Mercy Mondays: Working towards a more sustainable Salve
As staff, students and faculty enjoy the summer months and the natural beauty of Salve Regina’s campus, it’s important to reflect on how the community can support a more Sustainable Salve. It can be easy to take for granted the wondrous shade provided by Salve Regina’s Arboretum, the rose gardens that provide a playground for pollinators — and, of course, the ocean and all of its majesty.
Nevertheless, the earth is a critical concern of Mercy, and Salve Regina is committed to advancing environmental stewardship and sustainability on campus and in the community. Climate change and environmental degradation are pressing moral issues that compromise the future of our common home, threaten human dignity and life, and compound the hardships of the most vulnerable members of society.
The Sustainability Committee — led by Dr. Craig Condella, chair of the department of philosophy, and Jared Coleman, assistant director of facilities — shepherds Salve Regina’s goals in this crucial area by integrating the social, economic and ecological values of sustainable development into institutional policies and practices in accordance with the Association of University Leaders for a Sustainable Future. This work is advanced by the U.S. Catholic Climate Declaration, which was signed in 2018 by former president Sister Jane Gerety, RSM.
The committee’s commitment to sustainability is underwritten by the critical concerns of the Sisters of Mercy and Pope Francis’ call towards “a new and universal solidarity” in which the climate is understood as “a common good, belonging to all and meant for all,” as found in his writings (“Laudato Si 14” and “Laudato Si 23”). The advancement of an integral ecology at Salve Regina celebrates its mission to serve as stewards of God’s creation, working as transformative agents to bring about a more harmonious, just and merciful world.
The campus will serve as a living laboratory for sustainable development by:
- Promoting responsible water consumption, waste reduction, sustainable and socially just food production, material reuse and recycling, renewable energy investments, ecological land use, green building practices, sustainable campus transportation options, and campus conservation efficiencies.
- Advancing interdisciplinary teaching and research to address pressing local and global environmental, economic and social challenges.
- Fostering a visible, educated, and active commitment to integral ecology and environmental justice among our students, faculty, staff and graduates.
Maintaining the progress Salve Regina has made in sustainability is a community-wide effort. Challenging our community and campus to go even further is what the University strives for. To advance this work on environmental stewardship and sustainability, the Office of Mission Integration appointed a new student position of sustainability, Cassidy Curry ’23, in the spring of 2020. Together, this team is leading the Sustainability Committee at Salve Regina to complete the Association of Sustainability in Higher Education (ASSHE) Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System (STARS) — which is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance. The effort launched in spring 2020 and will continue throughout the 2021-2022 academic year.
Currently, the Sustainability Committee members are as follows: Craig Condella (co-chair), chair of the department of philosophy; Jared Coleman (co-chair), assistant director of facilities; Rose Albert, assistant director of Multicultural Programs and Retention; Tom Arruda, associate professor of chemistry; Amy Cady, assistant director of the Mercy Center for Spiritual Life; Jameson Chace, chair of the department of biology and biomedical sciences; Genna Duplisea, archivist and special collections librarian of the McKillop Library; Dawn Emsellem-Wichowski, director of library services; Kelly Powers, director of the Center for Community Engagement and Service; Mike Chester, superintendent of grounds; Patrice Coleman, purchasing manager; Mark Rodrigues, Sodexo General Manager; Bill Hall, vice president for administration/Chief Financial Officer; Eric Milner, assistant vice president for Facilities Management; Irving Bruckstein, associate vice president for Information Technology; and Theresa Ladrigan-Whelpley, vice president for Mission Integration.
The Sustainability Committee looks forward to the community’s continued support of its work. For more information on sustainability at Salve Regina, visit the University’s sustainability webpage. If anyone would like to get more involved in sustainability, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This post is part of an ongoing series called Mercy Mondays that highlights Salve Regina’s dedication to its Mercy Mission. Search the tag Mercy Mission for more updates on the Mercy branches of Salve Regina.
Featured photo by Mary Beth Pelletier ’06, ’12 (M)