Celebrating the Earth

Written by Andrew Binion

April 8, 2024

Earth Month graphic and logo
This year's winning Earth Month logo design created by first-year student Clara Husaby, '27.

In recognition of Earth Day, Seattle University has lined up events focused on environmental justice and sustainability all month long.

If you want to join in the many Earth Month events and activities leading up and through Earth Day that Seattle University has planned—whether by attending speaker events or getting your hands dirty at work parties—opportunities abound.

The university began recognizing the entire month of April as Earth Month eight years ago to ensure it draws as much of the campus community as possible around topics of sustainable development, environmental justice and climate solutions.

Though SU’s commitment to sustainability and climate action stretches year-round, having a whole month to focus on these initiatives—rather than just Earth Day on April 22—ensures that everyone who wants to participate will have a chance.

"It truly is to ensure that we can reach as many people as possible,” says Yolanda Cieters, associate director of sustainability. “For SU there are so many departments and clubs that take initiative, if we want to package it all in one day we are competing with each other.”

Cieters adds, “We’re not saying that on May 1 we can forget about it and turn the page and move on with life without thinking about these matters.”

Earth Day falls on a Monday, and will feature Earth Talks 2024, a showcase of 5-minute presentations focused on sustainability by students, staff, faculty and community partners. Jessyn Farrell will be featured as the keynote speaker, the City of Seattle’s director at the Office of Sustainability and Environment.

For those who wear their commitment to sustainability on their sleeve, there is a thrift store pop up  April 25 as well as an event April 26 that teaches participants how to repair clothing.

For those who want to connect with the biosphere, students and employees can volunteer two hours, April 16-18, to join the Grounds team to help maintain the campus foliage. The team has been using sustainable organic land care practices – including being 100 percent pesticide free -- to maintain the campus since 1986.

Beyond campus, students can join work parties at the Washington Park Arboretum April 20 or along the shoreline in Des Moines on April 13 and April 21 to clean up trash and pull invasive plants.

For those interested in environmental policy with a local angle, on April 23 the Seattle University Environmental Law Society (ELS) and the Native American Law Student Association (NALSA) will engage in conversation with Director of Environmental Law and Climate Policy at the Duwamish River Community Coalition Jamie Hearn, ’22 JD, with others to discuss the current environmental justice issues surrounding the Duwamish River.

Some of the campus events feature renowned speakers, such as Mission Day’s keynote speaker on April 11, Robin Wall Kimmerer, author of Braiding Sweetgrass, this academic year’ Common Text. There’s also April’s Red Talks on April 16, led by Seattle University Professor Jeanette Rodriguez, “La Tierra, Home, Identity and Destiny—A Latina’s Perspective on Integral Ecology.”

Meet the Student Behind the Earth Month Logo Design

To relax after a day of studying, first-year student Clara Husaby, ‘27, took up the challenge to create a logo for Earth Month.

With the contest presented by the Center for Environmental Justice and Sustainability, Husaby’s winning logo merges images familiar to Seattle University, such as the swooping Red Hawk and the city’s proximity to nature.

“Mountains are really a central part of where I’m from—Bend, Ore.— where we are right in the Cascades,” Husaby says. “And they are a big part of the Seattle area with Rainier right there.”

Husaby, a political science major with a minor in studio art, swims the individual medley and butterfly for the Seattle University swim team and has her sights set on law school after graduation.