The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities in Asia Pacific (AJCU-AP) approved a resolution “on growing green campuses” in each of our schools “as proposed by the JCAP-Reconciliation with Creation Group” on the understanding however that curricula must be revised to include complementary environmental instruction and formation. This is not just a challenge for green campuses; it is a challenge to form our students to live in environmental responsibility.
It may be recalled that General Congregation 35 of the Society of Jesus explicited the need for Reconciliation with God, Reconciliation with One Another, and Reconciliation with Creation. In the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific (JCAP), one of the working groups is the “Reconciliation with Creation” group. It is headed by environmentalist, Fr. Peter Walpole, S.J.,
The AJCU-AP approval was based on a letter dated August 15, 2011 from Fr. Walpole to myself as chair suggesting the project of “growing green campuses.” It was appreciated that neither instruction on environment nor environmental advocacy are credible without appropriate environmental-consciousness praxis in our schools. Based on Fr. Walpole’s letter, the “growing green campuses” approval includes the following:
“1. Training on the ‘Our Environmental Way of Proceeding’:
This refers to the document described above. This includes a basic reflection and attitudinal directive as to how we can better reconcile with creation on campus. It is intended that this booklet will be of use in developing staff/faculty handbooks. Orientations for institutional staff or board members will be offered.
“2. Establishing ‘Campus Baseline Environmental Measurements and Procedures’:
Management of each campus will be helped to make a baseline study on current
housekeeping or “ecology-keeping” factors on their campus, covering all areas of waste production and energy consumption. This enables management to measure what it plans to change and to share and report this with others involved in the campus management. This is most important in establishing institutional credibilityand buy-in from students. We recognize the present capacity level varies across the Conference.
“3. Development of ‘Criteria and Indicators for Green Campus Management’:
A manual and auditing system will be developed integrating existing experiences. This will help the campus to move beyond baseline data management to more integrated, accurate and proactive accounting.
“4. Ecology formation course:
This will be developed with institutions for lay and Jesuit participation. It will not only be academic in terms of giving the scientific basis and helping participants to see the linkage with climate change but also feature spirituality and social experience and reflection. It will include a week’s field engagement with community involvement and spiritual reflection. The course will help to strengthen the institutional vision and build scientific, social and spiritual capacity within the institution for Reconciliation with Creation. It will draw on
existing courses and could rotate with different emphasis over a set number of years and institutes.
“5. ‘Ecology Committee’ and ‘Sustainability Officer’: Most institutions have some form of “Ecology Committee.” The position of a “Sustainability Officer” may be incorporated into this organizational structure. Such a person would manage the environment of the campus as part of strategic plans within the contexts both of physical plant management and a proactive environmental vision. The officer would develop the capacity to develop carbon footprint accounting for the institute. Since appropriate skills may be needed to enhance existing faculty capacity, a training program will be offered. Initial discussions have occurred with ATMI, Sanata Dharama and Environmental Science for Social Change (Philippines) the intention would be to include Ateneo de Davao with its capacity in this field and others interested in developing the initial course.”
It was appreciated that different schools of AJCU-AP have different startting points in growing green. They also have different resources that can be mobilized for this effort.
Nevertheless, it was recognized that all have to go in this direction. Sharing one institution’s experience with others may be of help not only for the school that is sharing but for all the the schools traveling the same green path. ADDU will be going in this direction..