Catholic Universities to Gather at ND to Address Sustainability

Author: Rachel Novick

Notre Dame will soon host Renewing the Campus: Sustainability and the Catholic University, the first national conference dedicated to advancing the engagement of Catholic universities with the most pressing environmental challenges of our time. The conference on October 9th-11th will bring together 250 faculty, students, administrators, and clergy from over 40 Catholic universities across the country to explore the connections between Catholic theology and social thought and the science and practice of environmental sustainability.

“Coming just after the Feast of St. Francis, this conference can go a long way to demonstrate not only practical ways in which Catholic colleges and universities can become more sustainable, but how these activities are an integral and powerful witness to God’s call for us to be stewards of the finite gifts of an amazing planet,” said Daniel Misleh, Executive Director of the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change, whose keynote address will open the conference. “In addition, this gathering can also highlight how our collective actions can help ease the burden of climate change impacts on those who have contributed the least to the problem: the poor and vulnerable at home and around the world.”

Other prominent speakers include Dr. Kristie Ebi, a leading expert on human health impacts for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and Jim Ennis, Executive Director of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference. The conference encompasses the multiplicity of approaches to environmental issues at Catholic institutions of higher learning, including those of theologians, scientists, sustainability practitioners, student activists, and clergy. Participants in panel discussions and workshops throughout the weekend will include members of Catholic universities both large and small from every region of the country.

The conference will take place in Geddes Hall, the first building at Notre Dame expected to receive LEED certification. It is being sponsored by Notre Dame’s Office of Sustainability and co-sponsored by the Center for Social Concerns, College of Science, Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism, Department of Theology, Energy Center, Ford Family Program in Human Development Studies and Solidarity, Graduate School, Institute for Church Life, Mendoza College of Business, Office of the President, Program in Catholic Social Tradition, and School of Architecture, as well as the Haws Corporation and Shiel Sexton Company.