As an institution of higher education, Loyola University Chicago takes seriously its obligation to society that our students graduate with a deep understanding of environmental issues, and their responsibilities to respond.
We see environmental issues as part of our Foundational Science Core Curriculum requirement, and reinforce the major principles across the curriculum. The Office of Sustainability is a resource at the University to help define projects, course modules and lecture topics that are aligned with the University mission and goals of environmental sustainability. We maintain a list of ongoing projects that are well suited to course integration and student fellowship endeavors.
Academic Programs & Curricula
The University is scheduled to launch an exciting new Institute of Environmental Sustainability in 2013. The Institute is a combination of the Department of Environmental Science and campus sustainability initiatives. The blending of these two areas of environmental research and education will enable the Institute to develop new academic programs in sustainability.
The Institute will include the Center for Sustainable Urban Living (CSUL), a new LEED-certified facility combining a green residence hall, greenhouse, aquaponics, an alternative energy lab, classrooms, offices, several laboratories, and a cafe with an emphasis on sustainability. Incorporating these various programs under one roof ensures students achieve a transformative learning experience. Students will benefit from extensive real-time energy and water usage monitoring for occupant education and learn to recognize conservation behaviors among students.
Future expansion of the Center will allow faculty and students to collaborate outside the classroom in faculty research projects that will enhance the educational experience.
Social Justice & Ecology
Loyola is a home for all faiths and this is reflected in the University's commitment to sustainability. Students, faculty and staff contribute and do so from a diversity of religious backgrounds and experiences. These contributions can be found in the curriculum, through on-going faculty/student research, coursework and degree programs.
Students may choose a Social Justice concentration for an Environmental Studies degree, with coursework that explores humanity's relationship to the natural world.
Future plans are to develop Bachelor's and Master's degree programs in Social Justice and Community Development.
Integrating Sustainability Principles & Practices
For sustainability to truly become part of our students' thinking and behaviors, we must infuse the courses with environmental and social sustainability principles. This can be as overt as assigning students to attend and report on an event run by the Office of Sustainability, or as indirect as reading the works of an influential naturalist in a literature course.
The Office of Sustainability houses a list of projects that are appropriate in scope for a course or course module, while also enabling students to contribute meaningfully to the overall sustainability efforts at the University through their coursework. We are available to work with faculty and students to integrate these important projects with existing or new courses.
Other Universities have provided some exceptional models of integrating sustainability in university curriculum.
Chesapeake Project: Integrating Sustainability Across the Curriculum: "This two-day workshop is based on a model developed at colleges and universities across the United States and Canada. Hundreds of faculty members have participated in their institutions' respective workshops and have revised hundreds of course syllabi to include sustainability."
Piedmont Project: "The Piedmont Project emerged as a grassroots effort on the part of a group of faculty to strengthen Emory's engagement with environmental issues and sustainability. At the heart of the project is a curriculum development effort that seeks to foster an invigorated intellectual community to address global issues and local sustainability challenges."
Curriculum for the Bioregion: "Curriculum for the Bioregion is an initiative of the Washington Center that aims to prepare undergraduates to live in a world where the complex issues of environmental quality, community health and well-being, environmental justice, and sustainability are paramount."
Sustainability and Catholic Higher Education: A Toolkit for Mission Integration: "All across the country, Catholic colleges and universities are actively working to reduce their carbon emissions and energy consumption, integrate sustainability into their curricula, and foster ecological awareness across their campus communities. Yet while many Catholic schools have successfully taken steps to integrate sustainability into their institutions, we believe more can to be done to ensure that these efforts are thoroughly grounded in Catholic mission and identity."
Throughout Loyola University Chicago, faculty are engaged in research projects to address problems that exist at the interface between humans and the natural world. Collaborative faculty research is encouraged and supported by the University, bringing together various perspectives to each project. One common thread is that our research strives to address social and environmental inequality and imbalance and to understand and alleviate the resulting negative consequences.
Loyola has particular strengths in aquatic ecology and the Great Lakes ecology, with expertise in nutrient cycling, carbon cycling, soil microbiology, community dynamics and invasive species. Other strengths lie in various approaches to analyzing our broken food systems and the effects on disadvantaged populations.
Film Series, Workshops, Fieldtrips, and Peer-to-Peer Education
Across the departments and student life, co-curricular activities are plenty at Loyola for staff, students and faculty.
- Monthly film showings in collaboration with the Office of Sustainability, University Libraries and others engage the campus community with thoughtful, relevant environmental topics and post-film discussions
- The Green Learning Community, first-year students explore their potential beyond the classroom on what it means to live sustainably and demonstrate leadership to other students
- Fieldtrips to local and regional open spaces to support ecological restoration and the Midwest's natural heritage
- Workshops to gain knowledge and skills in topics related to food preservation, bicycling, composting and more for professional and personal development
- Educational outreach to student peers to promote behavioral changes that conserve natural resources
- Ecospirituality retreats at the Loyola University Retreat & Ecology Campus