BY ISN STAFF | December 14, 2020
Loyola University Chicago has formally announced the launch of its new School of Environmental Sustainability (SES), the first-ever school dedicated to environmental sustainability across Jesuit institutions worldwide.
The new school builds on the strong foundation of the Institute of Environmental Sustainability (IES). In the Institute’s seven years, IES has demonstrated success at the undergraduate level and more recently at the graduate level, putting Loyola on the map as a leader in environmental sustainability. Other notable achievements of the Institute include the founding of its annual Climate Change Conference, the establishment of a student-run farmer’s market and greenhouse, and developing hand sanitizer during the COVID-19 pandemic.“At Loyola University Chicago, we are driven by our Jesuit tradition of social justice, our service to humanity, and our role as an institution of higher education to create a more sustainable future for our local and global communities,” said Dr. Jo Ann Rooney, president of Loyola. “As the urgency over global climate change intensifies, Loyola’s School of Environmental Sustainability contributes the best thinking and research of our faculty and students, often in transdisciplinary ways with our other academic areas, in helping solve some of the world’s most pressing and complex challenges.”
She added, “The expansion of IES into a school also presents Loyola with the opportunity to increase our influence and reputation as a leader in environmental stewardship, scholarship, research, and action. It is our expectation that the establishment of SES will inspire our students—along with faculty and staff—to be climate change leaders during this most critical time and engage others from private and public sectors to join in learning and being agents of change and transformation in their communities and organizations. In addition, SES will also help our institution further accelerate our commitment to the elimination of carbon emissions by 2025, an initiative that we have been driving towards since 2017.”
SES’s five-year plan advances Loyola’s academic vision of amplifying and enhancing cross-school interdisciplinary collaborations, scholarship, and research. SES’s plan includes the establishment of five new interdisciplinary areas of study; robust development of interdisciplinary research and scholarship across the schools; the goal of nearly tripling SES undergraduate and graduate enrollments; expansion of graduate student research; increased research funding and publication rates; augmentation of the University’s professional seminar and conference offerings; and academic employment opportunities with cluster hires in each department to increase ethnic diversity of faculty and staff and fortify interdisciplinary research teams.
“The founding of IES in 2013 marked Loyola’s first step in a larger commitment to environmental sustainability, and we are both thrilled and grateful that the University is advancing this commitment by investing in our scholarship, especially amidst the COVID-19 pandemic,” said SES founding dean and IES founding dean Nancy Tuchman, Ph.D. “The establishment of SES is about far more than a name change–it demonstrates Loyola’s ongoing commitment to climate change, concern for the loss of biodiversity, and care for our common home. During such bleak times in our country and world, it sends a message of both hope and resilience.”
SES will host a virtual grand opening on Monday, December 14 at 5:30 p.m. The event is open to the public and will include a panel discussion on the pressing societal issues regarding climate change and environmental justice. Panelists will include environmental author and climate activist Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org; The Roosevelt Institute’s director of climate policy, Rhiana Gunn-Wright; Barilla’s vice president of supply chain, Fabio Pettenati; and executive director of Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO), Kimberly Wasserman. To register for the event, click here.
For more information on SES, including the upcoming Climate Change Conference the week of March 15, 2021, please visit LUC.edu/environment.