Villanova University’s Office for Sustainability to Host Fireside Conversations on Climate Crisis

Villanova University’s Office for Sustainability to Host Fireside Conversations on Climate Crisis

VILLANOVA, Pa. (January 25, 2024) – Villanova University’s Office for Sustainability in Mission and Ministry will host Fireside Conversations: Exploring Climate Anxiety through the Lens of Laudate Deum, on Wednesday, January 31, at 1 p.m. in the Connelly Center. This gathering marks the first of a two-part series presented by the Office for Sustainability in collaboration with Merrimack College and will discuss Pope Francis’s Laudate Deum, his 2023 message on the climate crisis. This event series brings together Villanova and its Augustinian counterpart, Merrimack College, located in North Andover, Mass.

The Holy See’s Laudate Deum served as an urgent call to tackle the climate crisis, highlighting its severity, depth and the need for immediate and bold action to care for our common home. The Pope’s message underscores the timely and intrinsic link between the Catholic faith and the moral imperative to protect the planet and all people and creatures today and tomorrow.

Speakers for the inaugural Fireside Conversation include Bridget Wadzuk, PhD, Director of Sustainable Engineering and Chair of Civil Engineering in Villanova University’s College of Engineering; John J. Lydon, OSA, PhD, from Villanova’s Center for Faith and Learning; and Juliana Kwon ’24 VSB.

The Fireside Conversation is open to attendees worldwide, in person or by livestream. The event will also serve as a launch to the Office for Sustainability’s University-wide campaign. For additional information, please contact

Speaker Bios

Bridget Wadzuk, PhD

Director of Sustainable Engineering
Professor, Edward A. Daylor Chair in Civil Engineering
Director of Strategic Initiatives, College of Engineering

Bridget Wadzuk, PhD, is a civil engineer with a focus in stormwater management, specifically looking at urban sustainable and resilient stormwater systems, flooding and environmental justice, integration of big data and machine learning in water resources systems, and real-time control and integrated temporal and spatial scales. Her research on green stormwater infrastructure, including constructed wetlands, bioretention, green roofs and infiltration trenches looks at how these systems have been developed and improving sustainability and resilience while optimizing design and performance. Dr. Wadzuk earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Villanova University and completed her postgraduate studies in Environmental and Water Resources Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.

John J. Lydon, OSA, PhD
Center for Faith and Learning, Office for Mission and Ministry
A native of Toronto, Canada, Fr. Lydon earned his undergraduate degree from Villanova University and upon graduation entered the Augustinians. Following his theological studies, Fr. Lydon joined the Augustinian missions in Peru before completing his PhD at Gregorian University in Rome. He then returned to Peru to assume teaching responsibilities in the Seminary in Trujillo, Peru, and served in a variety of roles, including Superior of the Augustinian missions, Secretary-General of the Organization of Augustinians of Latin America, and president of the Catholic University of Trujillo, Peru. After returning to the United States, Fr. Lydon rejoined the Villanova community, where he currently serves in the Center for Faith and Learning.

Juliana Kwon ’24 VSB
Juliana Kwon is a senior in the Villanova School of Business majoring in Finance. Originally from Massachusetts, Kwon attended an all-girls catholic school where she built a strong religious foundation that has been expanded upon during her time at Villanova. Following graduation, Kwon plans to move to New York City where she’ll work in sales and trading.  

Sustainability at Villanova University: In 2007, Villanova University President the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD signed the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. In 2018, the Villanova Sustainability Leadership Council was established to develop a 10-year actionable and measurable plan to guide the University’s comprehensive effort to support the planet and its people and to ensure prosperity for all. By committing the University to the Laudato Si Action Platform and developing a customized Laudato Si’ Plan, Villanova University is taking decisive and unflinching action to build a better future. At the core of all sustainability activities, both large and small, is the University’s vision to establish an ethos of sustainable living. As an Augustinian Catholic institution, Villanova is committed to generating and advocating sustainable action to help create a future that provides enough, for all, forever.

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 six colleges—the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. Ranked among the nation’s top universities, Villanova supports its students’ intellectual growth and prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them. For more, visit