Register for the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s Student Summit

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education invites all students interested in promoting and enacting sustainability efforts at their campuses to join them for their annual Student Summit.  Taking place October 9-12, 2016, the Summit will give participants the opportunity to explore career options in sustainability and ways to enact concrete change on their campuses. Attendees will also be able to network and collaborate not only with peers, but also with professional leaders in sustainability, as well as sustainability activists.

Cosponsored by a host of organizations and initiatives such as The Campus Kitchens Project and Fair Trade Colleges and Universities, the Summit is sure to be a wonderful opportunity for students to learn and explore, and to grow in their leadership skills. Be sure to register by July 15, 2016! 

How does your college or university promote sustainability? Let us know! 

Laudato Si’ Makes an Impact in Jesuit Higher Education

The upcoming one-year anniversary of the release of Laudato Si’ has inspired reflection on the impacts it has had on Catholics around the world, especially institutions of Catholic higher education. In the April 2016 issue of Connections, the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities’ (AJCU) monthly  newsletter, several institutions were featured as having responded to the encyclical with fervor:

  • Laudato Si’ was a “Game-Changer” for Creighton University, where professors of theology, biology, environmental science, cultural and social studies, and communication studies, and sustainability studies have experienced renewed interest and and energy in their studies and coursework.
  • Gonzaga University has taken a “Multidisciplinary Approach” to responding to the encyclical with “deep academic engagement around Catholic social teaching,” encyclical reading groups, inter-departmental panel discussions, lectures, documentary film screenings, and a renewed commitment to sustainability on campus.
  • Food justice and social justice have been major themes for Loyola University Chicago‘s response to Laudato Si’, as well as “eco-education” through conferences focused on poverty and climate justice, lectures, and assisting in the development of a new free online environmental textbook.
  • Marquette University has made a renewed commitment to “Going Green” through participating in research at the Global Water Center in Milwaukee, the hiring of the University’s first sustainability coordinator, assisting in the development of the above-mentioned textbook, the LEED certification of two campus buildings, and the focusing of Mission Week on care for creation and sustainability.
  • A reflection on the call to promote and fight for environmental justice, as inspired by Laudato Si’, written by Clint J. Springer,  associate professor of biology at St. Joseph’s University.
  • Santa Clara University has taken the encyclical as a “Charter Document” for its “commitment to climate justice,” as evidenced by the visit of Peter Cardinal Turkson for a conference on climate change, reading groups, the visit of Carolyn Woo of Catholic Relief Services, academic integration of the encyclical, Ignatian reflection, and more.

These institutions of Jesuit higher education are just a few examples of the Catholic response to Laudato Si’.   How has your college or university responded to Laudato Si’? Let us know! 

Grants Available to Start a Campus Kitchen

In Fall 2015, ACCU highlighted several member colleges that participate in the Campus Kitchens Project to fight hunger and decrease food waste.  Campus Kitchens Project is offering startup grants to additional institutions this year and have shared the following message with ACCU:

If hunger and food waste are issues in your community and you want to make an impact on both the community need and the waste on campus, consider starting a Campus Kitchen chapter at your school. Campus Kitchen students rescue food that would have gone to waste from their on-campus dining hall cafeterias and use that food to prepare and serve balanced nutritious meals to food insecure residents in their communities.

The Campus Kitchens Project is offering $5,000 startup grants to schools that are interested in working with older adult (50+) populations in their community. To begin the application process, visit our grants page or reach out directly to Matt Schnarr at mschnarr@campuskitchens.org.

The deadline to qualify is February 5th. Please visit our grant info page to learn more about this grant competition timeline and guidelines. Schools that qualify will then submit a short video explaining the need in their community and how a Campus Kitchen will meet that need. Selected finalists will compete in a week long voting competition, where at the end of the week, the 3 school’s videos with the highest number of votes will each receive $5,000 to plan and launch their Campus Kitchen!

Action Steps Against Hunger

What are simple ways for college students to learn about world hunger and engage their campus community? See Catholics Confront Global Poverty’s four steps against hunger:

  1. Use this prayer before mealtime.
  2. Watch this video by Pope Francis on hunger.
  3. Take to Social Media to bring more attention to this issue! Feel free to retweet and repost these messages from CRS:
    • Twitter: A meal makes a big difference. It encourages school enrollment, improves attentiveness & nourishes a child. #WFD2014
    • Twitter: The @USDA funded CRS #FoodForEducation programs are meeting simple needs, but are making a huge difference: http://bit.ly/1sg9I0E. #WFD2014
    • Facebook: A meal makes a big difference. It encourages school enrollment, improves attentiveness and nourishes a child. The U.S. Department of Agriculture funded CRS Food for Education programs are meeting this simple need in 6 countries and are making a big impact: http://bit.ly/1pjOXuB.
  4. Raise Your Voice! Following Pope Francis’ call, we invite you to get ready to raise your voice on behalf of our brothers and sisters who struggle with hunger once Congress returns to DC following the mid-term elections. It’s likely that two pieces of legislation related to addressing hunger, Agriculture Appropriations and Feed the Future, will be taken up by Congress the week of November 10. Learn about these pieces legislation, and consider advocating for them.

Celebrating Food in October

October is a time when many begin thinking of pumpkins, apples, and other fruits of a bountiful harvest. Food advocates in the US promote educational resources on our national food issues, but how can students learn more about sustainable agriculture around the world? Catholic Relief Services provides resources to farmers internationally, and they’re sharing their stories with interested supporters in the US. CRS’s approach to agriculture encourages farmers and communities to work together so everyone can prosper. Read the full story on their website.

October is also National “Farm to School” month! There are a lot of ways you can involve your university in learning about food sustainability and environmental justice. Food Day is on October 24 – it’s a nationwide celebration and a movement for healthy, affordable and sustainable food. Catholic Rural Life recommends visiting the dedicated Food Day website to see a variety of resources to download. These include tips on planning an event, free tools to publicize your event, helpful fact sheets, or simply tips on how you can eat good, healthy foods. It even includes resources for college campuses and faith organizers! National Catholic Rural Life is mentioned in those resources with specific reference to their helpful Food and Justice study guide.

For more university-specific resources, check out ACCU’s Food Security page.