Category Archives: Uncategorized

Beginning of the year!

Classes haven’t been in session for long at the University of Washington, but the ASUW is already busy hosting events, providing services to students, and politically lobbying on behalf of students.

Over the summer, Office of Government Relations Director Austin Wright Pettibone was able to meet with dozens of city and state legislators to remind them of the student perspective. Wright-Pettibone and the ASUW Board of Directors wrote a letter to the Seattle City Council on housing affordability, seeing media coverage and action from Mayor Ed Murray. Murray recently installed a new investigative housing task-force comprised of 28 community members, and included OGR Assistant Director Mitch Brown on the list.

During Dawg Daze we held a variety of events around campus including a pizza bake from the Student Food Cooperative, informational involvement sessions from the Office of Volunteer Opportunities, and large events such as Quad Flicks and Fall Fling from Arts & Entertainment. We saw an estimated 4,000 students at Fall Fling this year!

Looking ahead, we urge students to get involved now! We have an abundance of opportunities available to students looking to develop their skills and give back to their fellow students. Almost every Diversity Commission as well as the Student Health Consortium, Arts & Entertainment, and Rainy Dawg Radio are looking for interns or volunteers!  Coordinate models for the Everybody Every Body Fashion Show, host your own talk radio show, advocate on behalf of your unique community, or create new campus policies through the Student Senate. All opportunities are listed with applications at

As employees, we spent 3 days together coordinating goals, brainstorming effective outreach strategies, and getting to know one another. We’ve got a number of events already in motion and can’t wait to see as many students as possible engaged with our programs.

As an Association, this year we will strive to engage all voices, act as an intersection for cross-campus collaboration, and stay accountable to the students.

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An Open Letter to the Seattle City Council

The ASUW Office of Government Relations and Board of Directors are taking an active part in the development of the U District Urban Design Framework and Strategic Plan. We urge the Seattle City Council to not only keep in mind student affordability, but to include us in discussions and establish a task-force to investigate different housing options. For more on Student Affordability, check out our Meet Us in The Middle Report, published May 2014. Please contact OGR Director, Austin Wright-Pettibone at, with any questions.

Preserving Student Housing Affordability in the City of Seattle:

An Open Letter to City Leadership from the Associated Students of the University of Washington

Students of the University of Washington have faced new challenges with Seattle’s recent rent hikes. Rising housing costs, in addition to soaring tuition and student debt levels, have had significant negative impacts on affordability at UW[i]. Now, as the city prepares to rezone the U District, we, the Associated Students of the University of Washington, call upon the Council and Mayor Ed Murray to incorporate student voices into the city planning process and establish affordability for students as a primary concern.

Specifically, we ask that the City take three concrete steps:

  • Authorize the formation of a Student Housing Affordability Task Force to advise the Department of Planning and Development in the affordable housing needs of students.  We ask that this group be charged specifically with looking into the regulatory policy surrounding the U District Urban Design Framework, and be authorized to present their recommendations to City Council and DPD officials.
  • Install a UW student representative on the Mayor’s Housing Affordability Task Force
  • Ensure a reasonable proportion of funding is set aside in development projects to develop student-eligible affordable housing.

Without such measures in place, students will either be displaced or driven further into debt by the proposed rezoning. We believe that it is the joint responsibility of the city and our university to provide adequate and affordable housing for the 44,000 students of the University of Washington[ii].

Already, plummeting state support has made it harder for us to finance our education. With a 52% decline in public funding, tuition at UW has risen more than 75% in the past six years, placing an increased burden on ourselves and our families[iii]. Commensurately, average student debt at UW has risen 17%[iv], as have the average number of hours we must work to finance our education[v].

Therefore, it is of great concern to us when proposed plans to develop the University District threaten to further increase the cost burden for students already struggling to access the University[vi].

Some have argued UW should develop additional units of affordable housing priced for students. While we agree with this position and would like to see the University develop additional units, we must also note that neither now, nor at any time in our school’s history, have there been sufficient units to house the entire student community[vii]. The simple truth is that we are expected to live off-campus, and we must have affordable places to live.

