Real Life

What's Happening: 15 Events You Can Count On

During the school year, you won't find much open space on our event calendar. SPU has public lectures, NCAA Division II games, dances, job fairs, film screenings, and more. Here are five beloved occasions from each quarter to give you a peek at life outside of class.

Students enjoy Tradition each year at SPU.

Above, students enjoy the festivities at SPU's yearly Tradition event.

Autumn Quarter


If you come to SPU without knowing a soul, fear not. Fellow students will haul your stuff from the minivan to your new room; teach you about campus clubs, activities, and traditions; and volunteer alongside you at CityQuest. Orientation is a string of activities that acquaint you with the campus and Seattle. After you walk a mile with hundreds of other students to see your first Falcon soccer game, you’ll feel like part of the flock — and that’s before classes even begin.


Did you know that SPU owns a retreatcenter on nearby Whidbey Island? With beach access, turn-of-the-century housing, and a wealth of furry and feathered friends (outside!), it’s the perfect place to make memories with the other people on your hall. Make sure to sign up when it’s your res hall’s turn to hop on the ferry.

Commuter TNT

We’re not talking about dynamite, although singing, “I throw my hands up in the air sometimes” could be a part of a Commuter TNT night. In this case, TNT stands for “try new things.” Past activities include karaoke, pizza and puzzles, hanging out with therapy dogs, or playing a rousing game of Cornhole (aka a beanbag toss). The events, sometimes high-energy and sometimes educational, help students who live off-campus forge friendships.

Nonprofit Career Fair

SPU students have a strong desire to work for justice, so it’s no surprise that SPU’s nonprofit career fair was one of the first in Seattle. You’ll meet representatives from organizations like World Vision, March of Dimes, PATH, and dozens of other places where you may want to volunteer, intern, or work.


Santa never misses a Tradition, and neither should you. After you frost a few cookies, bust out your blinking reindeer tie, and dance to live music underneath a steady fall of fake snow suds, you will depart for Christmas break brimming with holiday cheer.

SPU's Talent Show

SPU's talent show attracts many quality acts.

Winter Quarter

Life After College Week

The Center for Career and Calling is available to help year-round as you prepare for life after college. But this one week will help shift your future focus into high gear. Outside speakers come and talk about managing your money, how to negotiate a salary, and how to get your next job.

Talent Show

Different talent nights pop up throughout the school year, but the big kahuna is the Homecoming Talent Show. Think stage lights, a packed-out Royal Brougham Pavilion, and savvy hosts and judges. Organizers audition and select acts, who then vie for cash prizes. It’s a tradition that’s been going strong for more than a quarter century. And the winners are talked about for the rest of the school year.

Ante-Up Dance Battle

Watch some of the best hip-hop dancers from SPU and the surrounding area duke it out on the dance floor. The entire audience pulses with the beat as competitors flip, spin, pop, and drop. After this event, you may be inspired to join Ante-Up, the popular hip-hop club for all skill levels.

Etiquette Dinner

What do you do if you get the hiccups at a fancy dinner? Or how do you really know which bread plate is yours? Etiquette experts cover a myriad of questions related to decorum and protocol. After you’ve finished your three-course meal, you will be prepared to interview or network with food in hand.

Hall Events
February and March

Winter Quarter is the time to cut out cardboard props and work on group choreography (when you’re not studying, that is). Each residence hall puts on an epic event for the rest of campus. With live music performances, skit competitions, film festivals, and more, you’ll have plenty to do all quarter.

Students enjoy SPU's Shapadooah.

At Shapadooah, SPU's campus transforms into a veritable carnival.

Spring Quarter

Resurrection Week

Students are usually gone for Easter (it is on a Sunday, after all). University Ministries wanted a chance to celebrate this pivotal Christian holiday with the entire campus, so Resurrection Week was born. Great speakers are flown to SPU. Art installations and interactive prayer stations are set up. And SPU’s weekly worship services honor Jesus’ resurrection all week long.

Arnett Lip Sync Battle

These days, everyone’s pretending to sing. At SPU, a winter lip sync competition (Ashton Cup) has been on the docket for decades. But just recently, Arnett Hall added their own lip sync scuffle. The students from each Arnett floor challenge another floor from a different residence hall on campus. You don’t need to be blessed with pipes to be SPU’s next Emma Stone or Jimmy Fallon.

Hall Balls

Celebrate the end of the year in style. Dance, eat, and take in a classy Seattle locale. Past venues have included the Space Needle, a boat cruise, and the Experience Music Project/ Science Fiction Museum. You’ll feel like a socialite, whichever hall you call your own.

Outdoor Recreation Program Rafting Trip

SPU’s OutdoorRecreation Program makes it easy to make the most of the Pacific Northwest. You can rent camping gear or rock climb at a local gym on the cheap. In the spring, ORP leads an outing to the Wenatchee River. You’ll paddle through both calm water and churning rapids on a safe and affordable trip that’s only a few hours away.


Shapadooah got its name 10 years ago from a student event planner. It was her made-up family word meaning, “random concoctions of wonderful things.” It’s a spot-on descriptor of the fair-like picnic. Dunk tanks, baby animals, photo booths, free food, inflatable games, and climbing walls are some of the “wonderful things” that lure alumni back year after year.