By Kelly Swan
September 23, 2016 — Coinciding with Pope Francis’ Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation and designed to bring Laudato Si’ to life within classrooms and institutions, the Ignatian Solidarity Network and Catholic high schools around the country kicked off the Ignatian Carbon Challenge. The program, which began on Sept. 1 and runs through the 2016-2017 academic year, provides tangible resources for action and reflection to support institutions’ and individuals’ work toward a more sustainable lifestyle and campus environment.
An individual challenge provides teaching resources to educators and club moderators to weave challenges into their classrooms, allowing for tangible incorporation of Laudato Si’ into the curriculum. An institutional challenge invites school administrators to commit to making strides toward more sustainable schools. A series of suggested challenges will be presented throughout each month, including simple items, such as preparing a sustainable meal, on the individual level, and large scale efforts, such as the installation of low-flow faucets or motion sensor lights on the institutional level.
Progress will be tracked by the Ignatian Solidarity Network staff and will be publicized through social media using #IggyCarbon. The Ignatian Solidarity Network is a national social justice networking, education and advocacy organization animated by the spirituality of St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuits.
As academic years begin, schools have plans in place to initiate the Ignatian Carbon Challenges on their campuses. St. Louis University High School incorporated program registration into the first day of classes and will be utilizing challenges as graded assignments. The school has also designated the science department offices and classrooms as “bottled water free zones.”
“We hope to make our campus and world more sustainable and make students more aware of their relationship to creation,” said Joe Cussen, assistant director of Christian service at Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose, California. Bellarmine Prep plans to integrate the individual challenge into their homeroom class program, designed as a competition with incentives and prizes for high-performing classes.
Some of the schools taking part in the Ignatian Carbon Challenge
To date, more than 3,000 individuals have registered, and 30 schools in the United States, Canada, Chile and Australia are participating, either through institutional or individual challenges.
Participating institutions include Bellarmine College Preparatory; Canadian Jesuits International, Cheverus High School in Portland, Maine; Creighton Preparatory School in Omaha, Nebraska; Cristo Rey Jesuit College Preparatory of Houston; Fairfield College Preparatory School in Connecticut; Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C.; Jesuit High School in Portland, Oregon; Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Illinois; McQuaid Jesuit High School in Rochester, New York; St. Bonaventure’s College in Canada; St. Louis University High School; and Verbum Dei High School in Los Angeles.
Registration is open until Dec. 1, 2016, and more information can found at http://igsol.net/iggycarbon.
[Source: USA Northeast Province]