In response to Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ on “care for our common home” and the Vatican’s Laudato Si’ Action Platform, President Michael R. Lovell announced at his annual address in January the formation of a campuswide Laudato Si’ Action Plan Task Force to be led by Rev. Jim Voiss, S.J., vice president for mission and ministry; Lora Strigens, vice president for facilities and planning; and Chelsea Malacara, campus sustainability coordinator. The task force will look to expand upon the university’s recent sustainability efforts and help create a deeper culture of sustainability across campus.
Following is an update from President Lovell.
As a Catholic, Jesuit university, our fundamental objective is to provide a mission-driven, transformative education for our students, enabling them to go forth and Be The Difference our world needs. This mission challenges us to discern, on an ongoing basis, the signs of the times so that the education we provide will prepare our students for the world in which they will be living. In the present moment, one of the most pressing topics is global environmental degradation.
Fidelity to Marquette’s mission requires that we engage with the diverse, interrelated challenges posed by this reality. Inspired by the Universal Apostolic Preferences of the Society of Jesus, we work together to understand and find actions we can take to improve the conditions of our world for all people.
In January 2023, I announced the launch of the Laudato Si’ Planning Task Force; this group is charged with engaging our community to develop new goals and strategies to advance sustainability and deepen our collective ecological knowing. The Laudato Si’ Task Force will be engaging in this work through 2023 and presenting a draft plan of action to the board of trustees in early 2024. I remain grateful for the steadfast leadership of Rev. Jim Voiss, S. J., Lora Strigens, and Chelsea Malacara in advancing this initiative.
Since my address, the Laudato Si’ Task Force formally enrolled Marquette University in the Laudato Si’ Action Plan through the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. To date, they have identified five priorities, which may be expanded upon over the course of planning. They are as follows:
- Integrate integral ecology across curriculum and research
- Reduce Marquette University’s ecological footprint
- Practice socially responsible purchasing and investment
- Respond to the ecological crisis through community engagement and public advocacy
- Foster a deep sense of responsibility to care for our common home through action and spirituality
Marquette University has been committed to sustainability and environmental justice throughout its history. In more recent years, significant gains have been made to integrate the tenets of Laudato Si’: On Care for our Common Home through our curriculum, academic programs and operations. While these programs and initiatives have been successful, our institution, like many others, seeks a cohesive, community-driven roadmap forward.
Pope Francis’ Seven-year Journey toward Integral Ecology offers a catalyst for intentional action. It provides the foundation to build a resilient community that prioritizes sustainability for future generations. Marquette University is embarking on the call to action by Pope Francis to Care for Our Common Home by strategizing around the sustainability of our campus.
The Laudato Si’ Action Platform will become an invaluable framework for this vital initiative. Our efforts have the full support of university leaders, staff and faculty, our Jesuit community, and all who embrace our vision.
Dr. Michael R. Lovell