Saint Joseph's College has become a Catholic Climate Covenant partner by signing the St. Francis Pledge to Care for Creation and the Poor. The Catholic Climate Covenant seeks to show respect for God's creation by focusing on the link between creation and poverty embodied in the life and ministry of St. Francis. The St. Francis pledge can be signed at
By supporting the pledge, Catholic Climate Covenant partners agree to pray, to learn about and educate others on climate change, to assess their own environmental impact, to act to reduce the ways they contribute to climate change, and to advocate for Catholic principles and priorities in climate change discussions and decisions, especially as they impact those who are poor and vulnerable.
The Catholic Climate Covenant has been embraced by the Catholic community. Twenty-seven national Catholic organizations support the Catholic Climate Covenant, including the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the National Federation of Priests' Councils.
SJC has undertaken several initiatives to move toward a more sustainable culture. In the summer and fall of 2011, Saint Joseph's College freshmen prepared a weekly meal with fresh produce grown in the Learning Garden, a small plot of land just west of Sparling Ave., next to Joseph L. Minielli Memorial Soccer Field.
Students continue to help tend the garden and use it as a sustainability tool. The garden was planted and tended to through the summer by Associate Professor of Education Dr. Lana Zimmer with the help of two interns, junior Biology majors Sarah Todd and Amanda Rousseau.
On Sunday, April 22, SJC hosted a number of events to celebrate Earth Day and the College's partnership with the Catholic Climate Covenant. Beginning with a nature walk through the Lourdes Grotto, students, faculty and staff also picked up litter on campus and attended the blessing of the newly planted orchard in the field south of Schwietermann Hall. Dr. Sarah Taylor McFarland from Northwestern University gave a lecture on green burial practices to end the day.
"Earth Day serves as a symbolic and visible reminder of our responsibility to be stewards of God's creation," said Dr. Zimmer. "It also provides us an opportunity to share that commitment with others in celebration. This was an especially important Earth Day for SJC after signing the St. Francis pledge. We have committed to reduce our carbon footprint on campus and pledge to move the College forward in becoming more sustainable."
Saint Joseph's College, named a "character-building college" by the Templeton Foundation and a "best Midwestern college" by the Princeton Review, is a four-year, Catholic college offering 27 majors, 4 group majors, 34 minors, and 9 pre-professional programs, complemented by the nationally acclaimed Core Program. Founded and sponsored by the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, SJC is located in Rensselaer, Indiana, approximately 90 minutes from both Chicago and Indianapolis, on a park-like campus of 180 acres and has an enrollment of 1,100 students.
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