|Submission Date||March 5, 2021|
EN-14: Participation in Public Policy
|2.00 / 2.00||
Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the municipal/local level?:
A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the municipal/local level:
(1) Seattle University and the Independent Colleges of Washington have spoken and written in favor of the Seattle Promise as part of our and ICWs overall effort to increase opportunity and equity in higher education. Seattle Promise is the City of Seattle's college tuition and student success program designed to provide the financial support and personal guidance needed to thrive in college. The program is open to all Seattle public high school graduates regardless of grade point average (GPA), income or country of birth.
(2) Seattle U is a supporter/member of the Seattle Streetcar Coalition and has testified publicly and privately for increasing low-cost public transportation options in Seattle numerous times over the past few years.
(3) The Homeless Rights Advocacy Project (HRAP) engages Seattle University School of Law students in effective legal and policy research, analysis, and advocacy work to advance the rights of homeless adults, youth, and children. HRAP:
a. Advocates for the repeal of laws that criminalize homelessness and poverty and for the pursuit of alternatives that better address the root problems of homelessness and poverty. See: https://law.seattleu.edu/centers-and-institutes/korematsu-center/initiatives/homeless-rights-advocacy-project/hrap-news-and-events
b. Provides law students with intensive, challenging education in the fundamentals of policy research, analysis, and advocacy in the context of homeless rights advocacy.
c. Builds partnerships across a broad range of disciplines with community members, advocates, academic institutions, and other stakeholders to advance the rights of homeless people.
d. Increases access to resources (education, information, communication) to support anti-criminalization advocacy.
(4) In light of the new rapid bus line for Madison Avenue (at Seattle University campus), slated to open in 2022, Seattle University and our students advocated on behalf of a safer crossing point at 10th and East Madison St. as the Rapid Ride corridor is built out. The plan now includes a pedestrian traffic signal at upper mall and Madison which the university community has wanted for a very long time for the safety of our students.
(5) Seattle University is an advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability at the local/municipal level through our work with the City of Seattle and Seattle 2030 District. Seattle District 2030’s 140 members have made the commitment to significantly reduce water and energy use, as well as pollution from stormwater and carbon emissions from transportation by the year 2030. In the past three years, SU has collaborated with the City and Seattle 2030 District to track reductions in campus energy and water usage, as well as sought to contribute to initiatives and projects involving sustainable rainwater management and electric vehicle charging.
Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the state/provincial/regional level?:
A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the state/provincial/regional level:
(1) Seattle University plays a major role in the push for the passage of SB 5215 (https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=5215&Year=2021&Initiative=false) which would expand funding for the Washington College Grant (https://wsac.wa.gov/wcg), a progressive state aid program for any lower-to-middle income student in Washington who wants to pursue any type of post-secondary credential at any institution in the state. This editorial in the Everett Herald (https://www.heraldnet.com/opinion/editorial-maintain-investment-in-higher-ed-and-its-students/) that features two of our undergraduates is a good example of the grassroots efforts we are making to expand access to higher education, especially for those who wouldn't be able to afford it otherwise. It is a major public policy priority for SeattleU. See also: https://www.seattleu.edu/newsroom/stories/2020/the-new-washington-college-grant-and-seattle-university.html
(2) Washington Business Climate Declaration (2015-Present): Seattle University is the first educational institution in Washington state to sign the Washington Business Climate Declaration, illustrating strong support for taking action to address climate change at the state and regional level.
SU’s Declaration: https://www.seattleu.edu/newsroom/stories/archive/signing-on.html
(3) Seattle University has advocated at the state level on Washington’s new Clean Buildings Act (E3SHB 1257), working with other university campuses across the state and the Department of Commerce to affect language around district energy systems.
Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the national level?:
A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the national level:
(1) Seattle U and its federal partners like the Association of Jesuit College and Universities (https://www.ajcunet.edu/policy-corner; we've signed-on in support of countless advocacy letters) consistently support expansion of the Pell Grant as well as dedicated and university-wide support for students impacted by the COVID pandemic - especially students who are Pell-eligible and other students lacking in financial resources and/or underrepresented minorities.
(2) (June 2019) SU’s President sent a message in support of the Dream Act to SU’s community and asked to take action by contacting representatives and senators in Congress to urge passage of the Dream Act: https://www.seattleu.edu/president/update/presidents-end-of-year-message-support-for-the-dream-act.html
(3) (July 2020) This official communication (https://www.seattleu.edu/president/update/dhs-rescinds-guidance-on-international-students.html) denouncing the Department of Homeland Security's decision on international students during the COVID pandemic is an example of Seattle U standing up for the international community. SU sent public comments against the rule and joined in the amicus brief in support of the lawsuit brought by Harvard and MIT against the DHS’ decision that prohibited international students from remaining in status or obtaining a visa to study in the U.S. if they are receiving remote-only instruction. In addition, and with the unanimous support of the university’s Board of Trustees, Seattle U joined a coalition of 20 western U.S. universities that filed a similar lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Eugene, Ore., seeking an injunction of the guidance.
(4) (December 2020) Marking the fifth anniversary of the historic Paris Agreement’s adoption, Seattle University joined the “America Is All In” declaration together with other leaders calling on the incoming Biden administration to rejoin the accord, launch a national mobilization on climate and clean recovery, and partner with local governments, businesses and community institutions: https://www.seattleu.edu/newsroom/stories/2020/su-reaffirms-its-support-for-the-paris-agreement.html
Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the international level?:
A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the international level:
(2018) Support of Nicaragua: In 2018, Nicaragua experienced a political crisis as violent protests were repressed by government police and paramilitary forces across the country. The violence particularly affected the Central American University (UCA), SU’s sister Jesuit institution in the capital of Managua, which opened its gates to shelter over a thousand people fleeing violent repression. Because of the decision to house people fleeing terror and his subsequent condemnation of the attack, Father José Idiáquez, SJ, Rector of the UCA, received death threats. A total of 629 members of the SU community signed onto the university's statement of solidarity with the people of Nicaragua. Signing on were 54 alumni, 142 faculty, 152 staff and 281 students: https://www.seattleu.edu/newsroom/stories/2018/add-your-voice-in-support-of-nicaragua.html
A brief description of other political positions the institution has taken during the previous three years (if applicable):
A brief description of political donations the institution made during the previous three years (if applicable):
Website URL where information about the institution’s sustainability advocacy efforts is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.