Flowers on the lower quad are backlit by morning light on July 5, 2021, in St. Paul.
Liam James Doyle/University of St. Thomas

Our Commitment to a More Sustainable World

President Julie Sullivan shared the following in an email to the St. Thomas community.

Dear students, faculty and staff,

Today, we celebrate the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the Patron Saint of Ecologists. It’s a fitting day to recommit to live and work sustainably at St. Thomas.

As members of the St. Thomas community, we are called to be stewards of creation and to take intentional actions to care for our common home.

Today, join two special outdoor events to mark the last day of the Season of Creation.

  • The Blessing of the Animals: Monday from 5-5:30 p.m. at O'Neill Terrace (outside the chapel)
  • The Evening Prayer for Creation: Monday from 7-7:45 p.m. at the Iversen Center for Faith Amphitheater.

Sustainability efforts are alive and well at St. Thomas and we all have a role to play in furthering our commitment:

  • This spring, four years ahead of the schedule outlined in the St. Thomas 2025 plan, the university earned a STARS gold rating for its sustainability achievements.
  • Tommie East Residence Hall was awarded a prestigious LEED Platinum certification for sustainable building design and construction.
  • Last semester, Undergraduate Student Government (USG) passed a resolution to work toward zero waste. There are visible signs of their inspiration on campus.
    • Resident students now have the opportunity to compost and a new Guide to Sustainable Living helps students integrate sustainability into their daily lives.
    • Reusable containers are available at T’s, reusable bags are used at campus stores, and we are recycling disposable masks.
    • At events, including our home football games, student sustainability leaders are present to “trash talk” and help people properly sort waste.

We are making progress and we are not stopping. Today, St. Thomas joins the Laudato Si’ Action Platform, a new initiative of the Vatican to engage people around the world in caring for our common home. We commit to joining other universities and communities throughout the world to answer Pope Francis’ call to creating a more sustainable world.

This week, I invite you to engage in prayer, reflection and action toward sustainability:

Pope Francis reminds us that we face “a complex crisis that is both social and environmental.” The poor and vulnerable among us suffer the most from pollution and the increasing intensity of wildfires, heatwaves, droughts and storms. He also said, “Hope for tomorrow is not a noble sentiment, but a task calling for concrete actions here and now.”

Please take this week to think about your personal intention to care for our common home. Thank you for being part of our St. Thomas community and for working to create a better world for all.

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