Catholic universities to gather at Notre Dame to address sustainability

Author: Rachel Novick

Renewing the Campus

The University of Notre Dame this fall will host “Renewing the Campus: Sustainability and the Catholic University,” the first national conference dedicated to advancing the engagement of Catholic universities with the most pressing environmental challenges of our time.

The conference, which will be held Oct. 9 to 11 (Friday to Sunday) on the Notre Dame campus, will bring together faculty, students, administrators and clergy from Catholic universities across the country to explore the connections between Catholic theology and social thought and the science and practice of environmental sustainability.

“Coming just after the Feast of St. Francis, this conference can go a long way to demonstrate not only practical ways in which Catholic colleges and universities can become more sustainable, but how these activities are an integral and powerful witness to God’s call for us to be stewards of the finite gifts of an amazing planet,” said Daniel Misleh, executive director of the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change, whose keynote address will open the conference.

“In addition, this gathering also can highlight how our collective actions can help ease the burden of climate change impacts on those who have contributed the least to the problem: the poor and vulnerable at home and around the world,” Misleh said.

Other prominent speakers include Kristie Ebi, a leading expert on human health impacts for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and Jim Ennis, executive director of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference.

The conference encompasses the multiplicity of approaches to environmental issues at Catholic institutions of higher learning, including those of theologians, scientists, sustainability practitioners, student activists and clergy. Participants in panel discussions and workshops throughout the weekend will include members of Catholic universities large and small from every region of the country.

The conference will take place in Geddes Hall, the first Notre Dame building expected to receive LEED certification. The event is sponsored by Notre Dame’s Office of Sustainability and co-sponsored by the Center for Social Concerns, College of Science, Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism, Department of Theology, Energy Center, Ford Family Program in Human Development Studies and Solidarity, Graduate School, Institute for Church Life, Mendoza College of Business, Office of the President, and Program in Catholic Social Tradition.

The deadline for registration is Sept. 10. More information is available online at

Contact: Rachel Novick, Office of Sustainability,