Sustainability is at the core of our values at Loyola University Chicago. The Reverend Gregory F. Lucey, S.J., and President of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities has noted that
"Ignatian spirituality seeks to find God in all things, including the natural world. The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities [LUC is a member institution] recognizes that environmental stewardship is an integral part of both [the] Catholic mission and Jesuit spirituality."
From this foundation of values and beliefs, we strive to set an example for our students, our employees, and our community. Below are some of the many ways in which our actions and behaviours follow our principles and goals.
Faith-driven Activism on Campus
Loyola’s Shareholder Advocacy Committee worked in collaboration with the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, the National Jesuit Committee on Investment Responsibility, the Jesuit Conference and others to successfully encourage JPMorgan Chase to no longer finance the leading mountaintop coal removal company in the U.S.
Bottled Water Ban
After a two year-long educational campaign, Loyola students voted to end the sale of bottled water on campus in March 2012. The Student Environmental Alliance (SEA) in partnership with Loyola's Unified Student Government Association (USGA) focused on the growing concern on campus about local water privatization and fair access to water on a global level.
The students consider the sale of bottled water on campus in conflict with the Jesuit tradition and Loyola's mission 'to be in service of humanity through learning, justice and faith'. The students feel that safe and accessible water is a fundamental human right and must not be handled in ways that put profits over people.
Food Access and Donations
Urban Agriculture on Campus: The many examples of gardening and urban agriculture at Loyola have begun a reawakening of the importance of understanding and protecting our local and global food systems. As a result of a student project in the STEP Food Systems course, the Urban Agriculture Demonstration Gardens grow more than 15 varieties of vegetables and herbs which are donated to a local charity, A Just Harvest, a soup kitchen in Rogers Park.
Increasing Food Access and Supporting a Local Food Economy: As the Farmers Market becomes an established place to shop for locally grown and produced foods in the community, increased access to healthy foods is now made possible at the market for recipients of the Supplemental Food Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Think Green and Give
Every year during spring move-out, students living on campus participate in the charitable collection event, Think Green and Give. Items students no longer want or need, are donated to charity such as gently used, clean clothing, household items, toiletries and unopened, nonperishable foods. Instead of placing the items in a landfill, students engage in the "reuse and recycle" behavior. Student volunteers also contribute to the success of Think Green and Give with their time to help record and sort donated items. Tracking what is diverted from landfill and donated to those in need gives the students the time to reflect upon on societal consumption behaviors.
It began as a set of undergraduate class projects in 2008 to address wasteful energy practices. The creation of biodiesel fuel from cafeteria fryer waste vegetable oil has become a fully operational business. The Bioidiesel Program reduces the amount of waste that leaves campus by recycling something we used to dispose of into a useful product. This fuel, in turn, reduces the toxic emissions from our inter-campus shuttle busses. Less waste, less pollution, more hands-on experiences for the students who run the operation.
The Bike Club at Loyola is very active in promoting cycling and alternative transportation. By collaborating with the new Loyola Limited, LLC, a bike rental and repair shop was conceived. Students now operate all aspects of this exciting new business. They also contribute to the reduction of automobile traffic and parking needs by putting people back onto bicycles at a reasonable cost.
Many students, faculty and staff have joined the Office of Sustainability Strategic Planning Process. Planning committees focus on areas of the university such as energy, transportation, or faith. They ask for input from the entire University community to find out what direction you want your University to take.
University Libraries have formed a highly successful sustainability committee.
Loyola continues to advance sustainability across infrastructure, curriculum and community. By including sustainability into our practices AND or policies we institutionalize our commitment to reducing our negative impacts through our, and our contractors', actions. Sustainable policies include:
Loyola is making our facilities better for all occupants by committing to green cleaning supplies which improve indoor air quality by reducing hazardous chemicals. Energy Star and WaterSmart equipment is specified in contracts.
In an effort to reduce the impact of our technological needs, Loyola has pursued the following practices: Virtual data centers, Energy star equipment, Power saving defaults, Encouraged telecommuting by providing Virtual Private Networks, Online meetings with teleconference equipment, Paper reduction through duplex default and the paperless department initiative (ECM docfinity)
Loyola has committed to construct all buildings to the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design’s Silver Certification.
Loyola has a number of policies related to operations of our facilities. These include a temperature set policy, lighting reduction policy, a parking reduction policy and an energy retrofit plan for all campuses. Under development is identifying an energy use standard and an appropriate timeline to meet these goals.
Loyola respects its place on the lakefront by proper stormwater management. On the Lake Shore Campus rain water is captured by green roofs, cisterns and the landscape, filtered and released to Lake Michigan saving over 10 Million Gallons from entering the sewer system and impacting the Chicago River. This is a part of our Stormwater Management Plan for the campus.
Waste and Recycling
Loyola recycles at least 75% of all construction and demolition debris. Recycling is enforced at all campuses and composting is being implemented into all dining facilities.
Loyola uses WaterSense fixtures in all new construction to save water and energy. A student-led effort to ban bottled water addresses water privatization concerns and saves energy and unnecessary packaging.
Sustainable Endowment Policy
Loyola recognizes that it has a responsibility as its assets are invested. The Shareholder Advocacy Committee, advisory in nature, pursues the University's commitment to socially responsible investing and endeavors to effect change in unjust corporate behaviors through an approach centered on shareholder advocacy.