Villanova University to Sign Catholic Climate Covenant’s St. Francis Pledge to Care for Creation and the Poor

University President, the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, to sign Pledge during April 15 ceremony

St. Francis Pledge

VILLANOVA, Pa. – Villanova University President, the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, will represent the University April 15 in signing the St. Francis Pledge to Care for Creation and the Poor. Initiated nationally by the Catholic Climate Covenant, the Pledge is a commitment being made by Catholic individuals, families, parishes, organizations, institutions and universities around the country. It asks Catholics to live their faith by protecting God’s Creation and advocates on behalf of people in poverty who face the harshest impacts of global climate change. 

The St. Francis Pledge signing ceremony will be held at 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 15 in the President’s Lounge of the Connelly Center.

"Climate change and other environmental burdens are disproportionately shouldered by the poor and marginalized,” said Kathryn Getek Soltis, PhD, Director of the Center for Peace and Justice Education. “This pledge includes a commitment to our brothers and sisters in poverty, reminding us that true justice integrates a concern for the vulnerabilities in both our human communities and the whole of creation." 

As a leader in environmental sustainability and responsibility, Villanova is committed to integrating sustainability programs into its institutional policy and practice, curricula, scholarly research, as well as its academic and community events. The St. Francis Pledge also promises to protect those impacted most by global climate change, the poor and vulnerable. At Villanova, this commitment to protecting and serving the poor is embedded in the University’s Catholic Augustinian mission and influences programs inside and outside the classroom. By signing the pledge, Villanova promises to act on each of the St. Francis Pledge’s five elements:  

  • Pray and reflect on the duty to care for God’s Creation and protect the poor and vulnerable.
  • Learn about and educate others on the causes and moral dimensions of climate change.
  • Assess how we as individuals and in our families, parishes and other affiliations-contribute to climate change by our own energy use, consumption, waste, etc.
  • Act to change our choices and behaviors to reduce the ways we contribute to climate change.
  • Advocate for Catholic principles and priorities in climate change discussions and decisions, especially as they impact those who are poor and vulnerable.

“Villanova students feel concern and compassion for the natural environment,” said Chara Armon, PhD, Lawrence C. Gallen Fellow in the Humanities. “They want to know how to connect their faith, their college education, and their career plans to the environmental challenges we face.”

She added, “It’s meaningful for Villanova to sign the St. Francis Pledge because as a Catholic University we can do so much to fulfill the Pledge’s exhortations to pray, learn, assess, act, and advocate on behalf of the natural world on which our lives depend.”

The Pledge links the importance of Catholicism and sustainability, and will encourage the Villanova community to follow a path toward sustainability by integrating it into daily life on campus. Becoming a signatory to the Pledge supports the current endeavors of the President’s Environmental Sustainability Committee; Villanova’s new Center for Energy and Environmental Education in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; faculty research and teaching devoted to ecological subjects; and the work of multiple student groups that address sustainability issues.

Amanda Grannas, PhD, Director of the University’s new Center for Energy and Environmental Education sees establishment of the Center and signing The St. Francis Pledge as the right next steps on Villanova’s continuing path to sustainability.

“The mission of the new Center for Energy and Environmental Education is to foster interdisciplinary partnerships across the University,” said Grannas. “The Center sponsors and organizes events that will impact the greater campus community in a positive way, in the context of sustainability, energy, and the environment.  The signing of the St. Francis Pledge is an example of that hope becoming a reality.  Small things really can make a big difference.”

Click here to learn more about Villanova University’s commitment to sustainability. 

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's five colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing and the Villanova University School of Law. As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them.