Earth Week 2020 continues to advance Salve’s Mercy mission
“Recognizing that all people are stewards of God’s creation, the University encourages students to work for a world that is harmonious, just, and merciful.”
– Salve Regina University Mission Statement
This week, Salve Regina celebrates the 50th anniversary of Earth day on Wednesday, April 22. First celebrated in 1970, Earth Day is recognized worldwide and engages more than 190 countries in environmental advocacy and outreach efforts to support a more just, humane and sustainable world. Each decade, global efforts become more urgent as we witness the effects of climate change and environmental degradation on animals, humans and the earth.
Salve Regina students in the Center for Community Engagement and Service are seeking to live out that Mercy mission this Earth Week by launching creative initiatives to engage the community in the University’s Critical Concern for the Earth.
Service Advocates use social media for green outreach
Service Advocates Emily Gibson ’23, Miranda Gallagher ’23, Bella Stack ’23 and Alley Harkness ’20 are fostering environmental awareness in creative and relevant ways through a social media campaign. The team launched their initiative with two photos that they posted on the Center for Community Engagement and Service’s Instagram (@SalveService) on March 28 to promote Earth Hour.
“We were looking for a simple community service in which everyone can participate from the safety of their homes,” said Gallagher. “Earth Hour was a perfect opportunity.”
To continue their efforts, Service Advocates are creating Instagram posts each day this Earth Week focusing on sustainability and the impact of their waste. Every post will include critical facts and information and a related documentary for people to view at home.
Salve Regina hosts Earth Week virtual events
In partnership with Clean Ocean Access and Aquidneck Island Earth Week 2020, the Center for Community Engagement and Service is hosting a Zoom event on April 22 at 7 p.m. with Dave McLaughlin, co-founder and executive director of Clean Ocean Access.
The working goals of Clean Ocean Access are to eliminate marine debris, improve coastal water quality and protect and preserve shoreline access. A longtime community partner with Salve Regina, Clean Ocean Access sees its mission today as more urgent than ever.
To learn more and join go to zoom.us/join and enter Meeting ID: 970 4437 6470 and Password: 7CaKSS.
As Salve Regina celebrates Earth Week, the Mercy Center for Spiritual Life invites our community to join together to celebrate the beauty and wonder of God’s creation and to pray for wholeness and healing in our local and global communities and the earth.
Students, staff and faculty are invited to participate in this Earth Week prayer service through WebEx on Thursday, April 23, at 10:00 a.m. Please use the following WebEx link to join the Earth Week Prayer. The meeting password is B2Ee8ScMq35.
Promoting environmental sustainability on campus and in the community
Installing hydration stations to save water
This spring, Kelly Powers, director of the Center for Community Engagement and Service at Salve Regina, and Orlando Peace, program coordinator at Boys and Girls Club of Newport, were awarded a grant from The Greenlove Foundation to facilitate the installation of a hydration station at the Florence Gray Center in Newport.
The Greenlove Foundation in Newport is an organization that supports initiatives promoting environmental sustainability and focuses on grants to install water filling stations in local schools and recreational areas on Aquidneck Island. Salve Regina students are working remotely even now to create educational materials about clean water access for water filling stations on campus and in the community.
Diverting and recycling unwanted waste
At the end of each academic year, the Center for Community Engagement and Service encourages students to donate unwanted items from their residence halls. Items can be small – such as clothing and cleaning supplies – or large, such as mini fridges and microwaves. As many items as possible are donated to community partners. The rest of the items are sold, and the proceeds help fund the scholarships of students in need of financial aid to attend service immersions.
This year, due to the unprecedented early departure of students, items are being collected as students gather their belongings during the allotted time frames. Items that are highly requested by community partners including clothes, food, cleaning supplies, toiletries and school supplies.
The Institute of the Sisters of Mercy Justice Team is also launching a year-long Mercy Earth Challenge to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and the 5th anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, “Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home.”
The first part of the challenge will begin today, April 20, and run through May 30 just after the encyclical’s anniversary on May 24. Each week, the Justice Team will provide a weekly quote from the encyclical, a spiritual and educational resource and a suggested action that responds to Pope Francis’ challenges to us to “care for our Common Home.”
From there, the Justice Team will invite everyone connected to Mercy to join each person in changing one aspect of their lifestyles during the changing of seasons. The lifestyle change themes will include reconsidering transportation options, reducing use of plastic, reducing food waste and an updated Mercy Meatless Mondays.
As Pope Francis reminds us, “Every effort to protect and improve our world entails profound changes in “lifestyles, models of production and consumption, and the established structures of power which today govern societies” (“Laudato Si,” no. 5).
As the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy prepares for this yearlong journey, it invites everyone to reflect today on these important questions:
- How can I not simply recycle, but reduce, refuse (the wasteful bag, straw, etc.) and reuse?
- How can I live gratefully and simply today?
- How are my actions for Earth an expression of my faith?
Combating the ongoing climate crisis will take each of us doing our part. The Mercy Earth Challenge is not a sprint; it’s a year-long marathon of change.
Anyone may sign up here to receive more information and join the challenge.
Thanks to everyone for supporting the University’s sustainability efforts in this way! For more information on any of the above initiatives, contact the Center for Community Engagement and Service at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Each Monday, SALVEtoday will provide a service update for the University community on what faculty, staff and students are doing to help out others during this time of remote living and learning. #salvesgotthis #mercymondays