A new fund named after Pope Francis’ groundbreaking encyclical on the environment will support Georgetown faculty, students and staff in pursuing projects designed to strengthen the university community’s response to global and local sustainability challenges.
Each project proposal must advance positive outcomes through activities in research, education, institutional action or engagement.
The $300,000 Georgetown University 2019 Laudato Si’ Fund, supported by philanthropy, is expected to provide grants for approximately six to 10 proposals in the $10,000 to $50,000 range.
“As a global research university guided by our Catholic and Jesuit heritage, Georgetown University is committed to addressing the complex issues of sustainability to advance the common good for current and future generations,” says Provost Robert M. Groves. “We encourage your engagement in this opportunity to pursue initiatives that promote a more sustainable society.”
The pope’s 2015 encyclical calls for environmental justice and sustainable development practices, and Pope Francis has asked Jesuit universities in particular to embody its teachings.
Sustainability efforts have been defined as practices that advance positive outcomes for people, the planet and general prosperity, and are aligned with Georgetown’s mission of advancing the common good.
The new Laudato Si’ Fund grants will be awarded in spring 2019 with project completion expected before the end of the 2020 academic year (or within approximately 12 months).
The new fund seeks to support initiatives which help fulfill the university’s vision, principles, practices and goals for sustainability work being developed as part of an ongoing strategic sustainability planning effort.
“We are excited about this opportunity to activate ideas and innovations led by our diverse and talented Georgetown community members as we strive toward a common goal of advancing sustainable outcomes,” says Audrey Stewart, director of Georgetown’s Office of Sustainability.
Georgetown has been working on its sustainability planning efforts, funded entirely by philanthropy, with William McDonough, a circular economy and sustainable development expert and principal of William McDonough + Partners.
Examples of recent student-led projects include a campus beehive project in which students learn apiary techniques and honey generation from faculty members and community experts.
Other projects include a new student-led community garden behind Leo’s dining hall and a post-consumer compost pilot in collaboration with dining and sustainability staff.
With the help of faculty and staff advisors, the projects build upon student ideas presented at an April sustainability solutions workshop with McDonough.
“These hands-on projects provide experiential learning and foster sustainable practices on campus,” Stewart explains.