Loyola University Chicago

School of Environmental Sustainability

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. Current courses that live at the nexus of religion and ecology include:

THEO 184:  Moral Problems: Ecology Crisis

THEO 344: Theology and Ecology

An exploration of ecological, ethical and theological analyses of humanity's relationship to the natural world by examining issues of air and water pollution, endangered species, nuclear warfare, and the moral claims animals and future human generations have upon us.

PHIL 187: Environmental Ethics

The course will look at various philosophical and ethical views on the relationship between humans and the natural world. Topics may include: pollution, animal rights, and natural resources.

PAX/ENG 288: Nature in Literature

Future plans are to develop a Bachelors and Masters degree program in Social Justice and Community Development.

Faith-driven Activism on Campus

Loyola’s 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.