In response to Pope Francis’s invitation to universities, Seattle University’s President Peñalver signed a letter of commitment in September 2021 for the “Seven-Year Journey Towards Integral Ecology” and the Laudato Si’ Action Platform (LSAP). President Peñalver appointed Dr. Jeanette Rodriguez, Professor and Executive Director for ICTC, as the steering committee chair. The work of the LSAP steering committee is also a part of the Foundational Goal for SU’s Reigniting Our Strategic Directions.
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.
Seattle University resonates strongly with the values set out by Laudato Si'. We are already a university setting the bar for sustainability and environmental justice, and our involvement in the goals of Laudato Si' is taking this commitment even further.
This is sparking a conversation not just about climate change but about ethical consumption, social justice, human rights, and the preservation of our common home. This is different than encyclicals of the past because Pope Francis has addressed Laudato Si' to all people, not just those in the Catholic Church. This mirrors our values at ICTC, wanting to expand what it can mean to be Catholic and create beloved community for all SU community members, not just those of this faith.
Here at the Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture, we want to take any opportunity to integrate Catholic values into campus culture, and Laudato Si' is a fantastic way to combine environmental justice and spirituality. We have hosted various Laudato Si' conversations and summits, and have quite a few more planned. You can find these on our events page! Events
Download the entire text of Laudato Si' from the Vatican’s website
Download an infographic for Laudato Si', designed by Jessica Palmer for the Earth, Spirituality and Justice course in the fall of 2015
Download a copy of the Seattle University Edible Campus Map
Download a map and learn more about the trees on Seattle University’s campus
Learn more about the annual Earth Month events coordinated by SU’s Center for Environmental Justice and Sustainability