July 17, 2018, Providence, Rhode Island – About a month after leading select students from Barry University and Siena Heights University on an intensive, two-week Environmental Leadership Experience, two of the program’s directors shared that experience with yet another group. Elaine Johnson, Permaculture Specialist for the Adrian Dominican Sisters, and Paula Dias, Program Manager of Mission Engagement and the Division of Student Affairs at Barry University, spoke about the program June 23 to faculty members and administrators from Dominican colleges and universities across the United States.
Now in its second year, the Environmental Leadership Experience draws interested students to the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Motherhouse Campus in May after the close of the school year. Through teamwork, hands-on experiences, talks, meditation, and tours of local sustainable programs, the students learn about eco-systems and the principles and practices of Permaculture, a system of learning from and working with the systems of nature in designing and implementing agriculture. The students are expected to use what they’ve learned to develop environmentally sustainable practices at their school in the Fall.
Elaine and Paula gave a special presentation, “Environmental Leadership Experience: Engaging Students in Caring for the Earth,” in a Saturday break-out session at the 2018 Dominican Higher Education Colloquium, at Providence College in Providence, Rhode Island.
During their presentation, Elaine and Paula spoke on the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ 2016 General Chapter Enactment to “sacrifice to mitigate significantly our impact on climate change and ecological degradation” and on the environmental sustainability efforts of the Adrian Dominican Sisters, Siena Heights University, and Barry University.
Elaine and Paula also spoke of their vision for the future of the program, including possible credit options for participants and a reciprocal trip to the campus of Barry University in Miami to study the tropical ecosystems.
Read a fuller description of their talk. Please note that Karen Stalnaker, listed in the schedule as a panelist in the presentation, did not participate in that particular presentation but made a presentation during a different part of the Colloquium.
Feature photo: Elaine Johnson, right, discusses hugelmounds – raised beds that include organic matter that ultimately decomposes and fertilizes the crops – with the 2018 Environmental Leadership Experience participants.
July 16, 2018, New York, New York – Adrian Dominican Sister Judy Byron, OP, along with Sister Susan Vickers, RSM, will receive the 2018 Legacy Award from the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) during a special event on Tuesday, October 2, 2018, in New York City. Both are being recognized for providing “a strong moral foundation and an enduring record of demonstrated influence on corporate policies.”
Sister Judy, a member of ICCR since 1998, is the director of the Northwest Coalition for Responsible Investment and the program director of the Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center (IPJC) in Seattle, Washington. She is a consultant for the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Portfolio Advisory Board (PAB), serves on the Board of Mercy Housing Northwest (MHNW) and served on ICCR’s board from 2002 to 2005.
“Sister Judy Byron is tireless in her compassion, and passion, for justice,” said Margaret Weber, a colleague at the PAB. “Her light is steady and unwavering. She keeps a social justice lens ‘at the ready’ for critical moments in time for the shareholder voice. Judy’s leadership on the gun safety shareholder proposal at Sturm Ruger is illustrative of how she sees a moment in time and acts on it.”
Rev. Séamus Finn, Chair of the Board for ICCR, spoke of the “profound impact” that both Sister Judy and Sister Susan have on the work of ICCR. “Judy’s quiet yet persistent presence consistently brings a clear social justice voice into our meetings and conversations,” he said. “She never fails to remind companies – and all of us – about the impact policies and decisions have on local communities and on the lives of people who are frequently ignored or excluded.”
“What I’m very aware of in my corporate responsibility work is that this is truly a collaborative work,” Sister Judy said. “I don’t think this award is so much for me as a recognition of the difference that faith-based shareholders are making and that we in the Northwest have been able to make in the social and environmental issues we’ve addressed – gun safety, health equity, human rights, human trafficking, and climate change. Together, we’ve been a moral voice, working to create a just and sustainable global community.”
For Sister Judy, one of the challenges of corporate responsibility ministry is the scope of the justice issues that need to be brought to corporate boardrooms. “Our challenge is to prioritize which issues and companies we should engage, so that we can transform these corporations,” she said. “We focus on industry leaders, who can, in turn, change the direction of entire industries.”
She gave the example of ICCR’s work with the pharmaceutical industry to move them to make their HIV/AIDS medicines available to more people, especially those in low-income countries. “When we approached them in 2000, their medicines were available to a miniscule number of people in low- and middle-income countries,” she explained. “After our dialogue with them, they really stepped up and now millions of people are receiving treatment.” Most significantly,” she said, “faith-based shareholders engaged Gilead Sciences, who is now the leader in providing treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS in developing countries.
“Our strength is that we are faith-based shareholders,” Sister Judy explained. “We bring a collective moral voice to the companies. We say that ‘We are inspired by faith and committed to action.’ And I would add, action for the common good.”