Parents & Families | September 2017

An ultimate road trip

Jeff Jordan
Vice President of Student Life Jeff Jordan talks with a student during move-in day 2016.

We’re a family that enjoys road trips! It may seem odd to some that we put thousands of miles on our car each summer, but we’ve been doing this for years and have been very fortunate with the many rewards that come with these adventures. The sights and experiences of new discoveries have broadened our perspectives. More so, these forays have built our relationships as a family.

This past summer, we ventured into the wilds of Montana, northeast of Missoula. One of our landing points was Lincoln, where there is a sculpture park featuring a relic from our family’s past occupation in the logging industry. Sitting on that site is a 75-foot “Teepee Burner,” a structure built to burn wood refuse, and which operated 24 hours a day. Now the old, metal structure houses period photos, and hosts lectures and musical performances.

Our road trip experience to Lincoln was intended to refresh a childhood experience and share it with the rest of us who didn’t know much about the logging industry. Additionally, it was a time for all of us to learn about installation art and what it represents. Most importantly, it was a time to remember the past and experience a new present.

Parents, as you “road trip” to SPU with your student from either near or far, this can be a great time of conversation and building of common experiences. For some of you, it will be a time to remember your family’s own past experiences of university life. For others, this adventure of college will be new to everyone in the family.

As you journey, I encourage you to discover together as a family the new adventures that are waiting at Seattle Pacific. May this time of travel — through both the miles and the years — provide learning and strengthening of relationships! 

I pray for God’s hand upon you and your student this next year. May our travels together bring rich blessings to you and to the SPU community.

Vice President of Student Life Jeff Jordan and his office are responsible for collaborative planning with SPU’s academic leaders, student leaders, and student life staff.

SPU Parent Prayer Network

Karin Westeren

Hi! My name is Karin Westeren, and I am pleased to take on the role of SPU's Parent Prayer Network coordinator this year.

As the parent of six children, including two SPU students — Valari, a sophomore, and Morgan, a freshman — I understand how vital prayer is in the lives of our students. That's why the Parent Prayer Network is designed to incorporate parent prayer requests into a daily prayer format so that families can be upholding SPU students and staff throughout the year in prayer. My goal is to produce two prayer guides per quarter, one at the beginning and one mid-way through.

I will email the prayer guides as a PDF to all who request them through Please feel free to send your personal prayer requests for your student, as well. No personal information will be divulged in the public prayer guide.

The prayer guide will include a daily prayer prompt for various SPU topics (e.g., staff, students, new faculty, events). The prayer prompts will run for five weeks (Monday–Friday) and a second prayer guide will cover the last five weeks (and finals) of each quarter. With each prayer prompt, an appropriate Scripture will be included that can also be used for individual prayer.

This year’s network members (and myself) will be introduced at Orientation. There will be a Parent Session, Student Success at SPU, held on Thursday, September 21, from 11:15 a.m.–12:30 p.m. in Upper Gwinn Commons. If you’re interested in joining us, I would love to meet you and other parents who are willing to dedicate themselves to prayer over SPU this year. If you won’t be at Orientation, contact to request the prayer guide.

If there is interest, parent prayer hours may be scheduled throughout the year on campus. It is also possible for a prayer time to be coordinated during Homecoming and Family Weekend, February 2–3, 2018.

Karin Westeren​ and her husband were an Air Force family for nearly 30 years, stationed throughout the United States and on three continents. They now live on his great-grandfather's homestead in rural western Washington.

Student jobs and student success

Today most employers look for college graduates with evidence of real-world work experience, not just good grades.

That means when your SPU student works on or off campus, he or she has the opportunity to gain the experience and tools employers value in candidates. Students will also earn money while earning valuable experience. In fact, each year Seattle Pacific University employs over 1,000 student workers during the academic year — and those students make more than a combined $3 million annually.

Keelan Wood
Keelan Wood ’17

Keelan Wood '17 worked both on and off campus as a student. A nanny for two elementary-school aged sisters, Wood worked 10 minutes from campus during her sophomore and junior years. As a visual communication major, she then put her major to work during her senior year as a design intern for University Communications and as a publicist for Associate Students of Seattle Pacific. “My campus jobs were a necessary experience in learning to compartmentalize energy and time,” says Wood. “I gained more from the classes during my time as a student worker, merely for being able to apply real-life work scenarios to what was being taught.”

But money and work experience aren't the only reasons to encourage your student to find a job. Students who work 15–20 hours a week report higher GPAs and have better time management skills than students who don’t work at all. They will also create great contacts on campus, and can build a good community with their student peers!

The Office of Student Employment is here to help. Currently, students can apply for part-time positions on SPU Handshake (, including on-campus and off-campus positions.

Additionally OSE hosts the annual Part-time Job Fair, September 28, 11 a.m.–2 p.m., giving students the opportunity to connect with all types of employers.

Encourage your student to come to the fair in Upper Gwinn dressed for success with a current résumé!

Nickerson Paving Project update

The City of Seattle is now repaving Nickerson Street between Eturia Street and 15th Avenue West, which includes the portion of Nickerson Street that runs past Seattle Pacific University.

Because of increased traffic to the University during Orientation 2017 and move-in weekend, the city is limiting major construction activities from Wednesday, September 20, to Sunday, September 24, between Queen Anne Avenue and Sixth Avenue West.

During this time, the city plans to remove traffic control and restore parking on both sides of the street between Sixth Avenue West and West Bertona Street. The contractor will also restore parking in other areas near SPU during Orientation, as feasible and safe. Drivers may still, however, find uneven road surfaces near the campus.

Visit Seattle’s Department of Transportation for more information about the Nickerson Paving Project.

Dining Services Online Shop grand opening

Is your student craving some healthy snacks? Looking for extra energy while cramming for exams? Or trying to get rid of a pesky cold?

Einstein Bagels

Then check out Dining Services’ new online shop. Families can order an assortment of gifts to let their students know they’ve got them covered. Better yet, when you order between September 15 and September 29, 2017, you’ll get 20 percent off gift packages.

Visit the online gift shop for the featured packages, and retail-dining gift certificates.

Upcoming events

Wednesday, September 20
1–6:30 p.m.

New students check into residence halls

Thursday, September 21–Sunday, September 24

Orientation 2017 includes four days of programming for incoming students, including Thursday programming for families and guests.

Saturday, September 23
11 a.m.–5 p.m.


Sunday, September 24
1–5 p.m.

Returning students check into residence halls and apartments.

Monday, September 25

Autumn Quarter classes begin

Thursday, September 28
11 a.m.–2 p.m.

SPU Student Employment Job Fair

Wednesday, October 18
10 a.m.

Day of Common Learning keynote address: Semper Reformanda (Always Reforming)
Dr. Soong-Chan Rah