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Thirty Catholic High Schools Commit to Care of Creation Through Ignatian Carbon Challenge

By Kelly Swan

Coinciding with Pope Francis’ Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, and designed to bring Laudato Si’ to life within classrooms and institutions, the Ignatian Solidarity Network and Catholic high schools around the country kicked off the Ignatian Carbon Challenge. The program, which began on Sept. 1, and extends through the 2016-2017 academic year, provides tangible resources for action and reflection to support institutions’ and individuals’ work toward a more sustainable lifestyle and campus environment.

An individual challenge provides teaching resources to educators and club moderators to weave challenges into their classrooms, allowing for tangible incorporation of Laudato Si’ into curriculum. An institutional challenge invites school administrators to commit to making strides toward more sustainable schools. A series of suggested challenges will be presented throughout each month, including simple items, such as preparing a sustainable meal, on the individual level, and large scale efforts, such as installation of low-flow faucets or motion sensor lights on the institutional level. 


Progress will be officially tracked by the Ignatian Solidarity Network staff, and will be publicized through social media using #IggyCarbon.

As academic years begin, schools have plans in place to initiate the Ignatian Carbon Challenges on their campuses. St. Louis University High School incorporated program registration into the first day of classes, will be utilizing challenges as graded assignments, and has chosen to designate the science departmental offices and classrooms as “bottled water free zones.” 

“We hope to make our campus and world more sustainable and make students more aware of their relationship to creation,” shared Joe Cussen, assistant director of Christian service at Bellarmine High School in San Jose, Calif. Bellarmine plans to integrate the individual challenge into their homeroom class program, designed as a competition with incentives and prizes for high-performing classes.

Presentation High School in San Jose, Calif., kicked off their school year with a display highlighting September’s individual challenges. The school’s varsity soccer team hiked at Los Gatos Creek Trail to complete the “go for a hike with a friend” challenge, promoting recreational appreciation of the natural world.



Some of the schools taking part in the Ignatian Carbon Challenge

To date, more than 3,000 individuals have registered, and 30 schools in the United States, Canada, Chile, and Australia, are participating, either through institutional or individual challenges. Participating institutions include Bellarmine College Preparatory, Bishop Dwenger High School, Boston College High School, Canadian Jesuits International, Cheverus High School, Colegio San Luis, Creighton Preparatory School, Cristo Rey Atlanta, Cristo Rey Jesuit College Preparatory of Houston, Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Minneapolis, De Smet Jesuit High School, Don Bosco Cristo Rey, Fairfield College Preparatory School, Georgetown Preparatory School, Gonzaga College High School, Hill Murray School, Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas, Jesuit High School in Portland, Ore., Jesuit High School in Carmichael, Calif., Jesuit High School of Tampa, Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Ill., Loyola School in New York City, Marquette University High School, McQuaid Jesuit High School, St. Bonaventure’s College in Canada, Presentation High School, Regis Jesuit High School, Rockhurst High School, Rosati-Kain High School, St. Louis University High School, St. Ignatius College Riverview, St. Ignatius College Prep in San Francisco, St. John’s College High School, Verbum Dei High School, St. Brigid School, and Roncalli High School

Registration is open until Dec. 1, 2016, and more information can found by visiting: http://igsol.net/iggycarbon


The Ignatian Solidarity Network (ISN) is a national social justice networking, education and advocacy organization animated by the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola and the witness of the Jesuit martyrs of El Salvador and their companions. ISN was founded in 2004 and is a lay-led 501(c)3 organization working in partnership with over 80 Jesuit universities, high schools, and parishes, along with many other Catholic institutions and social justice partners.





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