Caring for Our Common Home

Caring for Our Common Home

Notre Dame's 2021 institutional message

Each year, the University produces its own institutional spot to air during nationally televised sporting events. Notre Dame produces these ads in-house, a rarity among higher education. Often, these spots feature an issue of particular relevance to the campus community and the global community, and perhaps at no other time has this been more evident than in the spot for the 2021-2022 academic year.

In this piece, a young man’s inner dialogue reflects on the issue of climate change. As evidence data continue to mount regarding humankind’s impact on the environment, so too does the realization that time is of the essence in addressing this crisis. 

Among many sustainability initiatives underway at Notre Dame, the University has co-sponsored with the Vatican a series of conversations on energy transition with executives from many of the world’s leading energy producers and investors, resulting in 2019 with participants signing statements of support for carbon pricing and disclosures on climate change risk.

Through programs such as Notre Dame’s Environmental Change Initiative and ND Energy, University scholars and researchers work to find solutions to society’s complex environmental challenges that acknowledge and address the importance of both human welfare and environmental health and help the world move toward a more sustainable future.

On campus and in the local community, the University has in recent years dramatically expanded its sustainability measures, including ending the use of coal at its power plant and making substantial investments in geothermal energy, hydroelectric power, solar projects, green roofs and more, all of which have resulted in a more than 50 percent reduction in its carbon footprint. The Office of Sustainability works with a wide array of student groups and partners across campus to ensure that the University is a leader in sustainable operations, education and research.

Finally, the 2021-2022 Notre Dame Forum, “Care for Our Common Home” (which inspired the closing message of the spot), will feature a series of events that focus on not only the environmental threats posed by climate change, but also the costly economic, social and political disruption that it brings. As Pope Francis wrote in his 2015 encyclical Laudato Siˊ: “We are faced not with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental.”