New solar panels on Eye Street decrease Gonzaga’s environmental footprint—and align with the mission and vision of the Society of Jesus.
Over two years ago, all Jesuits around the world, along with their mission partners (including schools like Gonzaga), were invited to take part in a process of discernment to determine common, vital areas of focus for the Society of Jesus.
Through that process, four priority areas—or Apostolic Preferences
— were identified as points of action and collaboration. The discernment process concluded with a confirmation of the Preferences at a special meeting with Pope Frances and Fr. Arturo Sosa, S.J., the Father General of the Jesuits.
One of the four priorities, under the title “Caring for our Common Home” calls for global collaboration for the protection and renewal of God’s Creation.
Highlighting the ways in which today’s environmental crisis particularly impacts the poor and vulnerable, this Apostolic Preference called for an “ecological conversion” and, in particular, asked schools to take action:
- Our centers of higher learning want to identify areas where they can make a difference and contribute to a change of mind and heart.
- Our social centers will study root causes, collaborating with the Higher Education sector and with others who share our concerns.
- Schools can make sure that new generations are made aware and can integrate this issue with their faith.
It was with this set of priorities in mind that Gonzaga set out to reduce its power consumption by installing a major solar system on roofs across campus.
With 757 panels now installed on the roofs of the Carmody Center, Ruesch Hall, and Cantwell Hall, this system will generate the equivalent of roughly 20 percent of the school’s overall power consumption—reducing both our energy costs and our environmental footprint.
It will also help ensure that Gonzaga students are mindful of concrete action they can take to care for our common home. With classes like AP Environmental Science taking a visit to the roof to check out the installation and talk with the engineers, to a publicly available website where the school’s power generation can be monitored in real time, the school will continually look for ways to inspire the young men of Eye Street to be a part of the ecological conversation that the Jesuits aspire to.
Living out this preference is an ongoing priority for Gonzaga. Students, faculty, and staff are actively involved in identifying ways we can care for our common home on Eye Street. Our goal is to continue to model ways that—even on an urban campus with older buildings and systems—we
can contribute to a change of mind and heart.
____________To track the solar system's production in real time, visit www.Gonzaga.org/Solar.