Xavier University holds the first Sustainability Day on campus on Tuesday, Oct. 27

The focus of the day is on the importance of implementing sustainable practices | October 26, 2009

Xavier is suspending classes and inviting all faculty, staff and students to celebrate Sustainability Day on Tuesday, Oct. 27. The day is an opportunity to explore the issue of sustainability and ways the University can become more sustainable by promoting more environmentally friendly practices.

The event takes place from 10:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m. in the Schiff Conference and Banquet Center at the Cintas Center. Sustainability Day replaces Academic Day this year. While the events are not open to the general public, the message of the day is universally applicable.

No classes are being held so the entire University community can participate in some or all of the day's activities. Sustainable practices are helping to shape the day's program, which highlights local food as well as Xavier’s sustainability initiatives. Attendees are encouraged to come to work using alternative modes of transportation, such as carpooling, biking or taking the bus. Employees who choose such options will be able to report to work an hour later.

The featured speaker for the day is Nancy Tuchman, director of the Center for Urban Environmental Research and Policy at Loyola University Chicago. Launched in the fall of 2005, the center seeks to advance understanding of the complex interactions and feedback between natural and human systems, especially in large metropolitan areas, through interdisciplinary research. Loyola is taking steps to enhance the university environment where students, faculty and staff can carry sustainable behaviors of resource conservation into their day-to-day lifestyles on and off campus.

“The day will also offer opportunities to learn about the work of many people to make our campus community more sustainable as well as the chance to contribute your own ideas to the campus action plan for significantly reducing our carbon footprint,” says Kathleen Smythe, associate professor of history and co-chair of Xavier’s sustainability committee.

In 2008, Xavier president Michael J. Graham, S.J., signed Xavier’s name to The American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment, which has a goal to become “climate neutral.” The agreement has now been signed by over 650 presidents. Goals include developing a plan of action and regularly evaluating its results.

“I think this is an important issue for society in general, universities included, especially Jesuit, Catholic ones like Xavier,” Graham said.

The day includes group discussions about sustainable initiatives in the afternoon after which Father Graham makes his remarks about sustainability.