Immaculata has joined an international coalition of Catholic organizations to care for the Earth, in response to Pope Francis’ call to “protect our common home.” Pope Francis encourages people and institutions worldwide to join the Laudato Si’ Action Platform and begin a seven-year journey toward integral ecology, which emphasizes our relationships with each other, our Creator and all creation. These connections have frayed, leading to climate change and pollution, which increase the risk of hunger, thirst, sickness, conflict and migration, especially for the poorest and most vulnerable.
In his 2015 encyclical letter, Laudato Si’, Pope Francis critiques consumerism and laments environmental degradation and global warming. “Climate change is a global problem with grave implications,” he writes. “A great cultural, spiritual and educational challenge stands before us, and it will demand that we set out on the long path of renewal.”
Seven Integral Ecology Goals
Pope Francis lays out seven goals within our journey toward integral ecology:
- Respond to the cry of the Earth
- Respond to the cry of the poor
- Foster ecological economics
- Adopt a sustainable lifestyle
- Offer ecological education
- Develop ecological spirituality
- Support local communities
IU Sustainability Group
In 2021, Immaculata formed a group made up of faculty, staff and students who will develop a sustainability plan based on the seven Laudato Si’ goals. IU will report its progress annually to the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, communicating with other universities around the world in this seven-year journey.
IU Sustainability Group Co-chairs:
- Sister Rose Mulligan, IHM, Ph.D., associate professor of chemistry
- Sister Susan Kuk, IHM, EdD, faculty project support
- Kevin Convery, director of facilities
- Allison Duncan, associate director of university communications
- Lauren Kolenda, student
- Sister Antoine Lawlor, vice president of campus mission and ministry
- Sean Lockard, dining services general manager
- Steve Mason, assistant professor of natural sciences
- Anthony McBride, maintenance manager
- Anthony Mineo, student
- Cecelia Oswald, director of institutional research
- Sister Annette Pelletier, IHM, associate professor of theology
- Lynn Rothenhoefer, associate dean of students
Current Sustainability Initiatives
The IU Sustainability Group invites the Immaculata community (students, employees, alumni and friends) to sign a climate pledge, committing to mitigate climate change and promote environmentally sustainable acts in everyday life.
Immaculata is in the process of planning and implementing many water- and energy-saving initiatives, such as installing solar panels on its new science building, replacing light fixtures with LED lights across campus, using geothermal wells to heat and cool buildings, installing occupancy sensors and upgrading HVAC controls, and upgrading to low-flush toilets and water-saving fixtures. In addition, Immaculata continues its extensive recycling program.
Immaculata’s dining hall uses compostable containers for soup, ice cream and hot beverages and a recyclable cup for cold beverages. Straws have been eliminated in the main dining hall, and in many dining services locations, compostable food boats are available as take-out containers.