Seattle University’s commitment to sustainability runs deep. In fact, it is grounded in Jesuit values that date back more than 450 years. We take our cue from St. Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuits, who encouraged his early companions to “Find God in All Things."
The Jesuits of today are explicitly making sustainability a vital part of their apostolic mission. “We need to learn—both scientifically and theologically—about our entanglement in the processes causing environmental degradation,” reads a decree that was adopted by General Congregation 34, the Jesuits’ worldwide meeting in 1995.
In 2006, the Oregon Province of the Jesuits responded with a Regional Sustainable Development--Plan of Action that includes “a vision of sustainable communities which hold all creation as sacred” and “a commitment to respect and care for the community of life…especially the poor and most vulnerable.”
In 2013, 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.
Here at Seattle University, our Jesuit ethos calls us to revere the life-giving force of the natural world, to care for creation as responsible stewards of the planet, and to work for justice so that no peoples are disproportionately affected by environmental degradation. In the spirit of the pope's encyclical, the university is deepening its commitment to educating students as thoughtful caretakers of creation while working to reduce its carbon footprint.
That is why we have a President's Committee for Sustainability which drives our Climate Action Plan; a Center for Environmental Justice and Sustainability; numerous sustainability practices on campus; and why we are leading the way in sustainability among higher education institutions.