What We Do and Why
The Office of Sustainability Programs guides the implementation of sustainable practices and programs on campus and serves as a hub for collaboration among students, faculty, staff, administrators, alumni, our local neighbors, and global partners so we can work together toward a more sustainable present and future in Omaha and afar.
Our guiding principles were established during Phase 1 of the Sustainable Creighton initiative. The Guiding Principles informed the sustainability planning process, serve as Creighton University’s unique definition of sustainability, and guide institutional action. The Guiding Principles describe a desired future for Creighton University; therefore, they are written in the present tense to make the future easier to imagine.
As a Catholic university, Creighton is informed by the Catholic intellectual tradition and Catholic Social Teaching. As Jesuit, Creighton is animated by the spiritual and intellectual resources of the Ignatian charism and by the Ignatian commitment to magis or the service of God and the universal good. This magis is expressed in part through the pursuit of science-based actions in the protection and renewal of God’s Creation. Caring for our common home is essential Creighton’s Catholic, Jesuit mission.
“We resolve, considering who we are and the means that we have, to collaborate with others in the construction of alternative models of life that are based on respect for creation and on a sustainable development capable of producing goods that, when justly distributed, ensure a decent life for all human beings on our planet.”- Arturo Sosa, Superior General, Society of Jesus
The scientific and Catholic community agree that anthropogenic climate change is an existential crisis for creation. To care for our common home, Creighton draws on authentic encounter with human and non-human creation, the best available peer-reviewed science, Christian Scripture, and Catholic magisterial teaching. Creighton is particularly attentive to the truth that anthropogenic climate change is an existential and moral crisis for humanity. These truths are the foundation of Creighton's discernment process. Therefore, these truths, as they relate to sustainability, are shared on the SCI webpage as a reminder of procedural justice.
“Based on well-established evidence, about 97% of climate scientists have concluded that human-caused climate change is happening. This agreement is documented not just by a single study, but by a converging stream of evidence over the past two decades from surveys of scientists, content analyses of peer-reviewed studies, and public statements issued by virtually every membership organization of experts in this field” - American Association for the Advancement of Science
Justice requires reconciliation of injustices between persons, communities, and creation. Integral social justice equally considers ecological, spiritual, social, political, and economic factors in the discernment of institutional policies and institutional social projection of values into society. Creighton engages in deliberations and actions that emerge from socially just processes that are inclusive, prioritize expertise, and pursue reconciliation.
“Peace, justice and the preservation of creation are three absolutely interconnected themes, which cannot be separated and treated individually without once again falling into reductionism” - Episcopal Conference of Dominican Bishops
The Catholic tradition understands prudence as right reason applied to action. Intergenerational solidarity is best achieved through the application of the precautionary principle. This principle suggests that actions should be taken to avoid or diminish morally and unacceptable harm to human life and future generations. In solidarity with all current and future creation, Creighton prudently stewards human, physical, and financial resources informed by the truths available through faith and the best available peer-reviewed science.
“If enough evidence indicates that the present course of action could jeopardize humankind's well-being, prudence dictates taking mitigating or preventative action” - U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
The Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm holistically incorporates context, experience, reflection, action, and evaluation into the education process. Creighton promotes the ecological education of the Creighton, Omaha, Phoenix, state, national, and global communities through teaching, research, scholarship, ministry, and collaborative authentic encounter with human and non-human neighbors. Creighton is especially committed to academic service-learning and undergraduate research experiences.
“Our goal is not to amass information or to satisfy curiosity, but rather to become painfully aware, to dare to turn what is happening to the world into our own personal suffering and thus to discover what each of us can do about it” - Pope Francis
The Catholic tradition views human persons as sacred, social, spiritual, and creaturely beings whose authentic flourishing is bound up with morality that guides and transcends financial efficiency. Care for our common home requires systems-level thinking and integrated perspectives that consider the relationships between material, spiritual, emotional, moral, social, cultural, political, and economic realities. Creighton advances interdisciplinary learning, applied scholarship, and collaborative problem-solving that convene students, faculty, staff, administrators, community members, and elected officials to enact just practices and policies.
“It cannot be emphasized enough how everything is interconnected . . . We are part of nature, included in it and thus in constant interaction with it . . . It is essential to seek comprehensive solutions which consider the interactions within natural systems themselves and with social systems” - Pope Francis
Sustainability is the responsibility of the entire Creighton community - students, faculty and staff - all of whom are servant leaders. Effective and just-servant leaders authentically encounter others, listen to all points of view, prioritize truth and morality, and respond to feedback. Creighton diffuses the responsibility and accountability of care for our common home across campuses, colleges, divisions, departments, and offices. Creighton enacts transparent decision-making processes in which all involved personnel and decision justifications are made known.
“Truth never damages a cause that is just” - Mahatma Gandhi