UMIN helping students process election

UMin intends to create a positive atmosphere throughout in-person and virtual opportunities

Emma Brown, Staff Reporter

Tim Strachan in front of the vote sign located at Tiffany Loop. Tim is working on a project to help students move through the voting process this year, and to provide a space for students to come together during the election. (Davery Bettger)

During election week, University Ministries is giving Seattle Pacific students a chance to take a break from the stresses of the election.

Beginning November 2nd and lasting until the 9th, University Ministries will have opportunities for students to decompress with in person and virtual activities such as a prayer labyrinth and virtual sessions with members of the University Ministries’ team.

“Our hope is to get students out of their dorm rooms, to get students out of their spaces, to just be able to be outside a little bit more,” Tim Strachan, ASSP Vice President of Ministries, said. “Our hope is that [since] the space that they’ve utilized probably holds a lot of emotions in it, they’d just be able to get out.”

Two of these events, the Stations of the Cross and prayer labyrinth, will be available beginning the 3rd for students to go through on their own time, where they can reflect on and process their feelings surrounding the election. Members of the UMin team will also be available for drop-in sessions around campus if students want an opportunity to talk to someone face-to-face. 

Through this, University Ministries hopes to keep a positive atmosphere on campus despite the conflict and negative feelings that surround the election for some. The goal is to keep campus a tight-knit community where students can feel welcome. University Ministries priority is to make sure that students feel validated in their feelings during this time.

“Some people might be really excited about the presidential election and some of the propositions that get passed, and other people may be in a place where we have to grieve and mourn a little bit. So, I think for us we wanted to be able to model how we can walk through life together in that space,” Chaplain Lisa Ishihara said.

Most of these activities and events are intended for Christain and non-Christian students alike to be able to participate in and use to help them through this time. In person and virtual drop-in sessions, for example, are opportunities for any students struggling during this time to talk to someone. 

“Our campus pastors are there for students to vent to, to talk to, to ask questions to, even if students aren’t asking questions that are related to faith. They are there to meet students where they’re at,” Strachan said. “I think the aspect of getting out and moving and maybe utilizing that space as a reflection space, even if it’s not spiritual, is still something that could benefit anyone.”

Depending on the needs of students, these opportunities and events may extend past the ninth.

“If we’re feeling like there’s a bigger need and we’re in a spot where we’re feeling like we can provide care, [we’ll] do it,” Strachan explained.

“We’re not only in election season, we’re in election season in COVID,” Ishihara added. “And that just creates a really unique dynamic that I think can actually lend itself to being alone, unless we choose to not be alone. And so for me, it’s really the invitation to students to say, ‘We want you to be connected, we want you to know you’re not alone.’”

For more information, visit the Office of University Ministries’ website or Instagram page, @spu_umin.