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Environmental Stewardship takes off at Barry University

Miami Shores, Florida – The Barry University community made great progress this year toward engaging students, faculty, and staff in campus sustainability efforts and the broader philosophy of environmental stewardship. From Barry’s Founders Week lecture on integral ecology and Laudato Si, to renewed campus recycling efforts, zero-waste lunches, and instituting a smoke-free campus, these initiatives underscore the responsibility all people have to recognize the “sacredness of Earth,” as called for by Barry’s Mission Statement.

Most notable is the partnership launched with the Adrian Dominican Sisters and Siena Heights University to offer a two-week experiential program for students to learn about sustainable ecosystems at the Adrian Dominican Motherhouse permaculture site. The program included hands-on activities, a service trip to Detroit, and day trips to Lake Erie and Aquinas College (a zero-waste campus) in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Ten Barry University students participated in this inaugural program, along with four Siena Heights students. They were challenged to implement sustainability initiatives related to the permaculture curriculum developed by Elaine Johnson, Adrian Dominican Sisters Permaculture Specialist, when they return to their respective universities in the fall. 

Two faculty members from Barry, Dr. Gerry Starratt and Dr. Ruth Tallman, served as faculty advisers and are collaborating with Siena Heights faculty members Dr. Matthew Draud and Dr. Heather Moody to explore future curricular efforts. Sisters Pat Siemen, OP, Corinne Sanders, OP, Sharon Weber, OP, and Carol Coston, OP, added to the transformative nature of the experience through their inspirational stories, presentations, and administrative support.

Partially funded through a generous grant from the Adrian Dominican Sponsorship Commission, all offerings this year have been conceptualized through the lens of expanding student leadership formation and furthering awareness of the Enactments of the Adrian Dominican Sisters. Plans for next year include the installation of two or three water bottle filling stations at high traffic campus locations, along with a Barry Green campaign to promote reusable water bottles, which can be refilled at the new fountains.


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