Xavier celebrates inaugural Sustainability Day with speakers and interactive discussions

The event addressed present concerns and examined future possibilities | October 27, 2009

Xavier celebrated its inaugural Sustainabliity Day on Tuesday, Oct. 27, with a program of speakers, presentations and interactive discussion in the James and Caroline Duff Banquet Center. Keynote speaker Nancy Tuchman, director of the Center for Urban Environmental, Research and Policy at Loyola University Chicago, discussed her institution’s sustainability initiatives, which include transforming its waste products into biodiesel fuel and sustainability outreach projects to local communities and schools.

Tuchman emphasized the importance of commitment from all parts of the University community in reaching sustainable goals on campus. She urged students—roughly 100 of the 325 attendees—to become involved.

“If you care about this, organize and interact with faculty and administration to impact the issue from the bottom up as well as from the top down,” she said.

Members of the University’s Sustainability Committee discussed Xavier’s efforts at reducing its carbon footprint and pointed out the efforts at benchmark institutions. Maribeth Amyot, Xavier’s chief financial officer, provided an update on the current financial situation and how that might impact the University’s sustainability efforts.

University President Michael J. Graham, S.J., highlighted many of the sustainable efforts underway at Xavier and underscored the University’s commitment to sustainable practices in all new construction.

Pointing to the James E. Hoff, S.J., Academic Quad, which is being built to LEED silver certification standards, and identifying some new opportunities presented by Xavier’s proposed new residence hall, Graham added, “This is simply the way we will go forward in doing business in all new construction.”

Graham said the colleges and universities have an important role to play in the environmental crisis facing the nation and the world. Sustainability is “a lens through which we can see how successfully we are fulfilling our mission as a Catholic, Jesuit university,” he said.

The event closed with open discussions aimed at getting attendee input for the campus action plan, which the Sustainability Committee is charged with creating. Results from those discussion, as well as PowerPoints and transcriptions of the presentations, will be available soon on Xavier’s sustainability web site.