In the Loop

October 2020

Students have opportunities to connect in a year like none other

With the coronavirus still a threat, Seattle Pacific University has numerous guidelines in place for the safety and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff. But what about the college experience? Do those safety guidelines mean that students won’t have opportunities to connect with each other, creating college memories that can last a lifetime?   

Not if the Office of Student Life can help it. That office — and several others — have created several opportunities for students to interact and build community at SPU, even while being socially distant.  

A week into the quarter, SPU adjusted the guidelines for dining to help with social interactions for students. Students living in residence halls at SPU were assigned a group of students with whom they can eat in Gwinn Commons, the dining hall. While only two students can share a table at a time, students can switch up with whom they eat at each meal, as long as that person is in their assigned group. Students can also eat in groups of up to five students outside and socially distanced.  

Locations to gather when not in class include the Ames Library, the Student Union Building, and Weter Hall lounge. And in September, a new student space opened in lower Weter, with its large space filled with tables for two. More dedicated student spaces are still to come this year. 

When not studying, students’ campus opportunities for camaraderie have already included a virtual scavenger hunt, food trucks, specific residence hall programming, Involve-o-Rama (this year, an online club fair), Bibles studies and other small groups, a résumé rescue through the Center of Career and Calling, and more. Residence hall staff (professional and student) check in regularly with students, creating weekly video greetings, and planning hall events.  

Additionally, students can find out about programs and community opportunities through “Engage,” an online platform that our 50+ clubs and organizations use to advertise events. Just a smattering of recent events included an All Majors Job Fair, a Bob Ross Painting Night, Bingo Night, and pumpkin carving.  

While most of the events are virtual, students can gather in groups of five or fewer. On campus, students can connect in Tiffany Loop or Wallace Field with fellow students. Close to downtown, SPU also makes a convenient place to begin to explore Seattle.  

Students also can find out about opportunities for engagement, support, and services through the Stay Smart e-newsletter they receive each Thursday in their SPU email inbox. (This replaced the Smart Start e-newsletter students, faculty, staff, and families received during the summer.)  

Finally, encourage your student to visit a couple of great websites, including the Office of Student Life and our Student Resource Hub. These sites house information and links for students to find what they need to succeed at SPU.

Video: Faith in U: SPU is rooted in faith


As you may have heard, beginning next fall, SPU is cutting undergraduate tuition by 25% to make college more affordable for students and their families. Lowered tuition is just one way that we’re showing students and families we have faith in them. This video, featuring current students, is a first look at our new “Faith in U” campaign to convey to potential students what is so special about life at SPU.

Advice from a career counselor — and SPU parent

The college years are a wild ride — and I don’t mean for the students. It may be wilder for us parents watching them navigate their new world.

As the parent of two college-aged kids, and as part of the Center for Career and Calling, I know the last thing my kids want from me is career advice. I have a business major who’s discovered he’s an artist, and a fashion designer who’s discovered she likes business and entrepreneurship better. Read these four tips from SPU mom and career counselor Lori Brown.

student counseling center

Student Counseling Center debuts “Let’s Talk” for students

A virtual drop-in consultation service, “Let’s Talk,” is now providing SPU students an informal conversation with a counselor, without going to counseling.

Available on Fridays during Autumn Quarter, 2:30–4 p.m., “Let’s Talk” is designed for undergraduate students who:

  • Want a casual, brief, one-time conversation with a counselor
  • Want quick tips to manage a specific problem
  • Have a concern about a friend
  • Need help finding a resource
  • Are curious about what it’s like to talk to a counselor

The 15- to 20-minute informal sessions are free, and no appointment is necessary. For more information, visit the “Let’s Talk” website.

Behold! A reimagined Sacred Sounds of Christmas

This year SPU's renowned Sacred Sounds of Christmas is coming to your living room. Featuring instrumental, solo, and choral performances from our nationally recognized alumni and student musicians, this beloved annual event will also include personal stories of God's hand in the lives of people in the SPU community.

Save the date and time — Saturday, Dec. 12, 7 p.m. — and join us as we celebrate Christ's birth in a whole new way.

What happens when a student is in isolation or quarantine at SPU?

If an SPU student tests positive for COVID-19, what happens? And what’s the difference between isolation and quarantine?

SPU has developed policies to address both situations — and continue to serve students if it happens to them. Check out the latest isolation/quarantine protocols and read the specifics about meals, laundry, and mail.

Notes from Student Financial Services

The 2020–21 Free Application for Student Financial Aid (FAFSA)

Believe it or not, it is already time to start applying for financial aid for the 2021–22 academic year. All students must submit a new FAFSA each academic year. The 2021–22 FAFSA will ask families and students for 2019 tax and income information, as well as current investment and asset information as of the date the FAFSA is filed.

The priority deadline for Early Action first-time freshmen is Nov. 1, 2020; regular first-time freshmen is March 1, 2021; Early Action new transfers is April 1, 2021; and new transfers is July 1, 2021. Current SPU students who will be continuing their studies in 2021–22 should file the FAFSA by April 1, 2021.

For more information about the FAFSA process, please visit the SFS website.

It’s not too late to sign up for the annual payment plan!

The eight-month payment plan application is available through Nov. 1. Visit the SFS payment plan website for more information.

Upcoming events

Note: All times are Pacific time.

Engagement Webinar Series: Part 4
Thursday, Oct. 29
6–7 p.m.

Join the provost and SPU faculty in this last of four parent and families engagement Q&A webinars. Watch the first webinars, register for this event, and direct questions to to be included in this final webinar.

Winter Quarter registration
Nov. 2–5

Veterans Day
Wednesday, Nov. 11

No classes, offices closed.

Final day of instruction 
Wednesday, Nov. 18

Note: Thursday–Tuesday, Nov. 19–24, will be the final exam or last meeting for evening classes.

Autumn Quarter final exams  
Friday–Tuesday, Nov. 20–24

Residence halls close for Christmas Break  
Wednesday, Nov. 25

Move-out deadline is 10 a.m.

Christmas Break for students
Nov. 26–Jan. 4

Behold! A Sacred Sounds of Christmas Virtual Experience
Saturday, Dec. 12
7 p.m.

You are invited to this joyous interactive celebration of Christmas, filled with intimate and inspiring performances and compelling stories from some of our most gifted alumni, students, and faculty. For more information, visit the website.

Academic calendars

SPU academic calendars, including important deadlines, final exam schedules, holidays, and academic highlights for 2020–21. 

Engage Events

Renowned national and international speakers, some of Seattle’s most engaging theatre performances, memorable concerts, outstanding athletic competitions. Explore upcoming events.