As part of Xavier University’s Center for Mission and Identity’s weekly Loyola Lunch Seminars, thirty faculty and staff engaged in a three-part Sustainability and Mission series to develop Xavier University “Sustainability Ambassadors.” Participants addressed issues of food, consumption, and energy through education, dialogue, campus field observation as well as reading foundational Jesuit documents and experiencing an ecology-themed Ignatian Examen. The series was facilitated by Ann Dougherty P.E., Xavier’s sustainability coordinator. A participant described the impact stating, “The series refocused my thoughts that this is a spiritual problem as well as a practical problem. All of us are responsible for each other and interconnected.”
In support of Xavier’s pledge to the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment and the call from the Superior General of the Society of Jesus, Fr. Adolfo Nicolas SJ, “to take responsibility for our home, the earth,” ambassadors are animating the culture of earth care on campus, in classrooms, and in their personal lives. They are easily recognized on campus with shirts identifying them as a “Xavier Sustainability Ambassador.”
The Ambassador program is an extension of an opportunity offered in summer 2012 to staff of Xavier’s Physical Plant Department. In total, Dougherty has developed more than 50 Sustainability Ambassadors at Xavier. The next iteration of the program will develop ambassadors focused on renewable energy, mixing university mechanical technicians, financial administration staff, and professors of physics and finance.
“As a Jesuit Catholic university, Xavier is committed to advancing ecological and human justice and this program does that in a unique, mission-conscious, and personal way,” says Debra Mooney, Ph.D., assistant to the president for Mission and Identity.