How will you make a difference? A letter from Fr. Beauchamp on sustainability

By The Beacon | April 17, 2014 12:38am

Photo courtesy of UP Marketing

University President Fr. Bill Beauchamp |

Recently, an editorial in this student newspaper commented that our university must “not lose sight of sustainability.” With new scientific reports emerging regularly on critical challenges such as climate change, water scarcity and food insecurity, I want to assure our community that I agree. These are serious times, and all universities must face this reality. This is also a time when there are tremendous opportunities for creativity, leadership and innovation as we work together to heal our world.

Sustainability is about your future – extending well beyond your years here at the University of Portland – and it is important to me that all students realize that we are committed to your future. Sustainability-related issues touch all careers, and the individuals who are best prepared will be able to seize opportunity, do well and help to better society. Fedele Bauccio, the founder of Bon Appetit and a University of Portland alumnus, is one example. He has helped to shape an entire industry in the pursuit of healthier food with less environmental impact.

Because of this commitment, I created a Task Force on Sustainability for the University in the spring of 2013. We have made excellent progress on sustainability over the years and have been recognized nationally for our leadership. However, by last year it was obvious that we needed a clearer vision for sustainability on our campus along with better insight into how to realize that vision.

The task force members have completed their work. Their vision document is now the University’s official vision document for sustainability. I would like everyone to read it; it is concise and easy to understand. An email with that document attached will be available from me today.

Our vision boils down to one main theme: Sustainability involves everyone, and everyone should get involved. By working together – students, faculty, staff and administrators – we can foster a culture of sustainability that is true to the unique character of the University of Portland. I encourage everyone in our community to do their part – in our daily practices and in teaching and learning, faith and formation, and service and leadership. Together, we can ensure that our best work is in front of us.

How will you make a difference?