October is Campus Sustainability Month! This month, consider ways to incorporate sustainability into your courses and daily life at Catholic University.
Talk About It
One of the best things we can do for the environment and sustainability is to foster more conversations about sustainability with our students.
- Discuss how your field can be more sustainable and how it is or is going to be impacted by a changing climate.
- Encourage students to choose projects and reports that link their academic interests to sustainability.
- Speak with your colleagues about how you're addressing sustainability in your classroom.
- Join the Connect and Collaborate: Care for Our Common Home group to speak with other faculty members about how they're incorporating sustainability into their classrooms, as well as to explore opportunities to collaborate across fields. For faculty members interested in participating or learning more, consider registering here.
There is an opportunity for every student and faculty member on campus to get involved in sustainability.
- The on-campus community garden provides a space for all community members to garden together and grow produce for Cardinal Cupboard, the on-campus food pantry. All students, staff, and faculty members, including classes, are welcome to spend time in the garden. The garden not only provides an avenue for service and relaxation, but can serve as a practical tool in science, social work, theology, and many more disciplines.
- Cardinal Closet is Catholic University's on-campus free thrift store located in Gibbons B17. The Closet carries women's and men's clothing in all sizes, and includes business, casual, athletic, formal, maternity clothes, and more. The Closet is open to all students, staff, and faculty members. Encourage anyone that needs an outfit for an interview, internship, or any other purpose to visit. The Closet is open on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 2-4:30 PM during the fall 2023 semester.
- The Office of Campus Sustainability offers campus sustainability tours year-round. We offer general sustainability tours as well as more specific tours of our solar arrays, campus heating and cooling infrastructure, LEED-certified buildings, stormwater management infrastructure, and campus trees. See first-hand how Catholic University is committed to being a living laboratory for our students and creating a healthy environment for the entire community by requesting a tour using our Sustainability Tour Request Form.
- The Office of Campus Sustainability collaborates with faculty across all disciplines on student projects related to sustainability. We've partnered with the Busch School of Business, the School of Architecture and Planning, the School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Engineering, the National Catholic School of Social Service, and more on projects ranging from social justice to sustainability marketing. If you or your students are interested in exploring ways to collaborate, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Green Your Workspace!
Catholic University faculty and staff can directly contribute to achieving the University's sustainability goals by adopting sustainable practices in all campus offices. The Green Office Certification Checklist provides actionable steps for staff and faculty to use to integrate sustainability into their daily work and office culture. Ranging from turning off electronics when not in use to promoting sharing and reuse of office supplies, these steps are no-cost ways to reduce waste; reduce energy, water, and purchasing costs; and create a healthier work environment for everyone.
Designate one or more people in your office to review and complete the checklist. You may define "office" in the way that makes the most sense for your situation - an "office" may be an entire building, a department, or a small team. Submit the checklist with more than 50 percent of the milestones completed by October 31, 2023 for your office to be entered into a raffle to win a catered lunch in November 2023.
Laudato Si', Pope Francis' encyclical letter on Care for Our Common Home, states "as never before in history, common destiny beckons us to seek a new beginning... Let ours be a time remembered for the awakening of a new reverence for life, the firm resolve to achieve sustainability, the quickening of the struggle for justice and peace, and the joyful celebration of life."
Sustainability is one of the greatest challenges of our time, but together as a campus community, we can take meaningful steps towards a better future.
Photograph by Patrick Ryan, University photographer.
Pope Francis. (2015). Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’ of the Holy Father Francis on Care for Our Common Home. Retrieved from https://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html
Gabrielle Choate is the Sustainability Manager in the Office of Campus Sustainability at Catholic University. Gabrielle’s role focuses on collaborating with faculty, staff, and students in all departments and offices to implement sustainability solutions across the University.