Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 51.07
Liaison Adam Maurer
Submission Date March 31, 2021

STARS v2.2

South Seattle College
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.50 / 2.00 Adam Maurer
District Sustainability Coordinator
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have an active student group focused on sustainability?:

Name and a brief description of the active student groups focused on sustainability:

Black Student Union
South Seattle Colleges Black Student Union (BSU) is an empowered student body group with a duty to serve and make a communal awareness of Black History and Culture. BSU also strives to create and bring positive social change, while providing a safe familial space for our members. We try to achieve our mission through BSU's forums, bi-weekly gatherings, and events.

Gender Sexuality Alliance
The Gender-Sexuality Alliance GSA provides a safe space for all individuals to express themselves, their sexual orientations, and gender identities. Our goals are to promote understanding of LGBTQIA+ people through education, awareness, and visibility. We believe in making South Seattle College an inclusive and supportive environment where all people are respected and nurtured. GSA club activities include meetings, social events, and community involvement.

LantinX Union
The purpose of this organization shall be to promote education, culture, and unity as well as bring together LatinX students and their allies to celebrate culture and engage with like-minded individuals.

Does the institution have a garden, farm, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery program, or an urban agriculture project where students are able to gain experience in organic agriculture and sustainable food systems?:

A brief description of the gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and/or urban agriculture projects:

1) The South Seattle College Arboretum was established by the College and the SSC Foundation in 1978, in part as the result of a petition by the Landscape Horticulture Program students for an arboretum to serve as their living laboratory. The 5-acre site is located at the north end of campus on a bluff over looking the downtown Seattle, Elliott Bay and the West Duwamish Greenbelt. The Seattle Chinese Garden borders the Arboretum.

The Arboretum is an important part of the SSC Landscape Horticulture Program. As part of their studies, students designed and built the Arboretum. It is used as a laboratory for courses in plant identification, arboriculture, pruning, irrigation, garden renovation, plant problem diagnostics, landscape management and landscape construction courses. The Arboretum is also used as an outdoor classroom by professional horticulturists, hobby gardeners and other college programs. Most of the plants on the Washington Certified Professional Horticulturist exam can be found in the SSC Arboretum.

2) Community Orchard of West Seattle, (COWS) is a non profit organization and partners with Nature Stewards. COWS provides a home-scale model and venue that demonstrates how much food can be grown on a city-sized lot. Produce goes to volunteers and local security programs.

COWS broke ground in the winter of 2011 and in its first year converted a narrow strip of unused land on the north east end of South Seattle College. Today you will find a working community garden and growing food forest orchard.

COWS uses permaculture and organic growing principles. All efforts are made in demonstrating low-maintenance sustainable food production strategies.

Does the institution have a student-run enterprise that includes sustainability as part of its mission statement or stated purpose?:

A brief description of the student-run enterprises:

Founded in 2017, South Seattle College’s on-campus food pantry provides essential food and toiletry items to students in need. The pantry is funded partially by Student Service and Activity Fees along with community sponsors, and is supported by the United Student Association. Student volunteers take inventory, procure supplies, and distribute food during the food pantry hours of operation.

The food pantry promotes the academic success of students living at or near the poverty line and dealing with housing and food insecurity by providing a reliable source of food on-campus. Many students may not have access to community food banks during class times or face shortages from supplemental food programs. Similar food pantries have been implemented at the University of Washington and Pierce College.

Does the institution have a sustainable investment fund, green revolving fund, or sustainable microfinance initiative through which students can develop socially, environmentally and fiscally responsible investment and financial skills?:

A brief description of the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives:


Has the institution hosted a conference, speaker series, symposium, or similar event focused on sustainability during the previous three years that had students as the intended audience?:

A brief description of the conferences, speaker series, symposia, or similar events focused on sustainability:

South Seattle celebrates Earth Week annually. Each year is slightly different, but in spring 2018 we hosted a workshop on EarthShips. South Seattle also recruits and chaperones students to attend the Washington Oregon Higher Education Sustainability Conference every year. South Seattle hosted WOHESC 2021 in February 2021. Two students who attended WOHESC 2018 used knowledge gained at the conference to host a "Fresh Fest" event at South campus in spring 2018. The event showcased fresh, organic, healthy, affordable, and sustainable foods for students.

Has the institution hosted a cultural arts event, installation, or performance focused on sustainability with the previous three years that had students as the intended audience?:

A brief description of the cultural arts events, installations, or performances focused on sustainability:

The South Seattle Art Gallery offers various sustainability related installations and events throughout the school year. In fall 2008, "Envisioning a Future," artists used sustainable methods or recycled materials to create works which offered both realistic and imaginative solutions to environmental problems. In summer 2015, "Sightseeing Through the Eyes of Northwest Landscape Artists" artworks explored the ways in which each artist uses their unique perspectives and experiences to demonstrate what it means to exist in the living landscape that surrounds us. In fall 2017, work done by the South Seattle Landscape Horticulture students was highlighted through an exhibition featuring botanically themed artworks. The show aimed to not only engage students around the LHO program, but also inspire passion and care for our natural world.

Does the institution have a wilderness or outdoors program that follow Leave No Trace principles?:

A brief description of the wilderness or outdoors programs that follow Leave No Trace principles:

The campus recreation department offers outdoor programs such as guided hiking. They stress principles of pack in pack out, not disturbing wild life and plant life, and leave no trace. For instance, a group of faculty and staff at South Seattle are partk of the West Duwamish Greenbelt Trail. They offer Friday afternoon hikes/walks in the Greenbelt, which runs along the eastern border of campus. The goal of the hikes/walks is to make the college community more aware of the greenbelt trails and to promote the health and well-being of the community and forest.

Has the institution had a sustainability-focused theme chosen for a themed semester, year, or first-year experience during the previous three years?:

A brief description of the sustainability-focused themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences:


Does the institution have a program through which students can learn sustainable life skills?:

A brief description of the programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills:


Does the institution offer sustainability-focused student employment opportunities?:

A brief description of the sustainability-focused student employment opportunities offered by the institution:

1) There is a paid sustainability coordinator on the United Student Association (i.e. student leadership)
2) We hired 1-2 Sustainability Ambassadors in AY 18-19 and AY 19-20 to improve sustainability engagement among the student body
3) The District Sustainability office offers work study positions and internships on an as needed basis

Does the institution have a graduation pledge through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions?:

A brief description of the graduation pledge(s):


A brief description of other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives that do not fall into one of the above categories:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about 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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.