McDevitt Center

Current Initiatives

Sustaining Earth
Manresa Events on Campus

This initiative began in 2015 and continues. Through the public events in this initiative, we aim to provide a wide audience of students, faculty and members of the regional community with accurate and up-to-date information about the threats, their causes and measures to meet these threats. We also seek to ground and frame these issues within the context of broadly religious perspectives on our human relation to the environment and our ethical obligations to care for it – all with the intention of helping to foster informed and concerted action to sustain the earth.

Chair: Father George Coyne (2015-present) Associate Chair: Don McCrimmon (2018-2019)

See events in the series
Manresa Program

Program Directors: Steven Affeldt, RJ Rapoza and Meredith Tornabene 

Your college career begins with a lot of questions: What are my talents?  What are my career goals? Who am I as a person?  Through the Manresa Program, students begin answering those questions as soon as they set foot on campus.  Never alone, they go on a journey of personal, professional and spiritual growth with a diverse set of faculty, staff, administrators and peers.  While all bring a different set of experiences and challenges, all help one another more fully answer the enduring life question: What is my role in this world, and how can I best fulfill it?

Manresa is a part of everything that you’ll do at Le Moyne.  As a fellow, you’ll participate each year in seminars, giving you the opportunity to work with a mentor in small groups and uncover your passions, your personal traits, and career paths that best suit your unique gifts.  You are guaranteed an internship placement, career counseling, and thorough job interview practice.  You’ll also learn in specifically designated Core and interdisciplinary courses related to your progress in the program, participate in many co-curricular activities involving the community, join service-learning programs, and be invited to Manresa specific lectures and workshops throughout the year.

To learn more about the Manresa Program contact RJ Rapoza in the Office of Career and Advising RH 342 or by phone 315-445-4185.

Events in the Sustaining the Earth Series

Robert Peña on "Architecture for Sustainability"

Rob Peña is Associate Professor in the Department of Architecture at the University of Washington, where he teaches architectural design and building science with an emphasis on ecological design and high performance buildings. With the UW Center for Integrated Design, he is helping convene knowledge communities to re-imagine the future of our cities within a broader context of the need for stewardship and tender loving care of our lovely green planet. 



Albert Appleton on "Understanding Sustainability"

The concept of sustainability has become fundamental to environmental thinking. But making sustainability anything more than a feel-good slogan requires a rigorous examination of what it is and why it will be so hard to achieve. We must begin with 15,000 years of human use of the planet and how humans have created the wealth on which we have built industrial civilization. Can we approach sustainability as a new way for humans to relate to the planet and tap into the wealth of nature? Or will the patterns of millennia make the 21st century a definitive moment in our history, as the costs of our planet’s mismanagement ultimately accumulate to pull down the edifice of industrial civilization?


Hilary McManus on "Leadership for Sustainability"

An early curiosity about the diversity of nature, and watching its degradation, laid the foundation for Hilary McManus’ career in biology, especially her studies of the beautiful microscopic world of algae. Her research and teaching are guided by the belief that to know something is to want to protect it. In February 2018, as a participant in Homeward Bound, a leadership development initiative, she joined 77 other women on a three-week expedition to Antarctica. Encouraging the Le Moyne campus community to embrace a more sustainable and inclusive future, McManus will share reflections about that voyage and existing gender biases in STEM education.


Andrew Hoffman on "How Culture Shapes the Climate Change" 

Dr. Hoffman explores why large numbers of Americans reject the scientific consensus regarding climate change and examines ideological preferences, referent groups, personal experience, and values—in shaping attitudes toward  this vital issue. Dr. Hoffman is the Holcim Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business and School of Environment and Sustainability.  He is the author of the book How Culture Shapes the Climate Change Debate.

Aaron Perry on "Integral Ecology and the Sacred" 

Mr. Perry takes cues from Pope Francis’ Laudato Si', Integral Ecology, eco-psychology, and holistic practices of well-being in this comprehensive and empowering presentation of the Y on Earth Thriving & Sustainability. Mr. Perry is an author, social entrepreneur and father who provide consulting services to social and environmental impact businesses and organizations. He is the author of the book Y on Earth.

Sarah Evanega on "Hunger and Hypocrisy: A Climate for (GMO) Change" 

Dr. Evanega shares examples of how the tools of agricultural biotechnology help address climate change and its associated urgent challenges that highlight the harmful effects of denying evidence-based GMO. Dr. Evanega serves as Senior Associate Director of International Programs in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and holds an adjunct appointment in the Section of Plant Breeding & Genetics in the Integrative School of Plant Sciences at Cornell University.

Catherine Kleier on "Natura Revelata: finding Nature in All Things in the Jesuit University"

Dr. Kleier addresses finding nature in all things at a Jesuit University. She has written: “God in all things, echoes an implication of God in nature. Yet, focusing intentionally on nature provides a way of living that is indicative of how we ought to live. Nature forces us to think outside of ourselves.” Dr. Kleier is a professor of biology and environmental studies at Regis University, where she teaches courses in ecology and environmental science. Her current research interests include long-term restoration ecology. Dr. Kleier wrote Plant Science: An Introduction to Botany for The Great Courses©. 

