At the Climate Action Summit held April 8 at Rose Hill, several elected officials were on hand to celebrate Fordham’s new role as an EPA grantmaker. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told the crowd, “We couldn’t have thought of a better place than Fordham” to dispense the federal funding, which will go to grassroots groups focused on climate justice.

Answering a call from Pope Francis, Fordham is indeed a place committed to taking “concrete actions in the care of our common home.”

Here are some updates from the first quarter of 2024, from student sustainability interns to “cool” foods to fun community events that make an impact.


In January, 11 more undergraduate students joined Fordham’s Office of Facilities Management as sustainability interns to help the University in its efforts to reduce its carbon emissions. They’re working on projects connected to AI-enabled energy systems, non-tree-based substitutes for paper, and composting. The office is still looking for three more students to join; email Vincent Burke at for more information.


Stroll into a dining facility at the Rose Hill or Lincoln Center campus, and you’ll find “Cool Food” dishes such as crispy chicken summer salad, California taco salad, and spicy shrimp and penne

Crispy Chicken Summer Salad from the Cool Food menu
Crispy Chicken Summer Salad from the Cool Food menu. Photo courtesy of Aramark

The dishes, which are marked by a distinctive green icon at the serving station, have a higher percentage of vegetables, legumes, and grains, which generally have a lower carbon footprint than those with beef, lamb, and dairy. According to the World Resources Institute—which Fordham partnered with on the Cool Food project—more than one-quarter of the world’s greenhouse emissions come from food production.

In March, the University went one step further by signing onto the New York City Mayor’s Office Plant-Powered Carbon Challenge. The pledge commits Fordham and Aramark to reduce our food-supply carbon emissions by a minimum of 25% by the year 2030.


This semester, a new one-credit, university-wide experiential learning seminar titled Common Home: Introduction to Sustainability and Environmental Justice was taught by faculty and staff from the Gabelli School, the Center for Community Engaged Learning, the Department of Facilities, the Department of Biology, and the Department of Theology. 

Other sustainability-focused courses this semester include the City and Climate Change, the Physics of Climate Change, and You Are What You Eat: the Anthropology of Food (Arts and Sciences); Sustainable Reporting and Sustainable Fashion (Gabelli School of Business); and Energy Law and Climate Change Law and Policy (Law).

Students Take the Lead

At Fordham Law School, the student-run Environmental Law Review hosted a March 14 symposium that considered the impact of artificial intelligence on environmental law. Panels focused on how regulators and litigators can use AI and the challenge of addressing AI-generated climate misinformation.

In January, Fordham Law student Rachel Arone wrote The EPA Rejected Stricter Regulations for Factory Farm Water Pollution: What This Means, Where Things Stand, and What You Can Do for the Environmental Law Review. And the Law School’s student-faculty-staff collective Climate Law Equity Sustainability Initiative held a series of lunchtime discussions about climate change, law, and policy. 

Student groups LC Environmental Club and Fashion for Philanthropy teamed up on March 8 to create reusable tote bags on International Women’s Day. The bags were donated to Womankind, which works with survivors of domestic/sexual violence and trafficking.

The United Student Government Sustainability Committee continues to run the Fordham Flea, a student-run thrift shop that connects students interested in selling old clothes with those looking to buy sustainably. The next flea will take place on April 26 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. outside of the McShane Center.

Large group of students standing together smiling for the camera.
Members of the USG Sustainability Committee. Photo courtesy of Sean Power

Community Engagement

The Center for Community Engaged Learning (CCEL) held an Urban Agriculture and Food Security Roundtable on Feb. 2. The gathering brought together community organizations and leaders from the Bronx to discuss urban agriculture and food security. Attended by Bronx Congressman Ritchie Torres, the meeting was also an opportunity for groups to learn about resources available from the USDA and the New York City Mayor’s Office on Urban Agriculture.

Six people seated around a table, talking to each other.
Julie Gafney speaking at the opening panel, along with Ritchie Torres, third from left. Photo by Adam Bermudez

CCEL Director of Campus and Community Engagement Surey Miranda-Alarcon served as a panelist at a March 9 climate justice workshop at SOMOS 2024 in Albany, along with Mirtha Colon, GSS ’98, and Murad Awawdeh, PCS ’19.

Faculty News

David Gibson, director of the Center on Religion and Culture, and Julie Gafney, Ph.D., director of the Center for Community Engaged Learning, attended “Laudato Si’: Protecting Our Common Home, Building Our Common Church” conference at the University of San Diego on Feb. 22 and 23.

Marc Conte, Ph.D., professor of economics, and Steve Holler, Ph.D., associate professor of physics, presented their research around air quality, STEM education, and education outcomes on March 11 at the first night of Bronx Appreciation Week, which the Fordham Diversity Action Coalition organized.


A woman gestures to a powerpoint presentation on a wall.
Tara Clerkin speaking at Rose Hill on March 14. Photo courtesy of IPED

On March 14, Tara Clerkin, GSAS ’13, director of climate research and innovation at the International Rescue Committee, delivered a lecture at the Rose Hill campus titled “The Epicenter of Crisis: Climate and Conflict Driving Humanitarian Need and Displacement.”

In Case You Missed It

Here are some sustainability-related stories that you may have missed: In January, economics professor Marc Conte published the findings of a study that examined whether people living in areas with more air pollution suffer more from the coronavirus. The Gabelli School of Business partnered with Net Impact, a nonprofit organization for students and professionals interested in using business skills in support of social and environmental causes.  A group of the Gabelli School Ignite Scholars traveled to the Carolina Textile District in Morgantown, North Carolina, to learn the benefits of sustainable and ethical manufacturing.

Studnets standing around watching a woman working on jeans ina factory.
Gabelli School students in North Carolina. Photo courtesy of Bill Sickles

Upcoming Events

April 12 and 19
Poe Park Clean-up
In celebration of Earth Day on April 22, the Center for Community Engaged Learning is organizing visits to the park, where volunteers can help pull weeds and spread mulch. 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., 2640 Grand Concourse, the Bronx. Sign up here.

April 13
Bird Watching in Central Park
Law professor Howard Erichson will lead students on a birdwatching tour of Central Park, where they hope to spot and identify a few of the hundreds of species that pass through Fordham’s backyard on their annual migration routes. Meet at the Law School lobby at 9:30 a.m. Contact to reserve a spot.

April 13
Ignatian Day of Service
Students and alumni will meet at the Lincoln Center campus and walk over to nearby Harborview Terrace, where they will build a community garden with residents. Lunch and a conversation about Ignatian leadership will follow. 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Click here to RSVP.

April 15
ASHRAE NY Climate Crisis Meeting
The theme of this meeting of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers is “Challenge Accepted: Tackling the Climate Crisis.” All are welcome.
7 a.m.- 1 p.m., Lincoln Center Campus. Contact Nelida LaBate at for more information or register here using code FordhamStudent2024.

We’d Love to Hear From You!

Do you have a sustainability-related event, development, or news item you’d like to share? Contact Patrick Verel at


Patrick Verel can be reached at or (212) 636-7790.