BRIEF: Gonzaga aims for climate neutrality

Gonzaga Admin Building
Gonzaga Admin Building

Gonzaga University President Thayne McCulloh has approved Gonzaga’s first comprehensive Climate Action Plan, which aims for Gonzaga to achieve climate neutrality — zero emissions — by 2050, said Brian G. Henning, associate professor of philosophy and co-chair of Gonzaga’s Advisory Council on Stewardship and Sustainability in a press release.

Gonzaga will work to achieve this goal by reducing emissions, from 2009 baseline levels, 20 percent by 2020 and 50 percent by 2035, according to the plan.

“Care for the planet is an important emphasis for the Church and the Jesuits; thus, Gonzaga’s mission calls us individually and collectively to be good stewards of the Earth’s resources,” McCulloh said. “This Climate Action Plan provides a road map for carrying out our commitment to sustainability. While it is ambitious, I have every confidence that the Gonzaga community will respond to the challenges it presents, given the importance of what is at stake. I am grateful to all those involved in developing this plan.”

The plan also aims to broaden sustainability education across the curriculum and in co-curricular programs. For example, Gonzaga is actively seeking to create a Sustainable Business Concentration within the School of Business Administration. In co-curricular activities, the Climate Action Plan envisions a “Green Fund” to support student-generated sustainability initiatives.

“Sustainability and care for the environment are vital questions for our time and so appropriately addressed through curricular and co-curricular avenues. It is particularly fitting for Gonzaga as a Jesuit university to take up these issues,” said Gonzaga Academic Vice President Patricia O’Connell Killen. “The sustainability across the curriculum faculty learning community and initiatives like the envisioned ‘Green Fund’ are two steps through which the faculty, staff and students take up these questions not as ‘add-ons’ but as an integral part of whatever they study and however they envision their lives for today and into the future.”

The full “Gonzaga University Climate Action Plan: 2013-2035 Roadmap” can be found online at Gonzaga’s sustainability website.

About Tracy Simmons

Tracy Simmons is an award winning journalist specializing in religion reporting, digital entrepreneurship and social journalism. In her 15 years on the religion beat, Simmons has tucked a notepad in her pocket and found some of her favorite stories aboard cargo ships in New Jersey, on a police chase in Albuquerque, in dusty Texas church bell towers, on the streets of New York and in tent cities in Haiti.
Simmons has worked as a multimedia journalist for newspapers across New Mexico, Texas and Connecticut. Currently she serves as the executive director of SpokaneFAVS.com, a digital journalism start-up covering religion news and commentary in Spokane, Wash. She is also a Scholarly Assistant Professor at Washington State University.

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