In August the Office of Residence Life, in collaboration with colleagues from Career and Employment Services (CES), Office of Academic Advising, Collins Memorial Library, and the Office of Fellowships and Scholarships, greeted students from the Class of 2017 with the inaugural SophoMORe Welcome Back Weekend: A Meaningful Opportunity to Reconnect.
The weekend included more than 20 activities, from learning how to throw a boomerang, to tasking local teas from Mad Hat Tea Company, to kayaking and paddle boarding on the Sound. In addition to all sophomores moving in over the weekend, more than 150 attended the first Sophomore Brunch in the new dining facility, Upper Marshall Hall, and an additional 50+ attended the first "Welcome Hack," an afternoon of games and connecting with the Resident Student Association and ASUPS. The weekend's success is just the start of our renewed efforts to provide programming and support for our sophomore students.
Of particular note was the CES Diggin' My Career program. CES generously donated 100 cacti and succulents to sophomore students moving in, reminding students that career planning can begin at any time at Puget Sound. Students could then pick up a Challenge Card from res life staff members or CES, complete the career-related activities on the card, and be entered in opportunities to win prizes.
We look forward to continuing the SophoMORe move-in tradition and building on the success of 2014.
The annual Puget Pacer 5K took place on Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014. With a turnout of 110 participants, the number of runners and walkers nearly doubled from 2013. Proceeds from the event fund Center for Intercultural and Civic Engagement (CICE) youth programs, including tutoring and mentoring programs. For information about CICE youth programs or how you can get involved, contact email@example.com or visit the CICE offices, located at 3219 N. 13th St.
In January Puget Sound hosted a public, moderated, and explicitly interfaith conversation about the relationship and tensions between Israel and Palestine. This event resulted from the collaboration of Associated Ministry (AM) of Tacoma with staff members from Puget Sound, the Temple Beth-El, and UW-Tacoma's Muslim Student Association.
The conversation revealed both the great potential and the difficult edges that exist when engaging a public forum with an internationally interfaith lens. The keynote speaker was Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, a faculty member at Seattle University and former chair of the National Council of Churches. Kinnamon delivered an excellent and concise outline of the history of the land now known as Israel and Palestine, and the complex and problematic relationships between the Israeli government and the various Arab constituencies often grouped together as "Palestinian." Kinnamon also provided a series of observations on places where Jews, Christians, and Muslims might agree in relationship to the conflict in Israel and Palestine, and suggested guidelines for healthy and honest interfaith dialogue.
Following Kinnamon's keynote address, the 50+ participants (mostly Christian, Jewish, or Muslim) gathered around tables to eat and respond to facilitated questions developed by Rabbi Bruce Kadden of Temple Beth-El. Table facilitators included Puget Sound members Judith Kay, Dave Wright ’96, Mark Gilbert ’17, and Jane Sadetsky ’17. These conversations ranged from frustrating to illuminating. No dramatic solutions were found, but new friendships and connections were made. Many left the event with a commitment to ongoing conversation and interest in meeting neighbors and community members from a broader range of faith traditions than their own.
Kadden, Wright, and Turan Kayougly from UW-T have formed a planning team committed to continue working to foster follow-up to this conversation. They plan to expand the dialogues to include outreach to communities beyond Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. On the horizon is a campus-community interfaith summit in April. Watch for more information as that date approaches.
You can always keep an eye on Puget Sound's interfaith/spiritual life initiatives by subscribing to our bimonthly email newsletter, Intersections, by emailing CICE@pugetsound.edu with that request or by following CICE on Facebook at facebook.com/SSSJatPugetSound.
Each year DSA staff members collect short descriptions of ways in which we encounter students demonstrating greatness, or telling us about ways they have learned from their involvement with student affairs. These “million dollar moments” are often surprising, poignant, and/or funny.
In one of the days leading up to the event, a student leader say, "All this work for three hours," with a stressful sigh. While I was 90 percent sure it was said our of jest, I made a mental note to follow up.
As we were cleaning up after the event, I leaned over to the student and I asked, "So, three hours later… Was it worth it?" We laughed, and the student shared how excited they were the event was so well attended and that everyone had a good time.
This moment was a reminder to help students see the big picture and their impact as student leaders. A program isn't simply "three hours." It's an opportunity to meet new people or an alternative to having fun with alcohol. It wasn't until this student experienced the full room and heard the laughter of peers that they truly understood the positive impact they had on campus.