Reignite The Mission Convenes

At Seattle University, students are not shy about speaking up about policies that seem unfair. Last spring, several issues arose on Seattle U’s campus that prompted a group of students to vocalize their concerns on these issues to the administration by starting an on-campus rally known as Reignite the Mission.

In addition to the rally, the students also created a Facebook event called Reignite the Mission, where students could air their grievances with the Seattle U administration. Pressing topics included the university’s decision not to divest, the unionization of adjunct faculty, and the tobacco-free campus initiative. The administration’s cancellation of Senior Streak, a long-time tradition, also fueled complaints among students. Reignite the Mission was a call for the university to stay true to its mission statement.

“If the student body feels that their voice is not being heard, they have more than every right to try to voice their opinion to the administration in some way,” said Student Government of Seattle University President Eric Sype. “However, the majority of grievances portrayed in the Facebook event were not factually correct.”

A lack of thorough research on the details of administrative decisions may have contributed to Reignite the Mission’s limited success in policy change last year. There are several sources available for students to find accurate information on these issues, including Seattle U’s website. Additionally, SGSU can help connect students to the appropriate people on campus who are able to discuss student concerns.

“As a student body our voice will be heard, but our voice will be diminished if we come to the administration without basic fact checking,” Sype said.

This year, junior Brigid Scannell and sophomore Amanda Chavez founded a new club, which shares the same name as the student movement. The club was created as a way for students to express their concerns over issues on campus and become more involved in creating change within the university.

“The event [last year] was a collective coming together of a bunch of different issues on campus, and it was awesome,” Scannell said. “Part of the reason we started this club was because we feel the university could use a platform for intersectional dialogue to understand how all of these changes that are needed relate to one another.”

This year, the issues that the new club is focusing on divestment, unionization and sexual assault policies on campus. Reignite the Mission is also addressing the work being done by Sustainable Student Action.

The club will be putting on a speaker series throughout the year so that students can learn more about how these different issues intersect and what can be done about them. There are already some faculty members at Seattle U who have agreed to speak, and the club is reaching out to several local activists as well. The first of these talks will be taking place in November.

The club is also hoping to meet with President Fr. Stephen Sundborg, S.J. soon so that they can introduce themselves and explain what the club is hoping to accomplish. Once the club has its first meeting with all the members, they create events around the issues that students are most passionate about and stimulate dialogue between students and the administration. The speakers will help to further inform students about what is going on in the community, and how they can be active in creating change.

“One of the main focuses of us as a club is to connect students at Seattle U with not just policies at Seattle U, but the impact that Seattle U has on the greater community and the different spheres of activism that are present in Seattle,” Chavez said.
The club is currently reaching out to activists in the community to participate in a panel that will engage with students this February.

Both the Reignite the Mission event that started last spring and the newly-organized club demonstrate that the student body wants its voice to be heard in regard to how the administration has dealt and is dealing with specific issues on campus.

“I think the fact that the club exists shows that students really care about Seattle University’s mission and with any type of institution, checks and balances are extremely necessary,” Sype said. “I don’t think there will be any pushback from the university because the club is a very well-intentioned group of individuals that are trying to make sure we are fulfilling our mission.”