Creighton students push for commitment to address climate change

Published: Apr. 25, 2019 at 3:28 PM CDT
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Students at Creighton University say the school is getting a failing grade when it comes to the environment. Approximately 200 students gathered Thursday to protest its policies on climate change.

This puts them among other Jesuit school students across the country calling for and making change.

The students say Creighton isn't living up to its Catholic Jesuit values to - as the Pope called for in 2015 - act boldly on climate change.

On Thursday there were some calls to action of their own and then three minutes of silence.

Student President Donna Shahbazi said, “They're physically here in the rain, right before an 11 a.m. final for some students, saying ‘no, we do care, no we do hold you to these standards. It is time.'"

Time to set a new goal for a zero carbon footprint. They say 2050 isn't good enough.

Hugh Truempi said, "In my opinion that's a joke. The University of Loyola is on track to reach their target of 2025 and another Jesuit institution, the University of San Francisco just announced they achieved carbon neutrality this month."

More solar panels and turning off a constantly-burning flame are a couple of examples students say could help.

In a letter sent to the Creighton community this week, Fr. Daniel Hendrickson, the CU President, reiterated their responsibility to the environment.

The students say it’s time to walk the walk.

Truempi said, "In the last paragraph of the letter he says us, as Creighton University, should be a leader in promoting justice, especially environmental justice and feel we are not doing that at all."

Students are also calling on the school to get their investments out of fossil fuels, something their counterparts at Seattle University have already said they'll do.

Shahbazi said, “To have higher goals of divestment, maybe not tomorrow, but having the university say they will divest just like our peer institutions. Let's set the precedent. Let's be one of the first Jesuit schools to do that."

The students who were leading the way Thursday have a meeting set with the president Friday.

The students say in previous meetings with the school's leadership they been sent away to do more research but without the information they need to do it.

They are hoping the president will be forthcoming Friday about how much of the school's endowment is invested in fossil fuel.

We asked to speak to the president Thursday but were told he doesn't have a comment at this time.