St. Edward’s Students Combine Academics with Service

St. Edward’s University emphasizes the connection between service and learning. Many students participate in various services that are closely connected to what they learn inside the classroom across a variety of majors. Recently St. Edward’s has taken time to highlight different work that students have accomplished during their time on campus.

One communications major was prompted on his freshman year to begin work on combating sexual assault. The student explains how he wrote a paper on sexual assault his freshman year which awakened him to startling statistics and laws that make it difficult for those affected to seek help and reparation. Deeply affected by this paper, he proceed to join “It’s On Us”, which is an action week hosted by St. Edward’s that is focused on sexual assault awareness and prevention. This week long event is great way for students to become aware of and then take action through the course of their academic careers as well as their lives, to combat sexual assault.

To read more about how St. Edward’s connects service and learning, visit St. Edward’s news.

Loyola University New Orleans Receives Recycling Grant!

Congratulations to Loyola University New Orleans! They were one of only fifty institutions nationwide to win the 2017 Coca-Cola/Keep America Beautiful Public Space Recycling Grant. The funds from this grant will be “used to purchase 30 new recycling bins to be placed in all five residence halls.” This initiative is expected to recycle an additional 45,000 gallons of waste per year.

The grant is thanks in part to the Student Government Association who wrote and won the grant as part of its sustainability initiative titled “Maroon, Gold, and Green.”  Loyola’s SGA is now planning an event on campus “to promote recycling and create awareness of the grant and new bins, which will collect paper, plastic, and aluminum.” The sustainability efforts taken by Loyola have only increased over the years. In addition to the recycling bins, Loyola has implemented solar paneled outdoor charging tables earned them the title of being one of the 2017 “Green Colleges” by Princeton Review.

To read more about Loyola University New Orleans’ initiatives, visit Loyola news.

University of Notre Dame Business Programs Benefits Alumni and Nonprofits

For the past four years the University of Notre Dame has been taking steps to increase alumni relations while advancing their Catholic social mission. The Mendoza College of Business at Notre Dame created a program called ND Impact Partners which “connects ND business alumni with local nonprofits by enabling the alumni to work as part of pro bono consulting teams focused on solving strategic challenges for each organization.”

Through the program, alumni teams work with a given nonprofit for about four months prior to making recommendations to “each nonprofit’s board or executive leadership team.” Past projects include expanding the millennial donor base, creating new advertising plans, and developing new volunteer management strategies. The program has proven to be a major success with this past year having 14 projects spread across Chicago, Washington, DC, and South Bend. ND Impact Partners “not only provides an opportunity for alumni to give back in a way that leverages their business education and expertise, but the majority of the nonprofits they partner with are Catholic organizations,” fitting directly with the Notre Dame mission.

To learn more about ND Impact Partners and how to get involved, visit the Mendoza College site.

 Catholic Colleges Heed Pope’s Call to Protect the Earth

On Sunday, we celebrate the 48th anniversary of Earth Day! Since the release of Pope Francis’ second encyclical, Laudato Si, Catholics have been called in a unique way to respond to the “the throwaway culture” and “care for our common home.” Earth Day offers Catholics a time to reflect on the beauty of creation and our role as stewards of creation. The Holy Father urgently appeals to “every living person” to protect one another and the planet. To heed the call, Catholic colleges and universities have been integrating sustainable practices on campuses in small and large ways that both honor the earth and affirm the values of their institutions.

St. Mary's

Many universities have incorporated humanity’s call to protect the environment into their mission statements to facilitate the work throughout their campuses. One example can be found at Saint Mary’s College of California. Its mission statement reads, “In fidelity to our educational missions and Catholic principles, Saint Mary’s College is committed to leadership in fostering environmental literacy, modeling a culture of sustainability, and creating an equitable future for all of humankind in harmony with nature.” Having a clear, yet comprehensive mission statement has allowed the campus to make large strides in a short amount of time. In a 2017 Sustainability Report, St. Mary’s stipulated that in order to achieve its objectives, the campus community must be engaged at all levels, take advantage of intellectual resources, have transparent evaluation and planning processes, and ensure that each measure taken is related to its stated goals. Last year, the college was able to do just that. Developments include the addition of mobile solar generators, updated lighting and natural gas systems, and installation of compost bins across campus.

