Seattle University Top 10 in Nation for Sustainability

SU earns highest score in its history in latest Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System.

Seattle University is one of the Top 10 most-sustainable colleges or universities in the nation, according to the latest Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) report, achieving a “Gold” rating. STARS is a program of AASHE, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.

“Inspired by our Jesuit values and by the example of Pope Francis, Seattle University is committed to being a leader in sustainability—in our research and teaching, but also in our operations,” says Seattle University President Eduardo Peñalver. “We have made significant investments in becoming a more sustainable campus and our latest STARS rating shows that we continue to lead the way among higher education institutions.”

Since it began participating in STARS in 2016, SU’s performance has risen each rating period. STARS is the most widely recognized framework in the world for publicly reporting comprehensive information related to a college or university’s sustainability performance. Because the framework shares a similar intent and scope as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), an institution’s STARS score, or rating, can be used to demonstrate progress toward helping deliver the SDGs.

“The gold rating and improved score acknowledge the role SU is holding in leading the way for sustainability in higher education,” says Yolanda Cieters, associate director of sustainability in SU’s Center for Environmental Justice and Sustainability. “From setting ambitious sustainability goals to implementing improvements in our practices over the past years, this rating could only be achieved thanks to the committed support of the university community and our institutional commitment to live out our mission and values through our sustainability practices.”

STARS measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education, including academics, engagement, operations, planning and administration and innovation and leadership. Cieters attributes SU’s continual improvement within the STARS framework to a number of factors including, among others, carbon emission reductions and the university’s commitment to offset its scope 1 emissions, peer-to-peer student education, support for research and scholarship, waste minimization and workplace health and safety management. Additionally, Cieters cites SU’s adoption of a sustainable procurement policy, divestment from fossil fuels and last year’s employee engagement survey assessing employee satisfaction, which includes questions related to diversity, equity and inclusive excellence.

The university also has stepped up its commitment to sustainability by participating in Pope Francis’ Seven-Year Journey Toward Integral Ecology through the Laudato Si’ Action Platform (LSAP), as integrated in the university’s Reigniting Our Strategic Directions goals.

“We will use STARS to benchmark areas of improvement and continue to integrate sustainability across our academic programs, operations and investments,” adds Cieters.

For media inquiries, contact Lincoln Vander Veen at or 425-830-2448.

Check out the STARS report.


Wednesday, May 22, 2024