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Rachel Elfant, MS

Title/s:  International Jesuit Ecology Project (IJEP) Program Manager

Office #:  Remote



Rachel has experience as an organizer, presenter, facilitator, and researcher for climate, degrowth and integral ecology in both academic and non-academic environments. She has worked in Peru, Argentina, Spain, Sweden, and the United States in inter-generational and inter-cultural contexts all of which challenged the hegemony and promoted alternative methods of sustainability towards socio-ecological transformation. In 2019, as the organizer for Chicago Area Peace Action, she guided college and high school student activists to create a coalition of organizations, companies, and religious groups in support of the Green New Deal in Illinois and presented it to various representatives in the US Congress. She is a yoga teacher and formerly taught at the Cook County Jail utilizing meditation, breathwork, and the philosophy of yoga as a form of social activism within the American legal system.

She enjoys caring for the environment while considering the perspectives of cultures and countries. She thinks it’s important to respect and learn about various ways of being and living, and to be cognizant of the influence dominant cultures have over traditions and lifestyles in cultural contexts that differ. Rachel enjoys working at the nexus of society, spirituality, and environment to seek justice in both the collective and individual spheres. Rachel has recently began experimenting composting in a small 4 by 8-foot balcony, she loves to move the body whether it is through yoga or West African dance and using her bicycle as a primary mode of transportation. Rachel is a member of Fundación Ecoceno, a center for advanced studies and a platform for action towards the conception and implementation of systemic societal change and socio-ecological transformation.


  • MS Human Ecology – Culture, Power, Sustainability, Lund University (2018)
  • BS Biology and Spanish and Certificate Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin – Madison (2014)

Program Areas

Rachel works on the Healing Earth team at LUC as a Spanish/English interpreter and content collaborator and editor. She helps ensure that well-rounded perspectives are included in Healing Earth as it pertains to specific regions, communities, and spiritual paths around the world. She also is the Theology of Healing Earth in Action (THEA) project manager and action presenter, a retreat for high schoolers looking to deepen their ecological spirituality and reflect on their vocational discernment. During the pandemic the THEA Fellowship, a year-long program for high schoolers, took the place of the THEA Institute to engage with social and environmental issues in the Chicago area.

Loyola University Chicago is leading University Pathways, the University sector of the Laudato Si’ 7-year Journey, an action platform conceived by the Dicastery and inspired by Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato Si’. With over 100 Universities involved, University Pathways helps foster fostering partnerships between universities to promote sustainability within a university context that align with the 7-year journey.

The Magis Exchange Program is a study abroad program through the International Association of Jesuit Universities that connects students from Jesuit Universities all over the globe to promote Ignatian “men and women for others” and to educate students to be global citizens. As part of this program, students participate in service learning, a global environmental citizenship course, and study abroad. Along with Dr. Michael Schuck, we lead the Global Environmental Citizenship Course that primarily uses Healing Earth as the education resource.