By far, the largest impact came from the compost bins. According to the report, “Landfill [waste] decreased from 655 to 439 tons in the past two years.” St. Mary’s said it was able to make the drastic change through concerted efforts to educate the community on what goes into each recycle bin and provide the right infrastructure and signage within campus grounds. “With those in place, a culture can build.”

Since the inception of its sustainability committee in 2010, John Carroll University has implemented a number of initiatives throughout campus as outlined in its report last year. One of the ways was by integrating “green” measures in campus cafeterias. Changes in its food service facilities began in 2008, with the decision to go tray-less in the Schott Dining Hall. This has reduced food waste and minimized the water and energy that would have been used for tray cleaning. Also, when students want to take food out from the cafeterias, they are given reusable, biodegradable containers rather than foam ones that would eventually occupy a landfill.

Much of John Carroll’s success can be attributed to ongoing collaboration with the Office of Residence Life. The student housing department recently added new wireless thermostats and laundry machines to its residential buildings to improve energy efficiency and reduce water use. In addition, Residence Life regularly hosts informational events to better educate students on sustainability practices.

Xavier

Xavier University is incorporating academics as part of its sustainability initiatives. The university is offering undergraduate degree programs in sustainability, including economics and management; economics, sustainability, and society; and land, farming, and community. Xavier notes that “each of these three academic majors provide experiential learning opportunities combined with a year-long capstone project, encompassing everything students have learned over the past four years.” The programs present additional opportunities for students “to care for our common home.”

Currently, senior Economics, Sustainability, and Society (ECOS) majors are preparing for their capstone projects, which they will present at the end of April. Throughout their four years at Xavier, the students have “acquired a comprehensive understanding of sustainable economies, including the study of natural resources, plus ecological and environmental problems. Students also gain an understanding of social justice questions related to the distribution of economic products and resources,” according to the university website. The program allows them to carry their studies beyond the classroom. For example, one senior ECOS capstone project focuses on improving the environmental profile of Xavier University by changing campus behaviors and attitudes. As a Jesuit institution, Xavier is committed to fostering students that are stewards of a healthier earth.

Catholic colleges and universities continue to respond to the call of Pope Francis in Laudato Si by implementing sound sustainability practices. These colleges and universities recognize the importance of seeking full campus participation to be most effective in their missions. And, as we mark Earth Day, let’s take time to reflect on the lifestyle changes we can make for a more just and sustainable world.

Saint Louis University Hosts Climate Summit

Join Saint Louis University on April 22nd for the Saint Louis Climate Summit! The Saint Louis Climate Summit is dedicated to working to fulfill Pope Francis’ call to unite in defense of our common home. This event is being hosted as part of Saint Louis University’s bicentennial anniversary celebration. The summit will include opening remarks given by Cardinal Peter Turkson in addition to keynote addresses by Bill Nye and Carl Pope.

There will also be a screening of Leonardo DiCaprio’s “Before the Flood” as well as multiple conference sessions. Celebrate Earth Day by attending this conference and becoming informed on issues regarding the state of our environment!

For more details and to register for this event, please visit Saint Louis Climate Summit.

Cardinal Stritch University participates in the Kapco Charitable Challenge

Cardinal Stritch University students had the opportunity to participate in the Kapco Charitable Challenge which provides them with a unique opportunity to serve those in the Milwaukee community. Through this challenge Stritch formed three teams that each focused on serious community issues, including human trafficking, dental care for under-served Milwaukee youth, and immunizations for adults and children. Each team of students participated in the challenge from September to November, which was led by a faculty adviser in order to provide focused direction.

The team that focused on human trafficking had the opportunity to “learn about people in the community who have undergone traumatic experiences and met many community leaders who are inspiring change to fight human trafficking.” Through partnering with the Human Trafficking Task Force of greater Milwaukee, Fresh Start Learning, and several other collaborating organizations to address human trafficking, students “were exposed to issues they don’t typically experience and helped make people aware of an issue that has become prevalent.”  Students had the opportunity to form lasting relationships with these organizations that carried on after the challenge by raising more than $3,000 to create an annual Survivor Scholarship for survivors of human trafficking to attend Stritch.

To read more about Stritch’s participation in the Kapco Charitable Challenge, visit Stritch news.