Gonzaga President Thayne McCulloh signs the St. Francis Pledge to Care.

GU, Gonzaga Prep sign environmental stewardship pledge, program continues tonight

A Gonzaga students sign the St. Francis Pledge
A Gonzaga students sign the St. Francis Pledge

On Monday Gonzaga University and Gonzaga Preparatory School came together to publicly sign the St. Francis Pledge to Care, which Brian G. Henning, co-chair of Gonzaga’s Advisory Council on Stewardship and Sustainability, said reflects the institutions Jesuit mission to care for the planet and those living in poverty.

The St. Francis Pledge asks Catholic individuals, parishes, and institutions to:

  • PRAY and reflect on the duty to care for God’s creation and protect the poor and vulnerable.
  • LEARN about and educate others on the causes and moral dimensions of climate change.
  • ASSESS how we-as individuals and in our families, parishes and other affiliations-contribute to climate change by our own energy use, consumption, waste, etc.
  • ACT to change our choices and behaviors to reduce the ways we contribute to climate change.
  • ADVOCATE for Catholic principles and priorities in climate change discussions and decisions, especially as they impact those who are poor and vulnerable.

Gonzaga President Thayne McCulloh said the pledge is reminder to students, faculty and the community to be mindful of the Catholic commitment to care for the planet and those living upon it.

He said GU has already been an environmental leader.

The Environmental Protection Agency named Gonzaga an “EPA Green Power Partner” in fall 2012, recognizing that 18 percent of the electricity Gonzaga purchased in 2011 was clean and renewable energy. Also, Gonzaga and campus partner Zag Dining by Sodexo earned the 2012 Recycler of the Year for Higher Education Award from the Washington State Recycling Association for reducing garbage by 25-30 percent through innovative practices.

Gonzaga Prep also has stepped up its efforts involving sustainability awareness with multiple initiatives, including the use of iPads in the classroom and solar power, said Gonzaga Prep President Al Faulkner.

The pledge, which both McCulloh and Faulkner signed, will remain on display and be available for students to sign all week in the university’s Marketplace.

“The world is rich with God’s creation,” said Gonzaga Student Body Association President Johnny Draxler.

He said it’s apparent each time students go on a ski trip, visit Mt. Spokane or walk in the Centennial Trail.

“It’s remarkable how delicate this ecosystem is,” he said, urging his peers to sign the pledge and take a step toward environmental stewardship.

The conversation will continue tonight with a special program, “Melting Ice, Mending Creation: a Catholic Approach to Climate Change” at 7 p.m. in the Jepson Center for the School of Business Administration, Room 108.


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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