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Environmental Panel to Examine How Faith and Sustainability Can Work Together to Make a Difference

Villanova University Center for Energy and Environmental Education

VILLANOVA, Pa. – Sustainability. It can seem like an overwhelming prospect in light of recent environmental disasters like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the Fukushima Daishi nuclear meltdown, and the ongoing polar ice melt. However, the Villanova Center for Energy and Environmental Education (VCE3) in Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is looking to provide concrete ways to make a difference.

The “Faith and Environment Panel: Empowering the Care of Creation,” co-sponsored by the Center for Peace and Justice Education, Office of Sustainability, the Catholic Climate Covenant and Villanova’s partnership with Catholic Relief Services on November 11 at 5-6:30pm in Bartley Hall Room 1011 will examine how faith and sustainability can work together to create a better future. The event is free and open to the public. Panelists will discuss how their faith can drive sustainability efforts around the world and locally. Panelists include:

  • Rear Admiral David W. Titley (ret.), Professor of Practice in the Department of Meteorology at the Pennsylvania State University; Founding Director of Penn State’s Center for Solutions to Weather and Climate Risk. Admiral Titley served as a naval officer for 32 years, rising to the rank of Rear Admiral. While serving in the Pentagon, Admiral Titley initiated and led the U.S. Navy’s Task Force on Climate Change. In addition, the Department of Defense requested that he present on their behalf at both Congressional Hearings and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) meetings from 2009 to 2011.

  • Gaye Burpee, Senior Advisor for Agriculture and Climate Change for Catholic Relief Services. Burpee oversees work in rural livelihoods and natural resources, with a focus on rain-fed agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean.  She also served as Deputy Regional Director for Latin America programs and previously contributed as a soil scientist for hillsides agriculture at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture. In addition, Burpee has worked as a research associate in socio-economics at the University of Michigan, acted as the director of an economic research program in Grenada, West Indies and served in Peace Corps.

  • Daniel J. Misleh, Founding Executive Director of the Catholic Climate Covenant. Misleh has been involved in the social mission of the Church since 1982. He worked for 11 years at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops as a policy advisor and as the Director of Diocesan Relations for the Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development. Prior to that, he worked as Associate Director of Social Action in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and served with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Alaska.

In addition to the panelists, Sister Mary Elizabeth Clark, director of the Sisters of Saint Joseph Earth Center, Chestnut Hill and Alissa Welker ’16 CLAS (Environmental Science) will also contribute to discussions related to local and campus involvement. The Center has partnered with Rosemont College and Chestnut Hill College to bring students from both institutions to the event.

Housed in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, VCE3 serves as a catalyst for stronger interdisciplinary conversation, teaching and campus learning.  Its overarching goal is to produce the next generation of consumers, business leaders, researchers, policymakers, advocates and problem solvers who are well-informed and educated in the interdisciplinary and global aspects of energy, environmental, climate and sustainability issues. Its directors are Amanda Grannas, PhD, associate professor of Chemistry, and Jared Paul, PhD, associate professor of Chemistry.

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 College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies 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.