People of SU

Emerald City One of the Greenest in the U.S.

Written by Andrew Binion

October 20, 2023

Like the city, Seattle University is itself a leader when it comes to ‘green’ initiatives and in sustainability measures. It recently became the first university in the state to divest from fossil fuels.

As Seattle University leads the way in higher education to confront climate change, our home of Seattle is being held up as a model for local green governance.

Newsweek magazine’s “Better Planet” series highlighted the efforts of Seattle city government to prepare for and offset the results of climate degradation, especially the impacts on minority and lower-income communities.

Among the initiatives cited by Newsweek are efforts to reduce plastic use, encourage electric trucks for short hauls, stock food banks with unused food from grocery stores and provide shelter to escape dangerous summer heatwaves and wildfire smoke.

“While many officials pay lip service to the urgency of making their cities more sustainable, Seattle's leaders are putting both money and regulatory might into making that pledge a reality,” the Newsweek article states, placing Seattle among Charlotte (North Carolina), Freiburg (Germany), Singapore and Paris.

The spotlight on the city’s green credentials comes months after Seattle University fulfilled its promise to divest its endowment from fossil fuel investments, an effort spearheaded by students. The fulfillment of this commitment made Seattle University the first university in Washington state and the first Jesuit Catholic university in the country to divest from fossil fuels. Included in the effort is an ongoing commitment to follow socially conscious investing principles.

Divestment follows other firsts, with SU being the first university in the Pacific Northwest to earn the title of Fair-Trade Designated University and the first school in the state to eliminate single-use bottle water on campus.

Our campus, situated in the urban core of the city, is designated a “wildlife habitat” and “tree campus” and is 100 percent organically maintained by expert crews who also tend to our many edible gardens.

Read more in Newsweek and learn about SU's divestment achievement