Friday October 20, 2017

Unwavering Commitments

As part of the University of Dayton's continued commitment to sustainability and human rights, it has joined the United Nations Global Compact and the Global Catholic Climate Movement.

"These commitments are a natural outgrowth of our recent year-long strategic visioning process that involved more than 3,000 stakeholders and helped us frame our self-understanding as 'the University for the Common Good,'" President Eric F. Spina said. " These commitments further affirm our work to build on existing sustainability and fair and ethical sourcing programs, and expand opportunities to engage the University and the greater Dayton community in action on sustainability, social justice and human rights."

The U.N. Global Compact, the world's largest corporate sustainability initiative, asks businesses and organizations to build cultures of integrity and meet fundamental responsibilities in the areas of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption.

The Global Catholic Climate Movement is an international coalition of Catholic organizations and individuals that, in union with and in support of the pope and bishops, seeks to raise a strong Catholic voice in global climate change discussions. It asks organizations to divest from fossil fuels, share Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si' and share expertise and resources in this area.

The University also is a signatory of Second Nature's Carbon Commitment, committing the University to becoming carbon neutral by 2050, and "We're Still In," a declaration by community leaders nationwide to support climate action to meet the Paris Agreement.

In the last decade, the University became a fair-trade university as well as the first Catholic university in the nation to divest from fossil fuels. It also committed to renovating or building facilities on campus with at least Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver certification or an equivalent status in mind.

Earlier this year, the Dayton Power and Light Company awarded the University energy efficiency rebates totaling $500,000 for projects on campus implemented during the last decade that improve the environment. 

The rebates have seeded the University's Green Revolving Fund, which started in 2016 to support energy-saving improvements on campus, sustainability-related research and hands-on learning opportunities for students. Green Revolving Fund projects subsidized with DP&L rebates include upgrading air handlers in three buildings on campus and replacing high-energy lighting with low-energy LED lighting in five buildings. Savings and additional rebates from those projects are re-invested in the Green Revolving Fund to fund even more sustainability initiatives on campus.

The University's sustainability education initiatives received a boost in 2014 with a $12.5 million gift from the George and Amanda Hanley Foundation. The largest gift in University history also established the Hanley Sustainability Institute.

UD is listed in The Princeton Review's "Guide to 373 Green Colleges, 2017." The University also has earned a STARS silver rating in the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System for its sustainability achievements.

The University of Dayton — a Catholic, Marianist research university — started the country's first undergraduate human rights program in 1998 and offered one of the nation's first bachelor's degrees in human rights studies in 2008. Founded in 2013, the Human Rights Center expands the University's mission to integrate theoretical and practical approaches to learning and engage others working toward the common good — locally and globally.

Since 2013, the Human Rights Center has worked with Catholic Relief Services, the Pastoral Land Commission of the Brazilian National Bishops Conference and non-governmental organization Repórter Brasi to research forced labor in the supply chains of goods that end up in American homes.

An international cast of civil rights, race, immigration and human rights experts will convene at the University of Dayton Nov. 8-10 for the third biennial Social Practice of Human Rights conference. Nearly 100 participants from more than 15 nations will attend the conference, including representatives of the National Immigration Law Center, International Catholic Migration Commission, Hope Border Institute, U.S. Institute of Peace, Carr Center for Human Rights Policy and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

For more information, contact Shawn Robinson, associate director of news and communications, at 937-229-3391 or srobinson@udayton.edu.

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