BY ISN STAFF | May 6, 2015
MILWAUKEE, WI – Last month Marquette University president Michael Lovell, Ph.D., signed the Catholic Climate Covenant’s Saint Francis Pledge. The signing coincided with campus celebrations of Earth Day.
“I think it’s exciting,” Lovell said. “It’s an exciting day and to sign it on Earth Day is very symbolic.”
The signature is the culmination of three years of work by Students for an Environmentally Active Campus (SEAC) and other Marquette community members.
Marquette joins twenty-eight other Catholic universities as a partner. This list includes six Jesuit universities: Creighton University, Gonzaga University, John Carroll University, Loyola University Chicago, Seattle University, and Xavier University.
The pledge signing effort began in 2013 when SEAC members, including faculty adviser James Schaefer, Ph.D., began to encourage university administrators to consider the opportunity to institutionalize the values of the pledge, including the important relationship between faith, environmental stewardship, and solidarity with those marginalized by climate change.
“We decided this is an important initiative for Marquette to take,”said James Schaefer,Students for an Environmentally Active Campus. Shchaefer continued, “Especially to join other Jesuit and Catholic colleges and universities that have already signed the St. Francis Pledge.”
While the signing of the pledge may be a new beginning for creating an environmentally active campus, SEAC members said there is still a lot of work to be done to educate and motivate the student body.
“The big issue is to not just let that pledge sit,” Schaefer said. “We don’t just want a document that is signed. We want us, as a university – faculty, students, staff – to actually say how we think we should be making that pledge on our own.”
Following Lovell’s signature, the group took a moment to discuss how the pledge will be lived out on campus. Lovell and Schaefer suggested the possibility of running a campus sustainability assessment. The last such assessment happened at Marquette in the late 1990’s.
[SOURCES: Marquette University, Marquette Wire]