Student Affairs Newsletter, Issue 2

Community service and social justice programs evolve on campus

It's rare for the restructuring of a campus department to coincide with a major evolution in theory and practice at the national level, but in summer 2013, that's exactly what developed at NASPA and Puget Sound. As we recognized Jack Pearce Droge’s retirement from her role as the founding director of the Community Involvement and Action Center, we restructured our staff to combine community service and social justice efforts within the Office of Spirituality, Service, and Social Justice. NASPA simultaneously convened the first national conference on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (CLDE, pronounced “Clyde”) in an effort to develop new horizons in theory and practice related to civic engagement.

At its core CLDE is an expansion of civic engagement beyond traditional service-learning structures to include a broader range of volunteerism, engaged citizenship, and committed social action. Thanks to the ongoing work of CIAC and long-term programs, such as Urban Plunge and our MLK Day of Service, we’re already ahead of the curve. In the next year, watch for new emphases and opportunities—a new, easy pathway to voter engagement through* (free for students, faculty, and staff!), a Civic Immersion Program that we will pilot to connect a small group of student leaders with manageable but sustained relationships with local nonprofits, and a potential expansion of our alternative break programs to increase relationships with communities often invisible on our campus. If you (or the student groups you work with) would like to learn more, please contact Dave Wright ’96 ( or Sarah Shives ( is a great time for an exciting new evolution in our civic engagement practices!

* As of fall 2015, Puget Sound is no longer in partnership with TurboVote. If you have questions about voter registration, please contact Skyler Bihl at

Voice of a Lifetime Logger: Zach Lam ’11

Once a student staffer with the Office of Spirituality, Service, and Social Justice, Zach Lam ’11 is now the educational programs coordinator for the REACH Center in Tacoma. We reached out to Zach to ask about how working in student affairs informed his postgrad experiences:

"I wish we all had had a chance to develop meaningful connections outside the academic community from the very beginning of our time at UPS. The academics are why we go to college, but the dialogue between the academy and the real world was critical to my achieving a better understanding of both."

Read more of what Zach had to say.


Secure and comfortable housing is vital to student success in college. On-campus housing provides the benefits of proximity to classes, contact with peers and live-in staff members, and access to campus events and resources. In an effort to best serve our current sophomore- and junior-standing students, and encourage their continued engagement in our campus living-learning community, the Office of Residence Life is coordinating an Early Decision Housing Selection process. This is a great opportunity for upper-division students to lock in their housing for the 2014–15 academic year. Students who participate in this process have the chance to:

  • Homestead and stay in their current housing assignment for another year
  • Participate in the Theme House program, where students group themselves by shared interests and live in one of many campus-owned houses
  • Join the evolving academic-residential community in Commencement Hall
  • Choose their rooms in the Early Decision Lottery, held the week of Feb. 3–7

Students eligible to participate in the Early Decision Housing Selection will be sent information via email, and will be able to access to applications through our residence life Web page. It is our hope to use this process to help students stay involved in the “safe, inclusive, and vibrant living community” we aim to provide.

Student Conduct: Perspectives from Student Leaders

Student conduct staff members focus on engaging students who have potentially violated the Student Integrity Code. We also work closely with student leaders who participate on the Peer Board, Greek Community Standards Board, and Honor Court. Students holding peers accountable for behaviors that disrupt the learning community of Puget Sound creates educational impact that is often much more powerful than hearings by administrators. Our student hearing officers develop strong understandings of civility, discourse, and engaged citizenship. Below are some of their thoughts on what they have learned from their experiences:

“Being a part of Puget Sound’s Peer Board has definitely opened my eyes to the university’s standards and the reasoning behind them. Seeing the conduct process from this point of view has helped me appreciate our staff so much more, as well as to see how much they care for our students’ well-being.”
Sofie Arroyo ’14, Honor Court member

“I have learned much more about the ‘behind the scenes’ side of conduct here at Puget Sound and it has helped me feel more connected to campus in understanding the policies that are important to us as a community.”
Melanie Young ’15, Greek Community Standards Board member

“Participating as a member of Honor Court has taught me the value of the university’s policies and the many effects every student’s actions can have on one another.”
Tim Pogar ’16, Honor Court member

Beta Theta Pi Returns to Puget Sound

This fall witnessed the return of Beta Theta Pi to campus. Originally founded in 1963 at Puget Sound, Beta has a long tradition of involved student leaders, athletes, club members, and outstanding community members. Beta plans to bring this tradition back. Supported by an 11-person alumni association and a 10-person advisory team (two members of which are Puget Sound staff members), Beta kicked off recruitment efforts in early October.

Recruiting on the core values of mutual assistance, trust, integrity, responsible conduct, and intellectual growth, Beta is looking for gentlemen, leaders, and scholars who have a desire to make a lasting impact on the Puget Sound community. Founding a fraternity is an incredible opportunity to leave a legacy, and Beta is working to recruit members who will build an affirming, positive, and values-based experience. The founding fathers are seniors, juniors, and sophomores with a combined GPA of 3.4. Additionally new members include students who currently work for the Office of Residence Life (RA/RPA/RSA) and ASUPS, as well as members of the athletic community. Academically the new recruits represent a mix of vocal performance, psychology, BLP, physics, economics, and other majors/minors.

With the start of the spring semester, Beta secured its first formal recruitment class and currently has 31 members. For more information about Beta's return to Puget Sound, or if you have questions about the fraternity, contact Martin at 206.240.4840 or

My million-dollar moment

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.

"At the behest of the Student Alumni Committee and unknown to me, two Puget Sound grads (Jeff Haydon ’97 being executive director for one of the world’s oldest and most esteemed classical music events, the Ojai Music Festival; and Gretchen DeGroot ’99, a director with NW Folklife, One Reel, and now the Seattle Center) were invited back to campus to visit with classes in the School of Music and School of Business and Leadership. They gave pep talks to aspiring entrepreneurs and performers, and concluded their stay with a presentation to faculty members and students titled, “Spectrum of Opportunity: The Intersection of Business and Art.” That subject is dear to my heart, and their presentation was filled with great photos of their work with famed classical artists who performed before huge Memorial Stadium crowds at Bumbershoot. My million-dollar moment was when they concluded their presentation stating that THEIR million-dollar moments were many—and they all started with their programming experience out of Student Programs."