University News

University Relaunches Institute to Promote Environmental Stewardship

SJU community garden

The SJU community garden.

The Institute for Environmental Stewardship (IES) at Saint Joseph’s University relaunched this semester to further promote socially, economically and ethically responsible environmental practices at the University and throughout the region. The Institute will be overseen by the College of Arts and Sciences and housed at the Barnes Arboretum at Saint Joseph’s University.

“Jesuit and Catholic institutions are called to be leaders in higher education in environmental stewardship and sustainability,” says Clint Springer, Ph.D., associate professor and director of IES. “The Institute for Environmental Stewardship will not only make positive changes now, but will positively impact our planet for generations to come, while simultaneously training our students to carry on these important practices as future leaders.”

IES is an interdisciplinary organization that supports teaching, research and scholarly work, and community outreach efforts, in all areas related to environmental stewardship and sustainability. The work of IES will be further supported by a formal educational partnership with the Lower Merion Conservancy.

The Institute was initially founded in 2013 through a U.S. Department of Energy grant to the College of Arts and Sciences in support of environmental projects. During that time, several projects were successfully completed including:

  • Sponsored or co-sponsored public service lectures on environmental issues;
  • Installation of an extensive green roof system on the Science Center;
  • Supported department research;
  • Co-sponsored citizens sustainable living workshop with Lower Merion Conservancy;
  • And educating the faculty learning community on environmental justice.

The Institute follows recent calls to action for environmental stewardship. In 2015, Pope Francis published the encyclical Laudato Si’, to take “swift and unified global action” to mitigate and reverse the effects of global climate change, especially the effects on the poor and marginalized. Further, in 2018, the Superior General of the Society of Jesus declared caring for our common home to be an apostolic preference of the Society of Jesus for the next decade. 

The Institute will host a number of events on Earth Day 2021. To learn more or get involved, email cspringe@sju.edu.