In alignment with our Catholic heritage and core values of education, charity, freedom, and justice, Clarke University will enroll as Laudato Si University. With this commitment, the university joins an international coalition of organizations answering Pope Francis’s call to “care for our common home.”
Once accepted as a Laudato Si University, Clarke will develop a 7-year action plan for integral ecology, where science, ethics, spirituality, and action align to promote sustainable initiatives on campus and in the community. The Laudato Si action platform is based on the Pope’s encyclical calling on members of the Catholic community to be good stewards of our common home, Earth, its resources, and all life that depends on it.
For Clarke, this means building on activities already in place, such as robust recycling and compost programs, sustainable investment practices, and campus ministry outreach, as well as developing new plans and projects. Jessica Schlader, Corporate/Foundation Grants and Research Officer and co-chair of the Clarke Sustainability Committee explained that as a Laudato Si University, Clarke will have access to more resources and support to advance their goals.
The action plan will allow us to further identify operations that already align with sustainability goals and provide us with the opportunity and guidance to do better. Signing onto Laudato Si is a win for Clarke as we continue to advance our mission, values, and the common good. Laudato Si will provide our strategic plan an incredibly valuable lens by which to view initiatives and operations.
Rather than putting the responsibility on one individual, the duties of Laudato Si will be led by the Clarke Sustainability Committee and their partners across campus, such as Facilities Management, Dining Services, and Residence Life. Clarke is also in alignment with local and national initiatives, including the City of Dubuque’s Climate Action Plan, the Dubuque Colleges Sustainability Coalition, and the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.
To learn more about sustainability projects at Clarke and how you can get involved, visit clarke.edu/sustainability.