Students Elliott Magnuson (Biology) and Heidi Hill (Biology) work with Professor Kay in the University of St. Thomas Stewardship Garden.

Sustainability at the Heart of St. Thomas

In the decade since then-President Father Dennis Dease signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) in 2008, nearly every aspect of life on the university campus has been touched in some way by St. Thomas’ commitment to sustainability. There’s the Office of Sustainability Initiatives (OSI) work tying sustainability into curriculum; the ongoing work of Facilities Management and Dining Services to cut the university’s carbon footprint and create more sustainable, everyday systems; and the many options the Division of Student Affairs provides, like the Sustainability Living Learning Community, that help students live sustainably in every element of their lives as Tommies, including in the legacy of their time at St. Thomas through the Impact Project.

“Contributing to our students’ and alumni’s knowledge of commitment to sustainability, as well as ensuring the university’s adoption of sustainable practices, is central to our mission of advancing the common good,” President Julie Sullivan said. “We work to ensure that all humans across the planet today have access to the unblemished richness of God’s creation. We also recognize that the common good extends to future generations and work to be good stewards for those who follow us.”

St. Thomas recently received a silver STARS rating in recognition of its sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System, measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education. The recognition signifies a large step for St. Thomas in recognizing how much work supporting sustainability has already been done, and where more work can continue to grow.

Click on one of the images below to check out some of the many examples of sustainability coming to life across St. Thomas, and read more in depth about the university's efforts here.