Campus Community

Grounds for Celebration

July 14, 2023

Spring 2023 Union Green and Chapel

Image credit: Yosef Kalinko

SU is among the first schools to achieve Green Grounds Certification.

Seattle University is one of the first schools to achieve Green Grounds Certification. Awarded by the advocacy group Re:wild Your Campus, the certification recognizes SU’s shift away from traditional campus management reliant on toxic pesticides to a more holistic approach that emphasizes biodiversity, soil health and student wellbeing.

“We created the Green Grounds Certification to incentivize schools to protect both the workers and student populations and highlight their commitment to biodiversity, proving that managing grounds without chemicals is practical and achievable,” said Mackenzie Feldman, project director of Re:wild Your Campus. “We are working with schools across the nation to close the huge knowledge gap that exists when it comes to organic land care principles and implementation. This certification will help us recognize the work being done on these campuses and beyond to ditch the toxins and go organic.” 

Seattle University is one of just three institutions to receive Green Grounds Certification, alongside the University of Washington at Bothell and Cascadia College. The three schools, all located in Washington, have achieved platinum certification, the highest available level, which requires campuses and sports fields to be managed 100% organically. Additionally, a platinum-certified campus must integrate native plants, reduce water use, transition to an electric fleet of grounds equipment and include students in campus management efforts. 

“I am excited and thrilled that Seattle University is being recognized for pioneering ecological and sustainable land care initiatives and practices,” said Shannon Britton, assistant director of grounds and waste management at Seattle University. “Re:wild Your Campus provides foundational programmatic support to grounds staff planning to deepen their commitment to sustainable and pesticide-free practices. Schools who receive their new Green Grounds Certification will be able to add the narrative to their recruiting and orientation programs, further emphasizing the importance of climate action and going green in land management and conservation efforts.”

As recognized by Re:wild Your Campus, Seattle University has been a trailblazer in organic collegiate land care and has been implementing organic practices since the 1980s. The university has been recognized by organizations such as Tree Campus USA and the National Wildlife Federation for their land care practices. By relying on organic land management techniques, Seattle University’s grounds team is able to support local biodiversity, promote pollinators and protect public health on and off their campus.