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Creighton announces renewed campus strategy to reduce carbon footprint

Apr 27, 2022
3 min Read
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Sustainable Creighton

Creighton University announced on April 26 the Sustainable Creighton Initiative, a comprehensive strategy to care for our planet by reducing the University’s carbon footprint.

The action plan is the result of an accelerated effort from the University’s Climate Change Task Force and Sustainable Governance Committee, responding to a November 2019 urgent request from Creighton President the Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ, PhD, for a renewed campus strategy that approaches sustainability comprehensively, holistically and pragmatically.

The Sustainable Creighton Initiative, announced at an Earth Day event on April 26, calls for Creighton to:

  • Achieve carbon neutrality well before 2050
  • Reduce scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2028 (compared to 2010 data)
  • Increase the University-wide waste diversion rate to 35% by 2028 (compared to 2019 data)
  • Reduce total waste production by 25% by 2028 (compared to 2019 data)
  • Ensure 20% of academic courses include sustainability-related content by 2028
  • Offer one sustainability-related course in 90% of academic departments by 2028
  • Launch an eco-fellows program in 2023 to initiate peer-to-peer education among first-year students

“I am grateful for the wide University support in putting together this thoughtful, ambitious and comprehensive action plan,” Fr. Hendrickson said. “This plan truly speaks to our commitment of fostering and furthering a culture of sustainability here at Creighton and being active and engaged participants in caring for our common home.”

Creighton faculty, staff and students have for years demonstrated success in pursuing sustainability – and this initiative outlines a holistic, on-campus approach through 2028. It also emphasizes Creighton’s leading efforts within the Omaha community to prioritize care for our common home.

This plan truly speaks to our commitment of fostering and furthering a culture of sustainability here at Creighton and being active and engaged participants in caring for our common home.
— The Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ, PhD

Students can currently major or minor in Environmental Science and/or Sustainability. Sustainability-related courses are offered throughout the University in various departments like Philosophy, History, Economics and Theology. Researchers at Creighton investigate wide-ranging sustainability topics, including social and ecological problems associated with coal extraction, Catholic social teaching and climate change.

The Sustainable Creighton Initiative aims to further integrate sustainability across the curriculum while providing all students the opportunity to understand how sustainability fits into their future endeavors. Outside the classroom, the potential for learning is unlimited. For years, the Schlegel Center for Service and Justice has offered environmental justice-themed community orientations and service trips. The Office of Sustainability Programs provides sustainability-focused internships, and sustainability is infused into campus orientation.

“In this space, Jesuit universities, with our rich tradition of reflection and discernment, have an opportunity to not only serve as ethical and moral guideposts and compasses, but to be beacons of hope and inspiration,” Fr. Hendrickson said in a message to Earth Day event attendees Tuesday. “In our classrooms, labs, service outreach and more, I urge and encourage you to continue to use your critical-thinking skills, passion and creativity to ask the big questions and seek innovative solutions. Be the difference you are called to be.”