One Earth Initiative

Through the One Earth Initiative, USF seeks to realize its strategic goals and fulfill its commitment to create a 7-year action plan consistent with Pope Francis's 2015 encyclical  Laudato Si’: On Care for our Common Home. The encyclical recognizes the interconnectedness of our environmental, social, economic, spiritual, and psychological dimensions, calling for an “integral ecology” across multiple domains, including universities. USF’s 2027 Strategic Plan calls on us to “reimagine Jesuit education to accelerate the achievement of a more just and sustainable world,” and a key goal discerned during our Mission Priority Examen process was “living and learning environmental sustainability in the spirit of Laudato Si'.

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One Earth Initiative Working Group

In 2021, Father Paul was one of the first Jesuit university presidents to commit to developing an action plan to realize Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ encyclical.  Under the leadership of the Provost’s Office and the Joan and Ralph Center for Catholic Social Thought and the Ignatian Tradition, USF convened a working group that began meeting in Spring 2022.  The One Earth Initiative Working Group members will work together to foster a community conversation and co-design a university-wide action plan. The working group will: 

  1. Ensure diverse working group membership, including faculty, librarian, staff, student and external community members and convene regular meetings.
  2. Survey and report on current USF initiatives in the areas of environmental justice and sustainability.
  3. Convene town halls and meetings to gather input from students, faculty, librarians and staff as well as external stakeholders. 
  4. Provide consultation and draft a 3-year action plan that outlines USF participation in the 7-year goals of the international Laudato Si Action Platform, and that addresses and aligns with USF’s context, mission, and strategic plan.  
  5. Compile an annual report on the Laudato Si project, and host a community forum to ensure transparency regarding progress.

The Lane Center is providing administrative support and serving as a liaison to the global Laudato Si Action Platform’s university working group as well as regional, national, and international Jesuit networks.

The Context: The Laudato Si’ Action Platform

The Laudato Si Action Platform is a 7-year initiative launched by the Vatican in 2021. Coordinated by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, the platform identifies seven broad goals related to Laudato Si and invites all Catholic sectors (universities, churches, NGOs, etc) to develop concrete plans to advance the goals within a 7-year timeframe.  The goals include: 

  • Response to the cry of the earth and the poor
  • Ecological economics, education and spirituality
  • Adoption of sustainable lifestyles
  • Community engagement and participatory action 

The global Laudato Si Action Platform’s university working group, is outlining a university pathway that will make the goals of the larger initiative relevant to a university context.  Chaired by Michael Schuck (Loyola University, Chicago), the working group is integrated into the justice and ecology efforts of the International Association of Jesuit Universities (IAJU).

  • Alice Kaswan, Professor and Associate Dean for Faculty Scholarship, School of Law (Tri-Chair)
  • Allison Luengen, Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Science, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Anastasia Vrachnos, Associate Vice Provost for International Initiatives
  • Calla Schmidt, Assoc. Professor and Dept. Chair, Department of Environmental Science
  • Debbie Benrubi, Head of Metadata and Collection Management, Gleeson Library (Tri-Chair)
  • Elisa Rivas, Graduate Student, School of Law
  • Erin Brigham, Executive Director of the Joan and Ralph Lane Center for Catholic Social Thought and the Ignatian Tradition and Chief Mission Officer
  • Fred Wellington, Program Director, Energy Systems Management, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Jeffrey Paris, Associate Dean for Arts & Humanities, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Joshua McDermott, Director, USF STAGES productions
  • Gerard Kuperus, Professor, Philosophy Department and Environmental Studies Program, College of Arts & Sciences (Tri-Chair)
  • Heather Hickman, Director of Operations, Facilities Management
  • Hubert Liu, Graduate Student, School of Law
  • Ivory Loeng-Lot, Student
  • Jacqueline Ramos, Community Engaged Learning Program Manager, The McCarthy Center
  • Jewel Erugo, Student
  • John Bansavich, Director of Learning Technologies in the Center of Instruction and Technology (CIT)
  • Luis E Bazan, Adjunct Professor and Associate Director for Immersions and Arrupe Programs, University Ministry
  • Marcianna Nosek, Professor, School of Nursing & Health Professions
  • Melissa Duphily, Program Coordinator, Teacher Education, School of Education
  • Niki Bakshi, Student
  • Novella Carpenter, Adjunct Professor and Program Director of Urban Agriculture, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Richard Hsu, Sustainability Coordinator
  • Sam Robert Mickey, Adjunct Professor, Theology and Religious Studies, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Sarah Gao, Graduate Student, Soil Ecology, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Tracy Benning, Associate Professor, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Valere Ossie, Graduate Student, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Valery Ngong Ekem Fala, SJ, Graduate Student in Masters of Science of Environmental Management, Graduate Fellow for the Joan and Ralph Lane Center for Catholic Social Thought
  • William Riggs, Associate Professor, Public Administration, School of Management