Saint Joseph’s College Receives $4 Million in Funding to Launch Institute for Local Food Systems Innovation

Congratulations to Saint Joseph’s College for announcing the launch of their Institute for Local Food Systems Innovation! The announcement comes as the institute recently received $4 million in funding from a Public Works Construction Project award from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, and donations from the Hannaford Charitable Foundation, Organic Nutrition, Inc., and several private foundations and individuals.

This project “pursues the College’s long-standing initiatives in sustainability and community engagement, while contributing solutions to Maine’s need to recover manufacturing jobs, develop the state’s food and beverage industry, and meet regional food security goals.” These funds will allow the College to begin the initial phases of development for the institute. The institute will include “a food manufacturing incubator, a hydroponic farm, a traditional crop and livestock farm, an agritourism event center, and an entrepreneurship development and education program offering certificates in areas such as hydroponic farming, food processing, and good merchandising.” The college’s strategic plan seeks to positively affect those in need in the community, those learning from the institute, and the local environment.

To read the full article, click here.

Saint Joseph’s College Begins International Graduate Certificate in Christianity and Integral Ecology

The International Graduate Certificate in Christianity and an Integral Ecology:   A World to Live and a Life to Love is a joint venture between the Laudato Si’ Institute of the Archdiocese of Granada, Spain and Saint Joseph’s College. This program enables students to take as their own by understanding deeply Pope Francis’ teaching that each person’s vocation is to be a protector of God’s earth.

On their program website, Saint Joseph’s College explains the purpose of the program to communicate “to students the knowledge and skills needed to develop theological and ecological literacy appropriate to the intent and mandate of Laudato Si’, to apprehend the vocation to protect and respect, and to actualize that vocation as they discern it according to their states in life, their professional goals, and their own spiritual journeys as theologically literate Catholics within the dynamics of the New Evangelization.”

The graduate certificate consists of five (5) 3-credit courses: three fully online and two hybrid with a week each on site in Standish, Maine, USA, and Granada, Spain. The program is completed over a 17-month period: April 2017 through September 2018 with a 3-month break January through March 2018.

For more information, visit the program website.


St. Joseph’s College Joins EcoMotion to Boost Sustainability Initiatives

Last month, Saint Joseph’s College of Maine announced that the college has begun a new partnership with EcoMotion, a sustainability consulting firm that works with cities, corporations, and universities to help them put into action their sustainability commitments in all aspects of university life, from operations to engagement. The new relationship will help the college to continue advancing their Attainable Sustainable program. So far, the program has seen the signing of the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment as well as the achievement of a bronze rating through the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s (AASHE) Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System.

These achievements were made possible by the tireless efforts of faculty and staff members, as well as students and the surrounding community. These individuals have also been instrumental in organizing the Sustainability Festival, engagement programs with Eco-Reps and an employee Green Team, and the launching of a Green Revolving Fund, which oversees energy efficiency and community projects.

The new partnership between Saint Joseph’s and EcoMotion has tasked both institutions with conducting a Greenhouse Gas Inventory, devising a Climate Action and Sustainability Plan, and more. EcoMotion’s efforts will also help the College continue to implement their existing plan for climate action, called Sustaining the Promise.

As a response to Pope Francis’ call to care for creation, also known as “our common home”, Saint Joseph’s College is proud and excited to re-energize their commitments to sustainability, energy efficiency, and climate change action and advocacy. Read the full article here!

Laudato Si Release: Act

Earlier today, Pope Francis released his long-awaited encyclical letter, Laudato Si.  We at ACCU are sharing resources and best practices to help our campuses pray for commitment to care for creation, learn about the encyclical and our call to stewardship, and act upon our beliefs to work for the common good.


ACCU member institutions have acted upon their call to care for creation through a number of sustainability and environmental justice initiatives.

  • The Catholic Climate Covenant, with support from the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, the Association of Franciscan Colleges and Universities, and the Catholic Campus Ministry Association, have produced Sustainability and Catholic Higher Education: A Toolkit for Mission Integration (PDF; 3MB).  Through mission-based initiatives, the Toolkit offers practical suggestions to inspire individuals, families, schools, parishes, and dioceses to follow the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change’s St. Francis Pledge.
  • 29 Catholic colleges and universities have taken the St. Francis Pledge, sponsored by the Catholic Climate Covenant, committing to living out the value of care for creation through reflection, action, and advocacy.  These campuses include: Aquinas College (MI), Cabrini College, Chestnut Hill College, College of Saint Benedict, Creighton University, Gonzaga University, John Carroll University, Lewis University, Loyola University Chicago, Marquette University, Mercyhurst University, Mount St. Joseph University, Neumann University, Rosemont College, Saint Anselm College, Saint Francis University, Saint John’s University (MN), Saint Joseph’s College (IN), Saint Mary’s College of California, Saint Michael’s College, Salve Regina University, Seattle University, St. Thomas More College, Stonehill College, University of Notre Dame, University of Portland, Villanova University, Viterbo University, and Xavier University.
  • The Center for Environmental Justice and Sustainability at Seattle University lives out a core tenet of the university mission.  The Center has undertaken a number of initiatives, including supporting faculty and student research through fellowships.  Dr. Trileigh Tucker, Associate Professor of Environmental Studies at Seattle University, and one of CEJS’s first Faculty Fellows, developed a teaching resource on environmental justice, compiling syllabi, assessment methods, and foundational documents used frequently in courses on environmental justice.
  • Benedictine University in Illinois has received a $46,000 Food Scrap Composting Revitalization and Advancement Program (F-SCRAP) grant from the state to allow for the diversion of food scraps generated in the campus cafeteria and other buildings.
  • In spring 2015, Cabrini College held a conference, “Faith, Climate, and Health”, to examine how climate change affects the health of the most vulnerable citizens.
  • At the University of Portland, professors Dr. Russell Butkus and Dr. Steven Kolmes, teach a course entitled “Theology in Ecological Perspective”, exploring Catholic and Christian teaching and environmental science.

Read more ways ACCU member campuses have undertaken sustainability initiatives on the ACCU website.  Check back frequently as we will post new updates and ways that ACCU campuses react to the Laudato Si to the blog!