Seattle Pacific University's Student Newspaper

The Falcon

Seattle Pacific University's Student Newspaper

The Falcon

Seattle Pacific University's Student Newspaper

The Falcon

Quiet before the storm

Student leaders gather as academic year begins
Students leaders participate in an activity at the 2023 Leadership Conference at Seattle Pacific University in Seattle, Wash., on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2023. (Rio Giancarlo)

Students are flooding onto college campuses nationwide — returners connecting with classmates and professors, newcomers stepping in the uncertain territory that will become their home. Seattle Pacific University is no different this fall, but some students have been on campus for weeks already.

This year’s resident advisors — overseers of community and on-campus housing – have been training and preparing both themselves and their spaces since mid-August. Sadie Hampton, sophomore special education major, is an RA in Emerson Hall this year.

“It’s all community building and essential information to be a good RA,” Hampton said. “Every day we have training sessions on how to handle situations with residents and how to best support them while they live here.”

Student leaders from Associated Students of Seattle Pacific, the Falcon, STORP – the combination of last year’s Student Union Board and Outdoor Recreation Program – and more SPU organizations gathered for the 2023 Student Leadership Conference.

Monday night consisted of welcome speeches, a meme competition and an ice cream social.

University President Dr. Deana Porterfield speaksto students at the 2023 Leadership Conference at Seattle Pacific University in Seattle, Wash., on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2023. (Rio Giancarlo)

The next three days brimmed with training activities and various panels, one of which included a speech by Dr. Porterfield. She announced her theme for this year, based in Isaiah 43:15-19: ‘God is doing a new thing’.

“As student leaders, you are part of what God’s going to do on this campus this year,” Porterfield said. “You have the ability to encourage the rest of our student body to not just get involved, but also explore who they are in their relationship with Jesus Christ.”

Conference also included individual team time. Student leaders reacquainted themselves with campus and familiarized themselves with recent developments, which include the recent closure of former-first year dormitory Ashton Hall.

Chuck Strawn, the dean of students, is on the Board of Student Media and was a large part of the conference.

“We have a whole building that isn’t online because we’re doing renovations. With that, our first-year area is going to be Arnett and Hill, not, as it was last year, Arnett and Ashton,” Strawn said.

Due to institutional-wide budget cuts and Ashton’s closure, there are 12 less RA positions. However, as positions through student media, ASSP and University Ministries are funded through student fees, the institutional budget does not impact them and internal changes are largely student driven.

In an additional attempt to prioritize efficiency and budget needs, SPU’s student-run yearbook, Cascade, will be absorbed into SPU’s student-run newspaper, The Falcon. The yearbook going forward will be found on an online platform, allowing for lower costs and higher creativity.

“If you notice anything, you’ll notice that it’s better,” Strawn said.

Student leaders have spent days and, for some, weeks preparing for the arrival of new and returning students. What exactly new students experienced in their first few days was carefully planned.

As the conference wrapped up, student leaders enjoyed the last moments of calm before new students arrived. Lily Copeland, a sophomore majoring in business, attended conference.

“It was a really cool experience. I learned a lot about leadership and what it means to be a student leader at SPU,” Copeland said. “It was also just a great atmosphere, and I felt a really strong sense of community.”

New students checked in, moved in and situated themselves on campus with the help of student leaders and staff. Orientation, consisting of various panels and tours, lasted through the weekend and was quickly followed by Involve-O-Rama, a crowded show-and-tell for all of SPU’s clubs.

Students participate in an activity with their group at the 2023 Leadership Conference at Seattle Pacific University in Seattle, Wash., on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2023. (Rio Giancarlo )

As the first week of classes began, there were various events to help new students understand what resources are available to them and how to access them. Library hours, tutoring, the student success center and more were all highlighted during Welcome Week.

“The energy continues,” Strawn said. “Students don’t have to catch everything in that one moment. They can come back and learn a little bit more at their pace.”

As the academic year officially commences, students should pay attention to what resources are available and what changes could affect them.

“I’m definitely most excited to actually meet all my residents, start building friendships and figuring out how to help them have a good time,” Hampton said.

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About the Contributors
Ella Beth Sessions
Ella Beth Sessions, News Editor
Ella Beth is a second year english literature and honors liberal arts double major with a minor in journalism. She occasionally finds time to pursue her hobbies, which include reading, biking and crafting.
Rio Giancarlo
Rio Giancarlo, Chief Photographer
Rio is a sophomore visual communication major with a minor in photography. Rio manages a team of photographers and illustrators to supply content for the greater SPU media groups. Before he took his current position he worked as a staff photographer, mostly covering sports. When not working for The Falcon he works for the SPU athletic department and as a freelance photographer. In his free time you can find him skiing, or wishing he was skiing. 
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