Viterbo University Provides for their Students

Viterbo University has found major success with their student food pantry. Partnering with the campus Hunger Task Force, Viterbo has two no-questions-asked student food pantries. These food pantries allow students in need to have easy access to food. Viterbo notes that “students have expressed in anonymous ways their deep gratitude for the food pantry and how it truly impacts their lives in times of need.”

Campus Ministry and the Hunger Task Force are launching a new initiative called the Case-a-Month Club. This is “an opportunity for employees to sign up to contribute a monthly case of food on a regular basis. This would help fill any food needs that are not being met by the Hunger Task Force.” Viterbo’s Student Food Pantry program demonstrates their commitment to the Franciscan core values of serving those in need.

To hear more about the Viterbo Student Food Pantry program, click here.

Catholic Colleges and Universities Honor St. Francis of Assisi with a Week Long Celebration

The Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi was celebrated on October 4th. Several Catholic colleges and universities commemorated the life of this humble saint with a week-long celebration. St. Francis was a man characterized by his conversion from a wealthy man to humble servant to the poor and preacher of the Gospel. St. Francis’ mission of embracing marginalized people is one that Catholic colleges and universities strive to embody through their work of service. Through celebrating the life of St. Francis, colleges and universities reaffirmed their desire to serve others in their community, to care for the environment, and to fight for social justice related issues.

St. Francis College, Hilbert College, and Viterbo University are among some of the schools that dedicated a week to St. Francis. The week consisted of different activities and a speaker series that relate to the mission of St. Francis. At St. Francis College they kicked off with a party and throughout the week hosted a series of talks relating to Franciscan spirituality and including “A Conversation on Hospitality” with St. Francis’s President, Miguel Martinez-Saenz. At Hilbert College there was a keynote address given by Fr. David Couturier titled “Franciscan Values & Millennials: Envisioning a Healthy World Economy.” The purpose of the address was to “advance a dialogue on how St. Francis of Assisi’s understandings of a social or fraternal economy can effectively inform many of the economic challenges that Millennials face today and in the future.” The week also featured service opportunities of feeding those in need as well as reflections and a mass to guide the week. Viterbo College spent the week hosting a series of liturgies, prayer services, and volunteer opportunities. One of these included a blessing of the animals, which reminded everyone how St. Francis had such a deep love for animals that he would even preach to them.

Spend a few minutes reflecting on the life of St. Francis of Assisi and asking God to give you are heart open to serve by praying the Peace Prayer of St. Francis!

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!