I am part of DIVEST Loyola and the Loyola Association of Students for Sustainability and when we worked together with different on-campus and off-campus organizations to create the first ever Earth Week celebration at Loyola New Orleans this year, I wondered how great it would be if all Jesuit institutions somehow worked together under one sustainable movement to encourage, empower, and educate each other for a greater change among our greater Jesuit community.
It was a great occasion for collaboration and participation as we put together the Earth week events leading up to Earth Day 2016. Some of these activities included movie nights, invitations to outside organization to talk with students about local participation, and a student-based concert and prayer service were held. During the summer and into the new school year, I had the opportunity to work with Karina Alvarez, a student at Loyola Marymount, to reach out to different Jesuit colleges across the nation under the Jesuit Divestment Network.
Gaining support from College of the Holy Cross, Loyola University Chicago, University of Scranton, and Georgetown University, everyone jumped into action for the Feast of Saint Francis on 4 October. With word that the Global Catholic Climate Movement was announcing major fossil fuel divestments made by large Catholic institutions, we wanted to be part of the news. We want to let the Jesuits know that as Jesuit institutions we are working together too for the same goal, guided and strengthened by Laudato si’.
And so on 4 October, Loyola Marymount University’s Fossil Free LMU held Toast to the Pope, literally spreading the love and educating students of Divestment with pieces of toast with Pope Francis’ face on it. College of the Holy Cross kicked off their divestment campaign with their new club, HC Fossil Free. They met in their plaza to share and talk about the works of Pope Francis and the general crisis of climate change. Students were able to share stories of how climate change changed their lives to show that this issue is real and now. Georgetown University (GU) Fossil Free, DIVEST Loyola (New Orleans), University of Scranton-Divest from Fossil Fuels, and Loyola University Chicago Student Environmental Alliance took pictures of their divestment clubs on campus. Together, as Jesuit universities, we are standing for a cause that needs the utmost attention.
This is just the beginning of the united collegiate Jesuit divestment movement. Over the next few months we will be working with more Jesuit universities to join us and our efforts. We hope to continue working with the Global Catholic Climate Movement for support on a larger scale. Each school has their own divestment club and sustainability club, but under the Jesuit Divestment Network we will be working together to grow support, ideas, and connections.
As college students we have so much potential and so many resources to make a change. This world is in dire need of change so let us take this time and opportunity to do so. Over the next few months, each school will be hosting events and will be working together so each university can hold an Earth Week of their own.
We thank you for reading and listening to our actions. We, as Jesuit students, will continue to work hard towards change. We will be heard. We will spread our love and knowledge. And we will make a greener, sustainable, fossil free tomorrow.
Anthony Rizzi is a sophomore at Loyola University New Orleans and a leader in DIVEST Loyola and the Loyola Association of Students for Sustainability, two university student clubs that encourage divestment from fossil fuel funds and re-investment in sustainable and socially responsible action.