Catholic universities that have taken Pope Francis’s messages found in Laudato Si’ seriously have been recognized by the Sierra Club’s national magazine. Loyola Marymount University, the University of San Diego, and Loyola University Chicago have been recognized as members of the top 20 green colleges and universities in North America. According to a press release, the schools were rated as “have displayed a deep and thorough commitment to protecting the environment, addressing climate issues, and encouraging environmental responsibility.”
Loyola Marymount University made significant changes, as seen by their jump in rankings from the mid-60s to number six. They are also the first Catholic college or university on the list. The university now has 90,000 square feet of solar panels, an irrigation system that uses reclaimed water, and a university-led recycling plant. They also plan to “divert all food waste by 2018.”
University of San Diego also made significant improvements jumping from number 83 to number 10 in 2017. The University took Pope Francis’s mission to heart by listing “care for our common home” as part of their university mission. It also operates one of San Diego’s only electronic waste recycling centers, and has saved more than 10 million kilowatt hours and 30 million gallons of water annually since 2010.
Loyola University Chicago still remains ranked in the top 20 schools. This year Loyola students partnered with the Archdiocese of Chicago “to conduct energy audits on Catholic churches, cemeteries and hospitals as well as opened a student-run green café and a Compost Collection Network where students train local businesses to reduce waste.”
The scoring was based on 11 categories including energy, investments, good academics, planning, and water. The rankings showcase universities and colleges green initiatives and allow for indications of the campus’s sustainability efforts.
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