April Update: Earth Month, Supplier Diversity Program and Shaping Our Shared Future

April 4, 2022

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

I hope this finds you well as we move into spring quarter and, in the case of the law school, approach the final stretch of the semester and academic year. This is one of the busiest times of the year and I wanted to take a moment to share a few updates and thoughts on what’s ahead for us in the month of April and beyond, with a focus on some important programs and activities underway. 

Earth Month 

Among a many other events and initiatives taking place throughout the month, April is Earth Month. I invite you to check out the full schedule of activities at www.seattleu.edu/earthmonth, culminating with Earth Talks 2022 on Earth Day, April 22. A big thanks to our Center for Environmental Justice and Sustainability for taking the lead in making all of this programming possible. Sustainability is central to who we are as an institution and this academic year we are deepening that commitment by signing onto and embarking upon Pope Francis’ Seven-Year Journey Towards Integral Ecology. This year we are also offsetting the remainder of SU’s greenhouse gas emissions from on-campus operations and investing in projects that promote a healthier, more just planet. With a mindset of continually building upon our tradition of sustainability, I encourage you to participate in the various Earth Month activities taking place at SU in April.

Supplier Diversity Program

Another initiative that goes to the heart of our mission is the Supplier Diversity Program. Launched in 2021, the effort is led by the Albers School’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center in partnership with the Fr. Stephen Sundborg, S.J. Center for Community Engagement and our Procurement Office. The focus is to significantly bolster our commitment to increasing procurement spending with diverse business enterprises to 10 percent by FY2025. Seattle University is making this commitment to move toward a more sustainable, inclusive local economy. By increasing both business capacity and dollars spent locally, we can build the strength and breadth of diverse businesses, increase equity and create a more resilient and integrated local community. This is one important way for us to concretely advance our work toward inclusive excellence, as called for in our LIFT SU action plan and our strategic directions. You can learn more at the newly launched Supplier Diversity Program site. And mark your calendar for an information session on the program, which will be held Friday, May 13, from 12:45 to 1:45 p.m. in Harding 143.

Shaping the Future of Seattle University 

The coming weeks will bring many opportunities for our campus community to gather with one another and engage with our shared mission and future. This includes Mission Day for our faculty and staff, which takes place Thursday, April 7, in Pigott Auditorium, beginning with a continental breakfast at 9:30 a.m. and concluding at noon. With the theme “Looking Forward in Hope,” our first Mission Day since 2019 will be an opportunity to reconnect and explore together Seattle University’s reignited strategic vision to be one of the most innovative and progressive Jesuit and Catholic universities in the world. 

Also this month the Strategic Conversations series kicks off with a number of sessions focused on emergent topics from the implementation plans for Reigniting Our Strategic Directions. These conversations are an opportunity for all members of our campus community to share feedback with the working groups that are guiding the implementation of the strategic directions and help shape the future of Seattle University. 

Of course, a successful spring term at Seattle University includes doing all we can to keep one another healthy and safe and staying up to date on our vaccinations is one of the most important measures we can take. If you are eligible and have not yet done so, please get your COVID booster and register your vaccination here. As recently announced, wearing face coverings indoors is strongly encouraged through April 8 and still encouraged even after that date for now. We will continue to base our decisions on the latest information and prioritize the well-being of our community. 

Along those lines, I was pleased that we were able to recently launch TimelyCare, the new 24/7 telehealth service for students. This is an important step in advancing the strategic direction to enhance support for our students. You can learn more here about TimelyCare. 

I look forward to seeing you over the next several weeks. Here’s hoping that your spring term continues to be rewarding and enjoyable. 


Eduardo M. Peñalver