Bellarmine College Preparatory is among 36 schools in the United States, Canada, Chile, and Australia participating in the Ignatian Carbon Challenge. The initiative, which coincides with Pope Francis’ September 1 Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation and is designed to bring Laudato Si’ to life within classrooms and institutions, is led by the Ignatian Solidarity Network (ISN).
The program runs through the 2016-2017 academic year, and provides tangible resources for action and reflection to support institutions’ and individuals’ work toward a more sustainable lifestyle and campus environment.
“We hope to make our campus and world more sustainable and make students more aware of their relationship to creation,” said Joe Cussen, assistant director of Christian Service at Bellarmine. The Jesuit school plans to integrate the individual challenge into its homeroom program, designed as a competition with incentives and prizes for high-performing classes.
Through continual strides in sustainability, Bellarmine has experienced a 10% carbon footprint reduction of 281 metric tons compared with the previous year. The school has developed a five-year sustainability plan to continue to reduce its energy and water consumption, as well as increasing its recycling efforts. The newest buildings on the Bellarmine campus equate to more than 148,600 sq. ft. of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified space.
Progress of the Ignatian Carbon Challenge will be officially tracked by ISN staff, and will be publicized through social media using #IggyCarbon. Founded in 2004, ISN is a national social justice networking, education and advocacy organization animated by the spirituality of Saint Ignatius of Loyola and the witness of the Jesuit Martyrs of El Salvador and their companions. The nonprofit works in partnership with more than 80 Jesuit universities, high schools, and parishes, along with many other Catholic institutions and social justice partners.
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