In November 2016, Seattle University surveyed the campus community to learn how students and employees commute to campus and to update results from the 2007 survey. With this survey, we looked to (1) gather an idea of how Seattle's population and economic growth may have changed the commuting habits of Seattle University community members; (2) obtain data to estimate SU’s carbon footprint for commuters; (3) identify new sustainability initiatives on campus related to commuting; and (4) support the Department of Transportation in its planning. The data revealed a 5% reduction of SU's greenhouse gas emissions from commuting since 2009! Read more here.
From Spring through Fall 2016, the PCS explored various iterations of a Sustainability Fee for students. Sustainability Fees are common practice among universities in Oregon and Washington. The PCS has been sensitive to increasing financial burdens on students through fees, and in spring 2016, it proposed an optional fee. Over the summer of 2016, the PCS explored the possibility of proposing a required $100 per quarter Sustainability Fee for students. This annual $300 fee for 7500 students would provide funding for carbon offsets, the annual CEJS budget, an annual campus green infrastructure fund, and an unlimited ORCA pass for all students. By providing an ORCA pass, students would receive an annual benefit that is greater than the $300 fee. Such a benefit would potentially eliminate the financial burden of local transportation for each student and would thus negate any increased cost of attendance. The PCS was ready to propose this required sustainability/transportation fee, but learned that King County Metro Transit would be unable to guarantee a stable cost for transit passes for any period of time which made the student ORCA pass proposal too risky. Read the proposal here: Sustainability Fund Proposal.
In Winter 2017, select members of the PCS wrote and signed a letter for to President Sundborg to add our support to requests by faculty and students that Seattle University divest its holdings of investments in fossil fuel companies. In March 2017, President Sundborg communicated that the Seattle University Board of Trustees approved three amendments to the Investment Policy Statement. The amendments (1) establish the SRI Advisory Working Group, (2) explicitly restrict the university from making direct investments in fossil fuel companies, and (3) include environmental, social and governance factors among the criteria for selecting and evaluating investment managers. As stated in the charter, the SRI Advisory working group will provide information and make recommendations to the Investment Committee on SRI issues and it will consist of key stakeholder representatives, including students, faculty, administrators, alumni and trustees. Read the Letter in Support of Divestment.
During Spring quarter 2017, Professional MBA Program Candidates Katie Cava, Lauren Stevens, and Tony Tran consulted Seattle University on how to achieve Carbon Neutrality. Their research project was part of the MBA Sustainable Business Consulting class, guided by professor April Atwood. They explored the value of carbon offsets and identified cost-effective recommendations that will allows Seattle University to offset the emissions that cannot be reduced through behavior change and on-campus sustainability projects. Read the report here: Roadmap to Carbon Neutrality.
Seattle University is one of more than 300 colleges and universities from across the United States to sign the "We Are Still In" declaration demonstrating its enduring commitment for climate action and reducing carbon emissions despite President Trump’s announcement to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.
Since its initial release on June 5, 2017, the declaration counts more than 2,200 leaders from America’s city halls, state houses, boardrooms and college campuses.
In a message to Seattle University's campus community on June 2nd, President Sundborg shared his personal views on climate change and divestment and expressed to be “deeply disappointed and concerned with President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord ... Climate change is a defining issue for our students’ generation and their future. I stand with all who are committed to addressing it with a sense of urgency.”
To view the We Are Still In declaration and a list of signatories, visit: www.WeAreStillIn.com.