Puget Sound has 2,400 undergraduate students and 250 graduate students.
Puget Sound’s 97 acre campus is located in North Tacoma. All buildings are designed in the Tudor Gothic architectural style that simultaneously features the rich history of Puget Sound and the innovative future ahead. Lush greenery is found all over campus—whether it be the many fir trees and groves, or the ivy crawling up the brick buildings. Not only are Puget Sound students a constant presence on campus, but community members often stroll the pathways of Puget Sound with their families and dogs.
Students are only required to live on campus for their first two years at Puget Sound. Over 70% of students choose to live in university housing each year. Living on campus is a great way to reinforce your role as a part of the campus community. Although some students decide to live off campus after two years, over 90% of the student body lives either on campus or within a mile radius of campus.
Over 75% of Puget Sound students come from outside the state of Washington and it is uncommon for students to go home for the weekend. There are always students around campus participating in campus events, attending sporting events and social functions. However, it is not uncommon for students to make a trip to Seattle or one of the national parks nearby from time to time. Check out our Student Life website for more information.
When students chose to leave campus, they can take advantage of several districts within Tacoma, including restaurants, coffee shops, and Pt. Defiance, one of the largest urban parks in the country. Seattle is 35 miles to the north, with world class shopping, dining, and the unique Pike’s Place Market. Students also engage in outdoor pursuits, taking advantage of two national parks within easy driving distance, great skiing in the winter, and camping in the summer.
There are nearly 100 clubs on campus during a given year. While we can't tell you about them all, we can give you sampling of the multitude of opportunities here. Students can get involved in campus media, like The Trail and KUPS "The Sound," or participate in an academic society like the Biology Club or Writers Guild. For student's with social or political passions, you'll find Students for a Sustainable Campus, Relay for Life, and Students for a Free Tibet among many other offerings. Learn about another culture through Hui-o-Hawaii or our Asian and Pacific American Student Union an don't forget about our biggest club on campus - Puget Sound Outdoors! Supporting these clubs (and a fantastic way to get involved at Puget Sound in its own right) is the Associated Students of the University of Puget Sound (ASUPS), our student government. Explore our full list of clubs online to discover how you'll get involved.
It is easy to start a new club. All you need is a faculty advisor and a several other students who are interested.
Students have the several opportunity to get involved right away with student leadership, especially in their residence halls. Residence Hall Association elections will happen in the fall. Elected students participate in Puget Sound's student government, the Associated Students of the University of Puget Sound (ASUPS), by representing their residence hall and quad. Additionally, it is not uncommon for students to step into leadership opportunities in student clubs during their first semesters.
ASUPS has brought numerous artists to campus like Macklemore, Ben Folds, and Jason Mraz. Our School of Music presents over 150 fantastic concerts that feature guest artists from all over the nation and world, renowned faculty, and even accomplished student musicians.
We also have many student-run music ensembles that perform on campus. For instance, we have three a cappella ensembles (Underground Sound, Garden Level, and What She Said), a musical theatre review (Curtain Call), and numerous student-run chamber ensembles.
Our Norton Clapp Theatre offers a range of dramatic productions each year including a faculty-directed play each semester, student-directed One Acts, and a Theater Festival, in addition to other student and faculty led events. All students, regardless of major, are invited to participate and attend the events at Norton Clapp Theatre.
Puget Sound is also home to a variety of gallery shows each year thanks to Kittredge Gallery! They host gallery exhibitions for students as well as regionally and nationally recognized artists. See what show is currently at Kittredge.
Explore our Events Calendar to discover all of our current happenings on campus.
Puget Sound hosts many speakers, through student government, student clubs, and academic departments. In recent years movie director Spike Lee, Carlos Fuentes, football coach Herman Boone (of Remember the Titans fame), and political commentator, columnist, and radio personality Armstrong Williams have spoken on campus. Here is a list of Puget Sound’s endowed lecture series.
The Center for Intercultural and Civic Engagement is the primary connection between the university and the surrounding community, offering tons of opportunities to connect with organizations around Tacoma. For example, many students participate in our mentoring program, Kids Can Do!, where Puget Sound students are paired with young mentees in the Tacoma area.
Additionally, Puget Sound faculty, students, and members of the south Puget Sound community participate in public projects through our Civic Scholarship Project. One of our most popular programs is “The Road Home: Homeless Policy for Pierce County” where professors and students from the Psychology Department collaborate to gather research in efforts to better understand homelessness in Tacoma.
School spirit is strong at Puget Sound. While it manifests itself at sporting events (which are free for students to attend), it also occurs in many facets of campus. Students represent Puget Sound proudly around the country at athletic events, academic conferences, musical performances, and theater performances.
The rooms in the traditional style residence halls are spacious and bright; every room has at least one window, even those in the basement level. All rooms come furnished with a twin-XL length bed, a chest of drawers, closet, bookcase, desk, chair, and both waste and recycling bins for each student. Also, all rooms are cable-ready, offer wireless internet access, and are equipped with a university telephone and a voicemail for each student. Every residence hall also has coin-operated laundry machines, kitchen facilities, study areas, TV lounges, and recreational areas for student use. Learn more about specific residence halls.
The majority of residence halls are single sex by room, with single sex bathrooms on each floor. The exception to this is Seward Hall, a 4 story hall that is single sex by floor.
Once a student is admitted to Puget Sound, they must fill out the housing preference form. The form asks some basic lifestyle questions that are used to pair up incoming students with consideration of medical or health related needs, lifestyle preferences, roommate requests, availability, and placement in specific residential programs.
Students with similar interests, backgrounds, or goals can elect to live together in a themed house. Students develop a living environment around the theme they have selected. Themed houses also host events for the campus community to share the theme with others. Learn more about our themed houses, including current themed houses.
Upperclassmen may choose to live either on or off campus. If living off-campus, there are a number of residential houses available for rent within blocks of campus. Of those students living off campus, about 80 percent live in the North End neighborhood, within one mile of campus. You can find helpful tips regarding looking for housing on our website.
For upperclassmen that choose to live on campus, there are a variety of options from themed options, residence halls, to on campus houses, and Greek houses. A new residence hall for upperclassmen, Commencement Hall, opened in the fall of 2013.
The food at Puget Sound is quite tasty! There is one centralized dining area in Wheelock Student Center that caters to students, faculty, and staff alike. The Diner offers a variety of options at each station everyday. Stations in the Diner include: Italian, Latin America, Asian, Chef’s Table, The Deli, The Grill and Vegetarian/Vegan. There is also a salad bar, cereal bar, and frozen yogurt machine! Learn more about the Diner.
Students can purchase pizza and other yummy snacks at the Cellar—a student-run pizza parlor in the basement of Wheelock Student Center. There are also two cafés on campus; Diversions, on the first floor of Wheelock, and Oppenheimer, in the Thompson Hall courtyard on the west side of campus.
Students have the option of purchasing a meal plan. The meal plan works as a sort of “prepaid debit card”, with an available balance of dining dollars that can be used at the Diner, Diversions Café, Oppenheimer Café, or the Cellar. Students living on campus are required to purchase a meal plan. They are also available for off-campus students. Addition dining dollars can be purchased as needed through the semester on your cascade account as well.