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Villanova University Celebrates Earth Day in 2021 with an Emphasis on Sustainability & Justice

Tan rectangle with the words "Villanova University Earth Week 2021" written in red. Bedise the words is an illustration of a globe with a COVID mask across it. Underneath the globe are the dates "April 19 - April 24"

VILLANOVA, Pa.—Villanova University celebrates Earth Day 2021 with a week-long series of sustainability and justice-focused events from Monday, April 19 through Saturday, April 24. Activities include campus tree tours, an outdoor sustainability market, Earth Day themed Quizzo, and virtual lectures including a keynote address on climate, Christianity, and culture. The week concludes with an open mic night addressing issues of social justice.

For a full listing of the 2021 Earth Week events, visit the University’s Sustainability website.

This year’s keynote address, "Christians, Climate, and our Culture in the US" will be delivered virtually by climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe, PhD, on Thursday, April 22 at 5:30pm. Dr. Hayhoe will address how climate change has triggered intense engagement and reactions from politicians, scholars, organizations and even churches—leading to a misconception that Christianity and science cannot co-exist. She is the Chief Scientist for The Nature Conservancy and the Chair of Public Policy and Public Law in the Department of Political Science at Texas Tech University. Dr. Hayhoe is also a principal investigator for the Department of Interior’s South-Central Climate Adaptation Science Center and the National Science Foundation’s Global Infrastructure Climate Network. Hayhoe’s research focuses on establishing a scientific basis for assessing the regional to local-scale impacts of climate change on human systems and the natural environment.

Other Earth Week highlights include a virtual talk on Monday, April 19 entitled “Climate (De)Regulation in the Courts” from Villanova University's Charles Widger School of Law professor Todd Aagaard, JD on the state of regulating climate change pollutants in the United States, and Open Mic Night for Justice on Saturday, April 24. The Open Mic for Justice is a space for a wide range of performances, including music, song, dramatic readings, comedy, sketches and skits, dance that gives voice to visions, hopes, and dreams for a world transformed. The event will also include a fundraiser and raffles to benefit the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia.

About Villanova University’s Commitment to Sustainability: In 2007, Villanova University President the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD signed the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. Further advancing the University’s pledge to sustainability, he established the sustainable leadership council. This committee—comprised of faculty, staff, and students from across the University—is charged with taking action on all aspects of campus sustainability and in implementing the campus sustainability plan. Since, Villanova has expanded its sustainability efforts, including the launch of new master’s degree programs in Environmental Science and Sustainable Engineering—adding academic programs with an emphasis on the environment and sustainability.

In addition, the University has eight LEED certified buildings on campus and has committed to LEED certification for all new construction and major renovation projects. In April 2014, Father Donohue signed the St. Francis Pledge, committing the University to “protect God's Creation and advocate on behalf of people in poverty who face the hardest impacts of global climate change.”

Villanova continues to be recognized as one of the nation’s greenest colleges, having received national recognition for its commitment to sustainability by a number of organizations including the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). Villanova recycles and composts up to 48% percent (22% of consumer waste) of its waste. The University has installed over 80 hydration stations on campus to make it more convenient to fill up reusable water bottles. In 2016, Villanova received a Tree Campus USA® recognition from the Arbor Day Foundation for its commitment to promote healthy trees and engaging students and staff in the spirit of conservation. By utilizing the Augustinian values of Unitas, Veritas, and Caritas, Villanova’s approach to sustainability exemplifies an emphasis on social justice and community service. The University continues to incorporate its commitment to the environment into its community service initiatives.

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