USF Signs Regional Sustainability Compact on Jan. 23

Jan. 31, 2018 | Joliet, Ill.

USF President Arvid C. Johnson, Ph.D. (far right) joins (L to R) City of Joliet Mayor, Bob O’Dekirk; Joliet Junior College President, Dr. Judy Mitchell; and Lewis University President, Dr. David Livingston in signing the Will County Regional Sustainability Alliance Agreement.

The University of St. Francis (USF) was one of three higher education institutions to sign the Will County Regional Sustainability Alliance Agreement on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018 at the first GreenTown Advisory Council Meeting, held at Joliet Junior College (JJC). Signing the compact is another example of USF’s dedication to sustainability both on campus and within the community which it resides.

USF President Arvid C. Johnson, Ph.D. joined Joliet Junior College President Dr. Judy Mitchell and Lewis University President Dr. David Livingston at Joliet Junior College to sign the compact; which outlines the history of the initiative and the intention of each organization to champion the Will County Regional Sustainability Network.

Janine Hicks, the campus sustainability coordinator and director of compliance and accreditation, was especially proud to see USF formalize their commitment to advancing a holistic sustainability effort along with Lewis and JJC.

“USF has a long history of working to build a sustainable community,” says Hicks. “Our dedication began with the adoption of our sponsoring congregation’s corporate stances and were continued with the university’s mission which calls us to be ‘ever mindful of a tradition that emphasizes reverence for creation, compassion and peacemaking.’”

Hicks has worked for three years with the university and its sponsoring congregation to grow the impact of holistic sustainability from a few student projects to a campus wide initiative and now to a regional and community promise.

“When the South Metropolitan Higher Education Consortium Sustainability Task Force began working more closely with local communities to become more resilient through sustainable practices, asking the area colleges or universities to help support the initiative are a natural and smart choice,” says Hicks.

“Not only are they places of learning but places of ingenuity and creativity. Our students have truly adopted the hallmarks of sustainability and worked to engrain its practice into daily life across the campus.”

USF has created a sustainability statement and promise that all employees, faculty and students of the university are encouraged to review, sign and incorporate. The university has also incorporated native landscaping, green building features, increased the number of recycle bins and welcomed a bee hive to campus. This spring will also mark the fifth consecutive year the BlueStem Earth Festival will be hosted by the university. This event was created by the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate as a day of learning and conservation.

“Several student-run organizations and projects exist as well,” Hicks points out. “The Council of Environmental Awareness hosts an annual Green Week for the entire campus, camping trips, waste assessments and preserve clean-up days throughout the year.”

After the compact was signed, the meeting continued and guests discussed some of the most pressing environmental issues challenging the community in the areas of water, local food, transportation, energy and health.

The topics discussed will also be brought up at the upcoming GreenTown conference, held on October 26, 2018 in downtown Joliet. More information can be found at: greentownconference.com.

Founded in 1920, the University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., is a Catholic, Franciscan university that serves 4,100 students nationwide; offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are more than 48,000 USF alumni across the globe.

University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.