Housing guidelines implemented

Office of Residence Life puts new guidelines into effect for Spring quarter

Julia Herman, Assistant News Editor

a man stands behind a car with a hand truck
Blake Dahlin
First year student Rafael Domingo had to move from Hill Hall to Emerson Hall during the relocation of students who chose to remain on-campus for spring quarter.

As Seattle Pacific University enters into the spring quarter, there have been many changes implemented as the university continues to navigate the impacts that the outbreak of COVID-19 has on campus.

Along with the changes made with class sessions taking place online, SPU has also made changes with the on-campus living situation by creating guidelines for students to follow. Additionally, new rooming assignments have been created in response to the number of students returning and to abide by King County guidelines.

The number of students living on campus has declined drastically, going from a little over 1,400 last spring to only around 300-350 students living on campus this spring.

All students that chose to remain in the dorms have been consolidated into Emerson and Arnett Halls. The university has been using the guidelines that King County has provided to keep those living in the dorms safe.

“We have been working very closely with Seattle U and UW, and with King County,” Chuck Strawn, Dean of Students for Community Life, said on a Zoom call with The Falcon. “So we are following the guidelines provided from the King County Department of Health and that’s been in all the emails that we have been sending out.”

Many other regulations have been put into place:
only the person who lives in the dorm room can be in there
only one person at a time is allowed in the kitchen area while cooking and they clean before and after use lounges and study rooms are closed residents cannot linger in the hallways.

A empty dining hall.
Blake Dahlin
Gwinn commons, normally crowded with students catching up after spring break travel, is empty. Students with meal plans are receiving to-go meals to eat at their rooms.

Students are also expected to keep their living areas sanitized and clean. These guidelines have been posted around the residence halls on the walls and doors on each floor, as well as sent in emails.

In an email from Residence Life Director Gabe Jacobson wrote that these guidelines might not be permanent as the county continues to provide additional orders to keep students safe.

“Again, these guidelines might change at some point during the quarter, and are in place to ensure we can have the privilege of housing students this Spring,” Jacobson wrote.

According to Strawn, even though these circumstances are not ideal, he believes that SPU is doing its best with providing housing for its students who cannot go home or who wanted to stay in the Seattle area during this time.

“I really think there are some folks who are going to be thankful that they can be back on campus,” Strawn said. “Thankful for all the work that Dr. Jordan, housing and residence life have done.”

“But it is going to be hard, and I know that. But my hope is that students who have chosen to be back on campus know what they have gotten themselves into.”

These guidelines were recommended by the county for the safety of the students, but they ask for students to consistently be alone, which can be isolating for some students.

“It’s a difficult situation. I completely understand the need for it,” junior Rachel Wilson said. “But, it’s impossible to not feel lonely and isolated. It definitely has the potential to create issues like depressed mood and anxiety.”

An empty dorm building.
Blake Dahlin
Hill Hall, along with Moyer and Ashton Halls, will remain empty for the remainder of spring quarter. The majority of students living on campus withdrew from campus housing following the move to online learning for spring quarter.

Strawn said that, even as residents social distance and follow the guidelines, the leadership on campus is still there to check in with them. There are also opportunities to gather with others without being in physical contact with others, such as chapel which is streaming every Tuesday morning and the virtual events being put on by the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership (OSIL), such as movie nights and a dance.

“So RAs and SMCs are still encouraged to engage with students. They can’t necessarily put on events because students can’t gather together. But RAs, SMCs, OSIL and UMIN [University Ministries] are doing a lot of things to keep folks connected virtually,” Strawn said.

As SPU residents move through this quarter with the new guidelines, Strawn said there is hope that this will not last for the whole quarter, but until then students need to follow the guidelines because King County believes that it is what will keep students safe.

“I am hopeful that if the governor changes his guidance then the county will as well. If the county changes its guidance then 100% we are going to start going back to ways to make better connections,” Strawn said.

“How great will it be when we can get back together in the Loop. That is our hope but until then we will be following what the county tells us to do.”


Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that student Rachel Wilson was a sophomore and not a junior.