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

STARS v2.2

South Seattle College
EN-14: Participation in Public Policy

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

Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the municipal/local level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the municipal/local level:

The Seattle Colleges Transportation Committee, which South Seattle is a part of, with student support, has been advocating with City of Seattle and King County for several years to improve the public transportation card for students. The Seattle Colleges Transportation Committee is committed to lowering the costs of public transportation for our students. Our District Transportation Manager serves on the Equity Cabinet of the Regional Transit Committee. This group is working with King County Metro to address the needs of our growing county in a way that is equitable and addresses the climate crisis. https://kingcountymetro.blog/2019/11/01/metro-takes-action-to-address-racial-disparities-and-the-climate-crisis-with-bold-direction-from-community/

Additionally, Seattle Central College and Seattle Colleges has been 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. In the past three years, we have collaborated with the city and 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?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the state/provincial/regional level:

Via leadership from our Chancellors, College Presidents, and Director of Government Relations, we work closely with Washington's Community and Technical Colleges (WACTCs) in various advocacy efforts.
1) Seattle Colleges led a regional coalition effort in 2018-19 that resulted in the Governor and Legislature authorizing an independent study of the cost of living in the Seattle metropolitan area that concluded that the metro area costs were 151% higher than the state average. This information fueled a successful advocacy effort that resulted in a 5% regional pay adjustment for CTC employees living in King County. This base salary adjustment is helping to stem a high turnover rate among faculty and staff that was undermining morale and ultimately undermining student services and educational achievement.

2) In December 7, 2020, we joined other WACTC's to outline 2021-23 operating budget requests, which included a priority to advance equitable Economic Recovery. "Ensure all students are successful in an online environment by integrating virtual simulation technologies into the delivery of courses and programs. The technology will allow more students to learn remotely and
increase access for working adults and student parents. Students will also gain experience working in a simulated environment, a valuable skill in a job market that increasingly relies on automation, artificial intelligence and information technology. Address persistent equity gaps by redesigning curricula with an antiracist lens.

3) Seattle Colleges actively engaged higher education partners and legislators in the “Friends of the Future” and the “College Promise Coalition” to build support for 2019 Legislative expansion of the Washington College Grant Program, now considered the best state higher education financial aid program in the country.

4) Seattle Colleges built legislative and business support for a Business & Occupation tax on gross receipts for service sector and technology companies that need and employ workers with post-secondary credentials. This successful effort resulted in the 2019 passage of the Washington Education Investment Act (WEIA) that provides funding for Guided Pathways in all 34 CTCs in the state and funded more competitive compensation for high-demand faculty positions in health care and STEM fields.

5) In August 2020, Seattle Colleges, along with the other colleges in the Washington Association of Community and Technical Colleges, wrote a letter to Senator Jayapal requesting her to "sign onto Representative Takano’s letter urging leadership to include language that distributes funding to institutions of higher education based on headcount rather than full-time equivalent (FTE) enrollment. A headcount approach is vital to ensuring equitable support for Washington’s 34 community and technical colleges and the 363,000 students we serve across the state." This is sustainability-related because "Students at community and technical colleges are also more likely to be low-income, first-generation, students of color, and students who work to make ends meet. Over the past year, six out of 10 Washington community or technical college students experienced hunger or housing insecurity, even though most were working. (#RealCollege Survey from the Hope Center for College, Community and Justice at Temple University). Forty-seven percent of our students identify as students of color compared to 32 percent of the general population. By reducing support based on part-time status, the FTE approach disadvantages our state’s most financially vulnerable students."

The Seattle Colleges' Director of Government Relations also helps coordinate conversations between our students and elected officials. For example, in February, 2021 student government leaders from Seattle Central , North Seattle, and South Seattle Colleges met with eleven state legislators to discuss student priorities and legislative proposals. Topics of that meetings included:

A) Open Educational Resources Expansion (HB 1119)
Open Education Resources are excellent aides to help reduce the cost of college textbooks for students. Over the past year, we have started to see the use of OER’s become more familiar with professors and this has helped students stay in school, save money, and reach graduation. This bill would help expand OER’s across all WA colleges which would tremendously help our students succeed and complete their academic programs.

B) Equity and Access in the CTC System (SB 5194, SB 5227)
In the midst of a global pandemic, many of our students, particularly those who come from low-income and marginalized communities, are facing issues that may get in the way of their college education. These bills will give our most vulnerable students the targeted support that they need to succeed and graduate.

C) HB 1468. Additional behavioral health counseling and support services for students attending CTCs.

Additionally, as it relates to the federal directive of international students and online study, "We are relieved that a directive barring international college students from the U.S. if their colleges offered classes entirely online in the fall semester has been rescinded. We are hopeful that our legal efforts with the state attorney, correspondence with Washington state’s congressional delegation, and the chancellor’s declaration to the U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington, shows our opposition to such laws and directives. Seattle Colleges is committed to the health, safety, and academic needs of all students, domestic and international, during this global pandemic."

Additionally, Seattle Central and Seattle Colleges have also 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?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the national level:

In December 2020, South Seattle and Seattle Colleges joined hundreds of other colleges and universities, cities, states, tribal nations, businesses, and other institutions calling for the U.S. to align with net zero emissions by 2050. We signed the We Are Still In letter to then President elect Joe Biden's incoming administration. "Signed by over 1,500 leaders, the statement endorses a net-zero trajectory for the United States, calls on the federal government to pursue a just and ambitious approach to climate policy and economic renewal, and commits signatories to centering climate in their own operations and seeking unprecedented partnership between federal and non-federal actors. The release comes two days ahead of the Paris Agreement’s fifth anniversary....The statement, now public, will be delivered to UN officials and heads of state at the UK-hosted Climate Ambition Summit on December 12 [2020] (which has taken the place of the annual UN climate talks, which are postponed by the global coronavirus pandemic)." https://www.wearestillin.com/news/american-leaders-launch-all-climate-action-and-clean-recovery-mobilization-press-partnership


Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the international level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the international level:

In December 2020, South Seattle and Seattle Colleges joined hundreds of other colleges and universities, cities, states, tribal nations, businesses, and other institutions calling for the U.S. to align with net zero emissions by 2050. We signed the We Are Still In letter to then President elect Joe Biden's incoming administration. "Signed by over 1,500 leaders, the statement endorses a net-zero trajectory for the United States, calls on the federal government to pursue a just and ambitious approach to climate policy and economic renewal, and commits signatories to centering climate in their own operations and seeking unprecedented partnership between federal and non-federal actors. The release comes two days ahead of the Paris Agreement’s fifth anniversary....The statement, now public, will be delivered to UN officials and heads of state at the UK-hosted Climate Ambition Summit on December 12 [2020] (which has taken the place of the annual UN climate talks, which are postponed by the global coronavirus pandemic)." https://www.wearestillin.com/news/american-leaders-launch-all-climate-action-and-clean-recovery-mobilization-press-partnership


A brief description of other political positions the institution has taken during the previous three years (if applicable):
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A brief description of political donations the institution made during the previous three years (if applicable):
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Website URL where information about the institution’s sustainability advocacy efforts is available:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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