Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,
As we enter April, I write to encourage your participation in celebrating Earth Month at Seattle U.
Central to our mission, environmental sustainability is a core element of Seattle University’s Strategic Directions and our vision to become one of the most innovative and progressive Jesuit and Catholic universities in the world. Just within this past year we have been ranked #20 in Sierra Club’s “Cool Schools,” #16 on Princeton Review’s Top Green Colleges and #3 among master’s institutions on the AASHE (Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education) Sustainable Campus Index. As a university community we have much to celebrate.
At the same time, it is undeniable that the earth is warming and that the poorest and most vulnerable are disproportionately feeling the effects and suffering. As a Jesuit and Catholic university the imperative to act is all the more critical. The Pope’s 2015 encyclical Laudato si’ and the Jesuits’ Apostolic Preference of Caring for our Common Home remind us of our responsibility to heal the fragile planet we share and care for all of its inhabitants.
As we move forward to address the existential threat of climate change, I am grateful to the Center for Environmental Justice and Sustainability, President’s Committee for Sustainability and other campus partners for putting together a robust Earth Month program that includes, among others, the following events and activities:
- Three faculty workshops on “To Know the World. Advancing curriculum and faculty development for sustainability in higher education,” “Teaching and Sustainability: How can I include sustainability in MY course?” and “Teaching Sustainability and the Ignatian Tradition.”
- A Reading Redhawks panel presentation on “Climate Justice in the Biden Administration.”
- Earth Talks, to be held on Earth Day (April 22), featuring a series of brief, climate action-focused presentations by students, faculty and community partners.
More information on these and other opportunities for engagement can be found at Earth Month 2021. You’ll also find on the site a link for special Zoom backgrounds to use during the month of April, as well as the beautiful artwork created by Breann Kniffen, ’23 (Cell and Molecular Biology), winner of the 2021 Earth Month Logo Competition.
Earth Month is a time to rededicate ourselves to addressing what many—especially our students—have identified as the most critical challenge of our times. As a campus community we can take pride in our ongoing work to reduce the university’s carbon footprint, green our operations, divest from fossil fuels and integrate into our academic programs sustainability and environmental justice. We are not done and I know the commitment is there to accomplish even greater things together.
Stephen V. Sundborg, S.J.