The Green Committee develops and provides support for sustainability initiatives within the campus and community in order to create a culture of students, faculty and staff who are socially, economically and environmentally responsible.
The Green Committee was created in the winter of 2016.
In order to accomplish the goals set in the Sustainability Strategy, the Committee has partnered with departments and divisions across campus to launch initiatives and programs intended to make the University more sustainable.
The pursuit of sustainability is directly related to the Catholic Mission of the University. In his encyclical Laudato Si’, Pope Francis reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us. He urgently appeals for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. "We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all.” The Office of Sustainability acknowledges this need and actively works to weave faith into its programs.
Throughout its history the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK) has embodied the traditional principles of sustainability as a Catholic university committed to remaining vital and strong for succeeding generations. The contemporary concept of environmental sustainability seeks a similar goal—the wise use of our natural resources to ensure their availability for future generations. While environmental sustainability often focuses on energy efficiency and cost savings, USEK’s approach is grounded in our Catholic mission and University values, acknowledging the indivisible link between environmental sustainability and the University’s future. Sustainability has its own inherent value: it equates a respectful stewardship of the environment with the faithful care of God’s creation. As his Holiness Pope Francis has instructed, “Let us be ‘protectors’ of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment.”
For many years the University has acted to inspire and encourage environmental sustainability, both academically and administratively, through the implementation of hybrid petrol-electric vehicles since 2010, energy conservation measures across facilities, the design and construction of LEED-certified buildings like the Medical building, and the establishment of the Office of Sustainability, academic and research centers.
Consistent with sustainability aims and our Catholic character, the Committee sought to approach the effort from three fundamental perspectives:
1) Respect for the human condition
2) Respect for the conservation of natural resources
3) Economic viability
University actions should first benefit people—not just the current generation or today’s community but future generations and future communities. Secondly, our decisions and actions must respect the planet’s inherent value and consider both immediate and long-term impacts on its resources. Finally, we must consider the economic impacts of our actions to ensure the University’s financial health for decades to come. This strategy has been guided by a group of faculty, staff, and students in its development; however, the strategies outlined here will succeed only if each member of the USEK community embraces this vision and takes action to bring it to fruition. The small choices we make each day will have the largest impact on our community and our environment.
Many of the recommendations suggest changes in attitude and practices. Many also require economic investments. All reflect our need to act. As His Holiness Pope Francis noted in his encyclical Laudato Si’:
It is no longer enough, then, simply to state that we should be concerned for future generations. We need to see that what is at stake is our own dignity. Leaving an inhabitable planet to future generations is, first and foremost, up to us. The issue is one which dramatically affects us, for it has to do with the ultimate meaning of our earthly sojourn. . . . Efforts to promote a sustainable use of natural resources are not a waste of money, but rather an investment capable of providing other economic benefits in the medium term.
For more information about the Green Committee and its programs, please send us an email at Green@usek.edu.lb