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On Sunday evening, at a Mass marking the beginning of Mission Week 2022, Dr. Al Miciak, President of John Carroll University, announced that the University is part of the first cohort of colleges and universities  to answer Pope Francis’ call to join the Vatican’s Seven Year Journey to Become a Laudato Si' Campus."Laudato Si’,” President Miciak explains, “is the Pope’s 2015 encyclical on Integral Ecology. Over the next 7 years, we will be one of over a hundred universities to take concrete steps to promote ecological education and simplified lifestyles, reduce our carbon footprint, invest and spend responsibly, and listen carefully to the voices of those who are poor and most adversely affected by climate change.” 

Vice President for Mission and Identity, Edward Peck, notes that “President Miciak signed the pledge on behalf of the University last October. Since the Journey does not officially begin until May, and the theme of Mission Week 2022 is Caring for our Common Home, we wanted to announce our joining the Journey this week, at the beginning of the year.” For the past year, Peck has been a member of an international working group under the auspices of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development that developed the Laudato Si’ Action Platform and a process whereby participating institutions can show measurable increases on their sustainability efforts and the reduction of their carbon footprint.   

President Miciak reminded the students that “this is not only a call from the Pope, but also a call from all of humanity.  The future needs you --as John Carroll graduates -- to be leaders who care not only for one another, but for the earth and all its peoples.” He also announced plans to establish a university-wide committee that will develop a John Carroll Laudato Si' Action Plan to advance each of the seven Laudato Si' goals, which are mapped to the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: 

  • To respond to the cry of the Earth, 
  • To respond to the cry of those who are poor and vulnerable, 
  • To foster ecological economics,
  • To adopt sustainable lifestyles, 
  • To develop and offer ecological education,
  • To promote an ecological spirituality; and
  • To Support local communities
  • To promote community resilience and empowerment.  

This spring, the University’s Sustainability Committee, led by Jeff Your, continues to lay the foundation for this Journey in the Ignatian Year through its various sustainability efforts and programs, such as establishing an arboretum on campus, coordinating recycling and composting efforts, and reducing the University’s carbon footprint. The student-run Environmental Interest Group is planning this year’s Earth Week and Arbor Day celebrations, and Dr. Richard Clark is leading campus efforts to hold a Climate Change Teach-in on March 30, 2022 in collaboration with schools across the country.