you can get involved by visiting

Karen Snedker is an associate professor of sociology whose teaching focuses on urban sociology, law, homelessness, and mental illness as well as introductory sociology courses for the general curriculum. She has been at SPU since 2006.

Seattle Pacific Again Ranked a “Best National University”

Seattle Pacific is the only private university in the Pacific Northwest to make the 2018 U.S. News & World Report’s Best National Universities list.

Seattle Pacific joins the University of Washington and Washington State University as the only three institutions from Washington state named to the magazine’s list.

U.S. News defines national universities as those institutions offering a full range of undergraduate majors, plus master’s and doctoral programs, and committed to producing groundbreaking research.

Seattle Pacific’s ranking results in part from growth in its graduate and doctoral programs in businesseducationpsychologynursing, and theology. The ranking also recognizes an emphasis on undergraduate research, in which students work alongside faculty on important research and serve as interns at world-renowned companies or institutions in the Seattle area and beyond.

Seattle Pacific University Engineering: Program Snapshot

See how a Seattle Pacific University professor and student are changing the world through the field of engineering.

SPU Voices: Students and “SoulCare”

Bible study

This isn’t your average small group. It’s not a Bible study. There’s no homework or study questions. This is a group focused around discussing one question: How goes it with your soul?

SoulCare is SPU’s version of Wesleyan small groups, a practice of Christian formation that started in the 18th century by John and Charles Wesley. Read the article.

Christmas Care Packages

Wrapped Christmas gifts

Don’t miss your opportunity to take part in this special Christmas tradition at SPU — Christmas care packages containing holiday treats, delivered to students living on campus prior to finals week in December.

To get started, submit a personal note of encouragement to your student through the Christmas Care Package Message Center. From there, we'll attach your message to your student’s care package and deliver it just before finals week.

Please also consider donating to support this project. Parents often donate $10, and many give an additional amount if that is within their means. You can donate online through SPU’s secure website. Every resident student will receive a care package, whether or not his or her parents donate. Donations from parents like you help cover the costs of this project for your student and for students whose families are unable to donate. Any excess funds will go to support student activities on campus. Give a Care Package before the deadline November 22, 2017.

Notes From Student Financial Services

It’s time to complete the 2018–19 FAFSA!

Have you and your student filled out the 2018–19 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) yet? If not, don’t delay. All students must submit a new FAFSA each academic year. The 2018–19 FAFSA will ask for tax and income information from the 2016 calendar year, as well as current investment and asset information as of the date the FAFSA is filed.

The priority deadline is January 15, 2018, for first-time freshmen; and July 1, 2018, for new transfers. The priority deadline for continuing students is April 1, 2018. For more information about the FAFSA, visit our website.

Scholarship information is available online

Scholarship information is available online, and now is the best to apply for the upcoming 2018–19 academic year.

Incoming and current students can find outside scholarship information 24/7 through the Virtual Scholarship Notebook. There are scholarship opportunities available for particular majors and areas of interest, military veterans, students who have been in foster care, first-in-the-family college students, and many more. You can search through available scholarship opportunities by using keywords. You can also find other major scholarship search website information online, as well.

Visual Communications Professor Speaks in Venice, Italy

Karen Gutowsky-Zimmerman

Professor of Visual Communications Karen Gutowsky-Zimmerman recently presented “Shifting Context: Image as a Gateway to an Equitable Society” at the eighth annual International Conference on the Image in Venice, Italy.

“This paper addresses ways to read images using a diverse and inclusive lens, which broadens our context for meaning,” wrote Gutowsky-Zimmerman. “Through this investigation, both maker and user begin to re-imagine themselves as image bearers of a diverse society that is both equitable and inclusive.”

Upcoming Events

Tent City 3 arrives

Saturday, November 18

Encamped on campus between November 18 and February 10, 2018, Tent City 3 returns for the third time to the Seattle Pacific campus. For the latest news about TC3, including ways students, faculty, staff, and community members can volunteer, visit

Thanksgiving holiday

November 23–24

No classes; Gwinn Commons closes Wednesday, November 22, 6 p.m., reopening Sunday, November 26, 5 p.m.

Sacred Sounds of Christmas

Sunday, November 26
7 p.m.
Benaroya Hall, Seattle
$22 and $25, general admission

For more information, visit

Finals week

December 5–7

Christmas break for students

December 8–January 2

Residence halls close at 10 a.m., Friday, December 8.

Homecoming and Family Weekend

February 2–3, 2018

The whole family is invited to the all-new Falcon Family Brunch, plus enjoy special parent programming and favorite Homecoming events including men’s basketball, the student talent show, and “Jane Eyre: The Musical” throughout the weekend. Get your All Access Family Pass today!