Unfortunately, that truth is becoming rapidly unattainable. The average student earns just $763 per month working part time at 20 hours per week[viii]. That money must be allocated to food, books, housing, and tuition in the cases where financial aid does not cover costs. Yet, housing rates are increasing at a rate of more than 7% per quarter[ix], which places current pricing in the University District at or above $1,000 per month/per student[x].

Consequently, even without the rezoning measure, students are forced to use student loans in order to afford housing near our University. At a time when student debt surpasses $1 trillion dollars, we are deeply concerned about housing costs further contributing to student debt.

Unless we take action now, the affordability of our education will continue to decrease at an alarming rate, threatening our vibrant student community. We believe that by working in partnership with local community officials we can find a solution that preserves access and affordability for students, while fitting within the city’s master plan.

We look forward to partnering with the City of Seattle on this issue, and eagerly await the Council’s action on these three requests.


[i] Kutz, Michael; McNerny, Jeff; Badger, Hailey, et al. “Meet us in the Middle: Affordability for the Working Student.” Associated Students of the University of Washington, Seattle: May 14.

[ii] On average, public institutions of the UW’s size tend to house just 25% of students on campus. The rest are expected to live in outside housing, making City-University partnerships critical in maintaining college access.

[iii] Office of Planning & Budgeting.  “Twenty Year History of Tuition & Required Fees.” University of Washington, Seattle.

[iv] Kutz, Michael; McNerny, Jeff; Badger, Hailey, et al. “Meet us in the Middle: Affordability for the Working Student.” Associated Students of the University of Washington, Seattle: May 14.

[v] Ibid.

[vi] “Draft Environmental Impact Statement.” Department of Planning & Development, City of Seattle: April 14.

[vii] The UW’s master housing plan, authorized by the Board of Regents, projects the University will house 21% of students.

[viii] Curtis, Kyle. “ASUW Wage Summary.” Associated Students of the University of Washington, Seattle: 1 Jul 14.

[ix] Bhatt, Sanjay. “Seattle-area apartment rents climb to average $1,284 a month.” Seattle Times, Seattle: 26 Jun 14.

[x] Housing & Food Services. “Market Survey, Private Sector Recap.” University of Washington, Seattle: Sep 2013.

Preserving Student Housing Affordability in the U District

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“Senate Forum Questions Candidates’ Financial Responsibility And Experience”

Read The Daily’s article on the ASUW Senate forum here. Don’t forget that voting starts on May 7th!

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ASUW voter participation breaks record, increases by 32 percent

ASUW is excited to announce that voter turnout among students in the 2011 ASUW elections increased by 32 percent from the previous record in 2010!

The results continue a surge in student engagement in ASUW over the past few years.  7,633 UW students voted, up from 5,785 last year and 3,156 in 2009

Several factors that likely contributed to the big turnout include Continue reading

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Release: UW Board of Regents approves Universal U-PASS

Survey found overwhelming support for program among UW students

SEATTLE, WA – The University of Washington Board of Regents voted Thursday, May 11th to approve a proposal for implementation of a universal student fee to fund the U­PASS program. The proposal was brought forward by the Associated Students of the University of Washington (ASUW), Graduate and Professional Student Senate (GPSS) and UW Commuter Services after a combination of factors caused the program cost to increase in recent years.  ASUW and GPSS sought solutions through the Student Transportation Task Force and conducted a survey of the study body which found 79 percent of UW students in support of a Universal U­PASS fee. Continue reading

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Read the ASUW Annual Report!

ASUW has released its first ever Annual Report to keep students and the UW community informed about our activities and successes from throughout the year.  We would love to hear your thoughts!  Leave a comment or send us an email at today!

Special thanks to the ASUW Publicity & Programming Committee for your hard work in compiling and designing the report!

Download the 2010-2011 ASUW Annual Report

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From the President: Utah’s Michael Young chosen as next UW President

Fellow students,

It was with great enthusiasm that I witnessed the announcement just minutes ago from the UW Board of Regents that Michael Young will be the next President of the University of Washington. He has served as the President of the University of Utah since 2004, and he brings an impressive track record of leadership to the UW:

  • President, University of Utah (2004-2011), during which time UU has led the nation in the number of business startups spawning from university research.
  • Dean, George Washington University Law School (1998-2004), during which time Continue reading
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