Buffalo, NY - Canisius University’s seven-year journey toward sustainability entered its second full year at the start of 2023. Laudato Si’ is a Vatican-led initiative that guides Catholic institutions on ways to achieve an eco-sustainable
environment within seven years.
Canisius was one of the first universities in the United States to commit to the Laudato Si’ platform upon its launch in 2021. During its inaugural year, the college conducted a self-assessment to ascertain initiatives already underway that advance the Laudato Si’ goals, which are to: respond to the cry of the Earth, respond to the cry of the poor, foster ecological economics, adopt a sustainable lifestyle, offer ecological education, develop ecological spirituality
and support local communities.
The many initiatives already implemented based on earlier efforts, beginning in 2017, to develop a formalized vision and action plan to impact environmental sustainability on campus include the use of greenware products and utensils in dining venues, the installation of LED lighting and the installation of low-flow faucets, toilets and
showers as older fixtures are retired. Canisius currently partners with a solar farm just south of Buffalo to invest in the production of natural energy and reduce electricity costs. Additionally, Canisius donated land for two community gardens to grow produce for neighbors who live in food deserts. The college also supports academic minors in conservation and environmental sustainability.
Canisius will use the upcoming year to identify new opportunities to improve sustainability and implement plans to advance the Laudato Si’ goals.
“The healing and stewardship of our planet is fundamental to the college’s Jesuit Catholic mission of building a more just and humane world, and Canisius is proud to play a role in advancing this timely and significant Vatican initiative,” says Jennifer Lodi-Smith, PhD, assistant vice president for academic affairs. “It is particularly rewarding to see our students’ commitment, including our Undergraduate Student Association members, who passed a
formal resolution to have the college engage in this process.”
Laudato Si’ was inspired by Pope Francis’ 2015 ecological encyclical, which focused on care for our common home. In it, the Holy See addresses climate change as a moral imperative, and challenges humankind to take responsibility for the planet and to be particularly mindful of those who suffer most from ecological crises.