Environmental Sustainability at St. Norbert College
St. Norbert College, a Catholic liberal arts college embracing the Norbertine ideal of communio, provides an educational environment that fosters intellectual, spiritual, and personal development. The Catholic Intellectual Tradition calls us to affirm the goodness encountered in creation and culture while working toward a Gospel vision of justice. Environmental justice is surely included in that concept. However, the Norbertine tradition further informs and enriches our approach to environmental sustainability.Dr. William Hyland, director of the Center for Norbertine Studies at SNC, sums it up this way:
Such a commitment flows from the
Norbertine vow of stability loci, that is commitment to a
place. There is inherent in this the idea that the Norbertines will
found a permanent and sustainable community. This is turn will be part
of the very fabric of local life, and will have the well-being of the
wider community always in mind. Traditionally, stewardship of
resources, both in the pragmatic and biblical senses, with these two
senses hopefully and ideally complementing one another, was an
Along with this commitment to a “spirituality of place”, the
Norbertines work to create a beautiful environment, on an aesthetic
level, e.g., buildings, the arts, etc., but also one that tends to be
integrated into the community and the physical environment. For
example, if one looks at the earliest pictures of SNC, it is a rather
barren landscape. Fr. Keefe and his helpers planted all of the trees,
intentionally created the Arboretum, etc. Something similar could be
said for the abbey grounds as well.
This tradition continues, informed
by the science and philosophy of the modern environmental movement,
sustainability concerns, etc. These modern concerns and approaches mesh well with traditional monastic and Norbertine ideas of
the place of an abbey in community, reciprocity, responsibility,
teaching by word and example, and all that can be included under the
umbrella of communio.
The Presidents' Climate Commitment
St. Norbert College is a charter signatory to the Presidents' Climate Commitment. The Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee advises the president on strategies through which we may act responsibly as good stewards of our natural and financial resources. These efforts are also supported by the student Environmental Club, and they have been integrated.
Behind the Scenes: On-campus Sustainability Efforts Morgan Johnson, a volunteer with SNC Green and the Peace and Justice
Center, offers a glimpse into current sustainability efforts at SNC.