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.

Catholic Colleges Host Events in Solidarity with Immigrants

Twelve Catholic colleges and universities hosted events in solidarity with immigrant brothers and sisters on January 19, as a part of the Ignatian Solidarity Network‘s call to prayer, Prayers of Light.

Saint Peter’s University hosted a prayer service featuring a student choir and students sharing their experience of being undocumented. The service ended with an opportunity to contact Congress on behalf of humane immigration policies.

Students at Loyola University Maryland held a walking candlelight vigil during the busy lunch hour at the campus student center.

Other colleges and universities that held events for the day of prayer include: Fairfield University, Xavier University, John Carroll University, Canisius College, Loyola University of Chicago, Marquette University, Saint Louis University, Gonzaga University, University of San Francisco, and Spring Hill College.

The purpose of the call to prayer was to illuminate, through solidarity and action, the dignity of our immigrant brothers and sisters, and the value of each person’s contribution to our country.  To see prayers and resources related to the event, visit the Ignatian Solidarity Network website.

How are you practicing solidarity on your campus? Share your story with us! Email Lexie Bradley.

Catholic Colleges Featured on Sierra Club’s Cool School’s List

Ten Catholic colleges and universities were featured as 2016 Cool Schools in Sierra Magazine. This list measures colleges in their sustainability efforts in energy, investments, co-curricular, food, innovation, academics, planning, purchasing, transport, waste, and water. Colleges reported their programs and initiatives through the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS), a program of The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).

Schools included are Loyola University of Chicago (featured in the Top 20 Cool Schools), Aquinas College, Creighton University, Gonzaga University, Loyola Marymount University, Saint Louis University, Santa Clara University, Seattle University, St. John’s University, and Villanova University.

Congratulations to the colleges on their sustainability initiatives!

Saint Louis University and DePaul University Awarded National Honor for Diversity

Saint Louis University (SLU) and DePaul University are the proud recipients of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine’s Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award. The award, given to colleges that promote diversity and inclusion on their campus, is the only national recognition of initiatives to create a diverse and inclusive campus.  Award recipients for 2016 include community colleges, public and private schools, baccalaureate-granting institutions, graduate schools, and one school system.

Congratulations to DePaul University, Saint Louis University, and the other winners!

Catholic Colleges Make List of US Eco-friendly Schools

Wondering how your campus measures up in sustainability and energy conservation? Perhaps your school was one of the eleven Catholic colleges and universities featured in a recent Sierra Club ranking of the top ‘cool schools’!

To determine the rankings, the Sierra Club administered a survey to a wide range of higher education institutions in the U.S. The responding schools were then ranked according to a long list of criteria, including co-curricular activities, energy, investments, innovation, academics, and more:

Depending on their responses to the questionnaire, schools were then given a score in a 1000 point system and ranked accordingly. The eleven Catholic colleges ranked included:

  1. Santa Clara University (no. 50)
  2. University of San Diego (no. 69)
  3. Loyola Marymount University (no. 81)
  4. Aquinas College (no. 95)
  5. St. Louis University ( no. 100)
  6. St. John’s University (NY) (no. 102)
  7. Gonzaga University (no. 109)
  8. Villanova University  (no. 110)
  9. University of Dayton (no. 127)
  10. Creighton University (no. 138)
  11. Saint John’s University (MN) (no. 146)

Based on the criteria for the rankings, these eleven schools are officially ‘cool schools’! The Sierra Club reminds us that it is both important to celebrate success but remember that there is more work to be done:

“Our results  suggest that while many universities are making admirable progress, no school has yet attained complete sustainability. In 2015, the top-rated university scored 859.75 out of a possible 1,000 points, indicating much work completed but also room for improvement.”

Want to learn more?  A recent National Catholic Reporter article featured some such progress at the Catholic colleges and universities on the list.

What is your campus doing to promote sustainability and environmental justice? Let us know!

Food for Thought Friday: Because of One Jerry Can

Food for Thought FridaySaint Louis University’s Hannah Vestal shares her story of how carrying a forty pound jerry can not only changed her life but the lives of those suffering from the water crisis. What started as an act of support for a friend, ultimately turned into Vestal carrying a forty pound jerry can everywhere she went for eight months.

This act of solidarity changed her outlook on the world and helped inspire other students to spread awareness about the water crisis. It also elicited a response from her Senator, and raised over $7,500 to purchase a new windmill aqueduct for a village in Panama. Her story reminds us that significant change can be sparked by simple actions. Read the whole story in Millenial.

Read more about Catholic higher education, sustainability and the environment on the ACCU website. 

ACCU members rated in STARS annual review

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) just released their annual report through the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, & Rating System (STARS). STARS is a self-reporting framework through which colleges and universities can showcase their sustainability initiatives. ACCU member colleges Santa Clara University, Loyola University Chicago, University of Dayton, and University of San Diego were featured in the 2014 annual report. Learn about the efforts of these institutions by reading the excerpts below, or browse the entire report for ideas on how to make your own campus more sustainable.

Santa Clara University – STARS Gold

Required of all Santa Clara University students, the Pathway experience provides interdisciplinary and integrative learning across the four years of a student’s college experience, culminating with a synthesizing essay about their Pathway theme and how it connects with a student’s major and other experiences. Students opting to participate in the Sustainable Pathway theme will learn about sustainability from multiple disciplinary perspectives.

Loyola University Chicago – STARS Gold

Loyola University Chicago’s student-run biodiesel program provides hands-on experience for making biodiesel while offering lab fellowships and project opportunities to students. The program is one of few student-managed biodiesel programs in the country, and has received the federal, state and local permits necessary to produce and sell biodiesel on the retail market. Student participation in the Biodiesel Program occurs through lab fellowships, project proposals, or a biodiesel lab course.

University of Dayton – STARS Silver

The Rivermobile at the University of Dayton provides education outreach about local rivers to the greater Dayton community. Developed by River Stewards, students lead the Rivers Institute along with faculty, staff and community partners. Through the use of five mobile classrooms, the RiverMobile travels across the Great Miami Watershed visiting K-12 schools, festivals and other special events. The RiverMobile is an experiential and interdisciplinary experience on topics related to Dayton’s river history, the local aquifer and municipal water cycle, life in and around local rivers, social and global responsibility, and river safety.

University of San Diego – STARS Gold

The University of San Diego has partnered with the City of San Diego and other government organizations, foundations, and utility offices to establish the San Diego Climate Collaborative. This initiative works to advance sustainable development in the region and implement solutions to sustainability challenges. Partners work to: 1. Address and prevent the harmful effects of climate change; 2. Promote a high quality of life for the San Diego region; and 3. Foster a green and growing economy.

Other ACCU members who reported to STARS:

College of Saint Benedict – STARS Silver

DePaul University – STARS reported

Loyola Marymount University – STARS Silver

Marquette University – STARS Silver

University of Notre Dame – STARS Silver

Saint Louis University – STARS Bronze

Read more!

Peace & Justice in ACCU’s Fall Newsletter

ACCU just released Update, its Fall 2014 newsletter! You can read it in its entirety here, but be sure to pay special attention to the sections devoted to peace and justice. These highlights include:

  • CRS Student Ambassadors encourage and facilitate informed action for justice
  • Saint Louis University holds prayer vigils for Ferguson
  • Benedictine University president earns a diversity award
  • St. Thomas Aquinas College receives a recycling award
  • the Ignatian Solidarity Network hosts a U.S. delegation to El Salvador
  • Loyola University Chicago welcomes ‘Dreamers’
  • ACCU has launched a new blog (but you already know that!)

To subscribe to Update, please email Paula Moore.