The SSA grew out of conversations between Blessed Earth’s executive director, Dr. Matthew Sleeth, and seminary leaders across the country. After being encouraged by work with Dr. Timothy Tennant at Asbury Theological Seminary, Dr. Sleeth was inspired to form an alliance with other evangelical seminaries to provide a support network for sustainability efforts. He drafted the SSA covenant in partnership with Dr. Tennant and Dr. Richard Mouw (of Fuller Theological Seminary).
In April 2012, the SSA was launched in an historic Earth Day signing ceremony at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. Signatories of the SSA Covenant included presidents and deans of the following schools: Asbury Theological Seminary, Columbia Theological Seminary, Denver Seminary, Duke Divinity School, Fuller Theological Seminary, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, George Fox Evangelical Seminary, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Luther Seminary, Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, Tabor Adelaide Seminary, and Wake Forest School of Divinity. Liaisons from these twelve founding partner schools participated in the first SSA gathering in September 2012. Bringing the SSA full circle, the event was held at Asbury Theological Seminary.