Professor and students in the Stewardship garden

Live and Work Sustainably

Every member of the St. Thomas community will engage in sustainable practices, and our students will be sustainability leaders as we fully implement our sustainability strategic plan. We will participate in global Catholic networks to care for our common home. A new sustainability hub will foster collaboration among students, faculty, staff, alumni, and partners, supporting research, curriculum, and practice to accelerate scalable and equitable solutions to global sustainability challenges.

All students will be offered multiple pathways for engagement, skills development, and professional experiences across academic disciplines, preparing them to advance sustainability in any career. The university will achieve an AASHE Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) gold rating by 2025, obtain a minimum of LEED silver certification for new buildings larger than 25,000 square feet, and reduce annual carbon emissions while working toward a goal of carbon neutrality by 2035.

Related Themes

2025 Strategic Plan Build Belonging and Promote Equity Lean In to Our Catholic Mission Strengthen Culture as We Embrace Change
Live and Work Sustainably Priority Priority Priority

See how the Themes and Priorities of the 2025 Strategic Plan interweave.

Measuring Progress

  • Success Metrics
  • Progress Update
  • Key Leaders
  • Success Metrics

    1. Achieve gold rating as measured by the AASHE Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) sustainability ranking.
    2. Obtain a minimum of LEED silver certification for new buildings larger than 25,000 square feet.
    3. Reduce annual carbon emissions by over 50 percent below our baseline while working toward a goal of carbon neutrality by 2035.
    4. By 2025, 20 percent of all undergraduate courses offered by the university include sustainability components.
    5. Achieve a solid waste diversion rate of 70 percent by 2025 and explore strategies to work towards a zero-waste goal.
    6. By 2025, 60 percent of students and 25 percent of employees will be served by a sustainability peer educators program.
    7. Deepen our engagement with the global Catholic climate movement organizations including the Laudato Si' Network and the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.
    8. Achieve five-year fundraising goal for sustainability efforts of $5 million by 2025.

    Progress Update, February 2022

    The St. Thomas 2025 Strategic Plan debuted in February 2021. While we continually track progress and report on it quarterly, here are key developments from the past year, as of February 2022:

    • We have earned a STARS Gold rating as measured by AASHE, which remains valid until 2024 and are working to earn a LEED Silver certification on the Schoenecker Center
    • Annual carbon emissions have been reduced by nearly 50% from baseline and we are 77% to the goal of achieving solid waste diversion of 70% by 2025
    • We are working with schools and colleges to integrate sustainability components into undergraduate courses; 75 FYE course sections include a sustainability designation

    Key Leaders

    • Dr. Elise Amel and Amir Nadav, Sustainability Directors (Primary)
    • Mark Vangsgard, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

    Success Metrics

    Success Metrics

    1. Achieve gold rating as measured by the AASHE Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) sustainability ranking.
    2. Obtain a minimum of LEED silver certification for new buildings larger than 25,000 square feet.
    3. Reduce annual carbon emissions by over 50 percent below our baseline while working toward a goal of carbon neutrality by 2035.
    4. By 2025, 20 percent of all undergraduate courses offered by the university include sustainability components.
    5. Achieve a solid waste diversion rate of 70 percent by 2025 and explore strategies to work towards a zero-waste goal.
    6. By 2025, 60 percent of students and 25 percent of employees will be served by a sustainability peer educators program.
    7. Deepen our engagement with the global Catholic climate movement organizations including the Laudato Si' Network and the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.
    8. Achieve five-year fundraising goal for sustainability efforts of $5 million by 2025.

    Progress Update

    Progress Update, February 2022

    The St. Thomas 2025 Strategic Plan debuted in February 2021. While we continually track progress and report on it quarterly, here are key developments from the past year, as of February 2022:

    • We have earned a STARS Gold rating as measured by AASHE, which remains valid until 2024 and are working to earn a LEED Silver certification on the Schoenecker Center
    • Annual carbon emissions have been reduced by nearly 50% from baseline and we are 77% to the goal of achieving solid waste diversion of 70% by 2025
    • We are working with schools and colleges to integrate sustainability components into undergraduate courses; 75 FYE course sections include a sustainability designation

    Key Leaders

    Key Leaders

    • Dr. Elise Amel and Amir Nadav, Sustainability Directors (Primary)
    • Mark Vangsgard, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer