Fordham Ram on the Lincoln Center campus in spring with flowers in bloom

Our Common Home: Fordham's Environmental Action Plan

A Call To Action

On Earth Day 2021, Pope Francis issued a bold new call to action. 

Six years before, the pope published an encyclical titled Laudato Si, a letter addressed not only to Catholics but to all people of goodwill, calling on the world community to “care for our common home.” This sweeping letter calls on all of us to become an integrated universal family, united in stopping the pernicious effects of human-caused climate change, addressing the disproportionate impact that environmental degradation has on the most vulnerable of our neighbors, and advancing innovative and community-led solutions to improve biodiversity, deepen academic research, enhance urban planning and economic development practices, and, with stubborn optimism, promote a powerful new set of goals that reorient the way we think, work, build, and grow.

Water fountain on Rose Hill campus

Now, through the Laudato Si Action Platform, Pope Francis calls on us to live out his words. It is not enough to read, to reflect, to hope. We must act. We must take concrete actions in the care of our common home, and embark on a seven-year transformation that reorients our institutions and ourselves in the service of the urgent and necessary action.

Our Mission

At Fordham, the care for our common home is enshrined in our mission statement. As we work toward the discovery of wisdom and the transmission of learning, as we foster global citizens who bring themselves to the good work academically, professionally, and spiritually, we recognize that this work cannot be done in isolation from our city, our nation, and our world. For this reason, the Fordham mission commits each of us “to assist in the alleviation of poverty, the promotion of justice, the protection of human  rights and respect for the environment.”

Plaza at Lincoln Center in spring

We cannot advance human rights without caring for our common home. We cannot leverage the powerful intellectual force of our University for public good without working on climate justice and environmental justice across disciplines and schools. We cannot consider ourselves a world-class institution unless we demonstrate a commitment to sustainability in our day-to-day practices, our infrastructure, and our physical plant. We cannot work toward global futures without responding to the pressing concerns of the global present. 

The imperative is to do, and do now. Fordham University has answered the call.

Our Plan

In what follows, the Fordham University Laudato Si’ Planning Committee outlines an action plan to guide the seven-year transformation process at Fordham University. Our goal is to continue to work across the University to unite sometimes-siloed or disparate work in teaching, learning, research, student affairs, finance and strategic sourcing, human resources, and infrastructure and facilities under one prevailing vision of environmental and climate justice. Our report is guided by the Universal Apostolic Preferences of the Society of Jesus, and carefully calibrated to augment and advance Fordham’s strategic plan, Educating for Justice. Our process included an in-depth baseline evaluation of Fordham’s green work to date and a response to our most recent Climate Action Report. Our goals are broad and lofty but attainable. 

Trees in bloom during spring on the plaza at Lincoln Center

We anticipate that this seven-year action plan will serve as a guiding light for Fordham’s transformation. Each year, a working group will develop and disseminate an action plan for the academic year, one that outlines granular deliverables. We will update the University community in real time on progress made and goals fulfilled. View the 2022–2023 action plan and progress now.