Heike Pintor Pirzkall
Faced with a growing concern for the protection of the environment and in line with the objectives of the Comillas Pontifical University’s strategic plan and the Pope’s Laudato Si’, the Integral Ecology and Sustainability Program was created in September 2019 at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences to inform and generate changes in the attitudes and behaviors of students and teachers through various actions.
The responses were immediate.
Trash containers were adapted to the new recycling needs. The white bleached paper used in photocopying and in toilets was changed and replaced by less chlorinated paper made from pulp of trees grown in sustainable tree plantations. Machines were also installed to recycle plastic bottles. One of the most important and costly changes was the installation of solar panels on the roofs of buildings that reduced electricity costs by more than 20%.
Students carried out continuous activities throughout the year. On integration day, first-year students of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences participated in an environmental awareness workshop. A literary competition was organized to encourage students to write and reflect on climate change. A beautiful ode from a student of the master’s degree in Conference Interpretation received the first prize.
In addition, Charo Morán, a biologist and environmental educator, was invited to give two workshops on consumption and nutrition. She gave important advice and helped students reflect on the importance of an organic diet and responsible consumption.
At the end of November, a collective activity on COP25 was organized for all the students of the Faculty to inform them on the UN Conference on Climate Change, its objectives and its achievements.
For the new academic year, the creation of a vegetable garden on campus and a series of workshops are being designed. A collage workshop with recycled materials and a short film contest on the theme of water have also been organized, as well as conferences and talks with specialists.
These activities will allow the entire university community to become aware of the importance of protecting the environment and to advance in its achievement.
Heike Pintor Pirzkall is the Coordinator of the Integral Ecology and Sustainability Program at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, as well as a professor at the Department of International Relations, at the Comillas Pontifical University in Madrid, Spain.
A related story was published in the Comillas Blog of International Relations.