Laudato Si' Action Plan

The University of Scranton has begun a seven-year process to become designated by the Vatican as a Laudato Si' University. Colleges and universities with this designation are committed to creating initiatives around seven goals that meet Pope Francis' call for integral ecology, when science, ethics, spirituality and action are mutually respected and empowered.

Cry of the Earth

1.    The University will use the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS), a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure its sustainability performance.

Learn More About STARS

2.    The University will conduct an “energy audit” to establish current data with which to measure future progress against.  The analysis should include energy cost and usage, a projected timeline of when different equipment may need replacement and applicable electric-based alternatives for when their useful life is reached.

3.    The University will publicize its commitment to move away from using electricity generated with fossil fuels. We will pursue purchasing options that use renewable and fossil free fuels.

4.    The University will develop a deeper biodiversity emphasis throughout campus to ensure a lasting impact of the Laudato Si’ initiative. This would include more planting on campus, especially of trees and plants marked with signage to reference Laudato Si’.

Cry of the Poor

1.    Building on the history of the Scranton region and the University, the University will support ongoing engagement with partner organizations and initiatives that are focused on immigrant and refugee assistance. 

2.    The University will sustain existing local community outreach initiatives through the division of Mission and Ministry (e.g. Arrupe House, Friends of the Poor, Clothesline for Men) and explore new ways to serve those in need (e.g. a free health clinic run by the University in collaboration with the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine).

3.    The University will highlight the lives and experiences of the original inhabitants of this land, learning from their creation-based understanding of our planet.

4.    The University will incorporate sustainability and its impact on poverty into service learning trips, faculty-led study abroad and community-based learning.

Ecological Economics

1.    The University’s Investment Committee will continue its review of current endowment investments in light of Laudato Si’, SRI, ESG, etc. The University will also research which of its endowed investments are with fossil fuel companies and develop a plan to divest of those investments.

2.    The University will continue to grow the number of water stations across campus to reduce reliance on plastic bottles. In addition, the University will continue to add electric vehicle charging stations across campus to meet the growing demand and pursue grant funding to accelerate our progress on these items.

3.    The University will review printing on campus including the proliferation of desktop and laser jet printers, leveraging recent investments in centralized copiers, paperless processes, and other technology advances to decrease printing across campus.

4.    The University will pursue LEED certification for the building planned for Madison Avenue, integrating more efficient, planet-friendly energy systems in infrastructure planning.

Adoption of Sustainable Lifestyles

1.    The University will review and investigate food waste on campus, especially in the cafeteria, food court, and through catering. The University will partner with our food service provider, Aramark, to help our dining patrons understand food waste impact and identify practical solutions to limit waste.

2.    The University will conduct a study aimed at reducing the use of plastic utensils and plastic bottles, especially at catered events.

3.    The University will intentionally incorporate the principles and message of Laudato Si’ into new student orientation and move-in.

4.    The University will organize discussion groups on Laudato Si’ through the collaborative work of the Jesuit Center, Student Life, and Campus Ministry.

Ecological Education

1.    The University will convene faculty to discuss joint curricular development and possible new areas of study: Food Studies, Environmental Engineering, GIS, Sustainability Science, Graduate Programs, etc. Explore Environmental and Sustainability Studies as a minor and major.

2.    The University will encourage academic speakers on the topics of sustainability, climate change, and environmental justice, as well as organize an academic conference as a culminating event in year seven.

3.    The University will reinitiate faculty research, student research, and community-based learning grants focused on sustainability, and offer support for course and pedagogical innovations focused on sustainability.

4.    The University will incorporate sustainability more explicitly across the curriculum, including within the Tapestry/Passport Program; recommend that Royal Read and IVIA lecture focus on sustainability; integrate sustainability into First-Year Seminars (though FYS workshop for faculty teaching in program); and explore offering an FYS focused on sustainability.

Ecological Spirituality

1.    The University will have a renewed focus on ecology in liturgies, both in celebrations of the Eucharist, as well as other liturgical celebrations. Other prayers are also possible, such as a daily or weekly morning prayer that could take place outdoors.

2.    The University will provide more ways for divisions to work together in advancing our mission as it relates to Care of Our Common Home. Mission and Ministry will collaborate with Student Life, working especially with Residence Life to coordinate more residence hall events with RAs.

3.    The University will work with the Diocese of Scranton to develop an event or activity that would be part of the annual Season of Creation, and perhaps pair with the annual Days of Nonviolence.

4.    The University will incorporate sustainability and its impact on poverty into retreats.

Community Participation

1.    The University will conduct an inventory of its efforts in community engagement in year two to identify future goals. 

2.    The University will seek to partner with local government bodies and anchor institutions to promote the development of  a regional composting program. Educate our community on the benefits of a composting program and the importance of eliminating food waste from landfills and reducing the greenhouse gases emitted by food waste. 

3.    The University will use community workshops or research with local partners to explore and discuss the importance of indigenous plants as an educational opportunity. 

4.    The University will build on its longstanding relationships with effective community partners to promote projects and convene discussions geared toward environmental justice.

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