As a Catholic Jesuit University, SeattleU’s ethos calls us to revere the life-giving force of the natural world, to care for our common home as responsible stewards of the planet, and to work for justice so that no peoples are disproportionately affected by environmental degradation.
Seattle University’s commitment to sustainability is grounded in Jesuit values that date back more than 450 years. We take our inspiration from St. Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuits, who encouraged his early companions to “Find God in All Things." In 2015, Pope Francis issued his encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si, challenging humankind to take responsibility for the planet and be mindful of those who are suffering most from the ecological crisis now before us. And in 2019, the Society of Jesus released its four global “apostolic preferences,” explicitly making “Care of our Common Home” a vital part of their apostolic mission for the next 10 years.
Over the past decade, Seattle University has made significant commitments and taken subsequent action to embed sustainability in the long-term development of the university: From signing on to the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) in 2007, creating a Climate Action Plan (2010) and establishing the President’s Committee for Sustainability (PCS—2011) to developing a Center for Environmental Justice and Sustainability (CEJS—2013), committing to divestment from fossil fuels (2018) and setting an institutional vision “to become a leader in environmental sustainability that is socially just” (Strategic Directions 2020-2025). Since 2016, SU has joined the 1000+ universities and colleges that use the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS). STARS facilitates the assessment of our campus’s sustainability performance and our contribution to the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals through operations, programs, actions, and policies.
Most recently, Seattle University’s aspiration to lead on sustainability and environmental justice was reinforced by the “Reigniting Our Strategic Directions (2022-2027)” foundational goal to institutional participation in Pope Francis’ Seven-year Journey toward Integral Ecology through the Laudato Si’ Action Platform, putting concrete action behind the goals outlined by the Pope in his 2015 Encyclical.
In the spirit of the pope's encyclical, the university is deepening its commitment to infuse integral ecology and sustainability across our campus, in our academic programs, engagement, operations, and investments. We call on each of you to collaborate in being thoughtful caretakers of our common home and to join hands in advancing SUstainability!