Father Bryan Massingale on Environmental Racism and the Silence of the Faith Community

Father Massingale uses the example of the Flint, Mich., water crisis to explore why it is important for leaders of faith communities, particularly those in the Catholic Church, to speak out against environmental racism. Father Massingale is a professor of theological and social ethics at Fordham University and author of the much-discussed book Racial Justice and the Catholic Church. He is a former president of the Catholic Theological Society of America and a past convener of the Black Catholic Theological Symposium. 

Jessica Wrobleski on "Appalachia and the Challenge of Integral Ecology" 

Dr. Wrobleski engages Pope Francis’s reminder in Laudato Si’ to recognize the interdependence of social and environmental issues by addressing the social and environmental challenges in Appalachia, a region long dominated by fossil fuel industries, and exploring ways that Appalachian communities strive to promote a holistic vision of social and environmental well-being. Dr. Wrobleski is an associate professor in the Department of Theology at Wheeling Jesuit University, where she teaches courses in Catholic Social Thought, Political Theology and Theological Ethics. She served on the editorial board of Conversations on Jesuit Higher Education. 


Baba Brinkman on “Rap Guide to Climate Chaos”

Baba Brinkman is a Canadian rapper and award-winning playwright who is best known for his “Rap Guide” series of plays and albums. Brinkman has toured the world and enjoyed successful runs at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and off-Broadway in New York City. His latest work, Rap Guide to Climate Chaos, premiered in Edinburgh in 2015, after which it ran off-Broadway for five months.

Ronald Calvo on “Tourism, Sustainability and Responsible Development: Lessons from Costa Rica”

The ecology of Costa Rica is noted for its extraordinary biodiversity and an exemplary national commitment to using those natural resources as a foundation for a sustainable society. This talk traces the development from a centuries-long history of authoritarian government with colonial Iberian roots to the late-19th century advance of democracy in Costa Rica, particularly as contrasted with Nicaragua.


Despite the 1970s oil-price shocks and subsequent severe recession in both countries, the presentation will describe the seminal importance of the Costa Rica Institute of Tourism and the National Learning Institute in establishing ecotourism and the training of professional guides in expanding the economy beyond commodity-based agricultural exports.

Dr. Michael E. Mann (Penn State University) on  “The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Line”

A central figure in the controversy over human-caused (“anthropogenic”) climate change has been “The Hockey Stick,” a simple, easy-to-understand graph Professor Mann and his colleagues constructed to depict changes in Earth’s temperature back to 1000 AD. The graph was featured in the high-profile “Summary for Policy Makers” of the 2001 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and quickly became an icon in the debate over anthropogenic climate change.


In this lecture, Professor Mann will tell the story behind the Hockey Stick, using it as a vehicle for exploring broader issues regarding the role of skepticism in science, the uneasy relationship between science and politics, and the dangers that arise when special economic interests and those who do their bidding attempt to skew the discourse over policy-relevant areas of science. In short, Professor Mann will attempt to use the Hockey Stick to cut through the fog of disinformation that has been generated by the campaign to deny the reality of climate change and, in so doing, will reveal the very real threat to our future that lies behind it.



Dr. John Hart (Boston University) on “Human Ecology and Socioeconomical Ethics: Complementary Sacred Commons Perspectives”

 Pope Francis’ ecological justice encyclical, Laudato Sí, declares that Mother Earth and the poor cry for justice. Its human ecology theme teaches that people are interrelated and mutually interdependent with Earth and all living beings. A complementary insight is that Earth is a sacred commons in which community could be cultivated and conserved by socioecological praxis ethics: the integration of social justice – within and among human communities – with the well-being of Earth and all life. In this lecture, Professor Hart will explore ways in which human ecology and socioecological ethics, related in concrete contexts and complemented by Indian elders’ spiritual teachings, will stimulate creation of a holistic Earth community.


John Hart, Ph.D., is a professor of Christian Ethics at the Boston University School of Theology. Hart’s books include Cosmic Commons: Spirit, Science, and Space; Sacramental Commons: Christian Ecological Ethics; and What Are They Saying About … Environmental Theology? He has written numerous journal articles, been principal writer for regional Catholic bishops’ environmental statements, written the draft of a papal homily, and is the editor of The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Religion and Ecology. Hart has worked on human rights issues with the International Indian Treaty Council, a nongovernmental organization accredited to the United Nations, and has lectured on the ecology-ethics-religion relationship on five continents, eight countries, and 35 U.S. states. He is a member of the NASA Astrobiology Institute Focus Group on Astrobiology and Society.



Dr. Sean Esbjörn-Hargens (MetaIntegral Associates) on “Integral Economies: The Crucial Role Of Multiple Forms of Capital in Fostering Planetary Health”

Current approaches to capital have done much over the last hundred years to create an unsustainable world and jeopardize planetary health. Thus, the transformation of economic systems lies at the heart of sustaining our Earth.


In this talk, Sean Esbjörn-Hargens, Ph.D., founder of MetaIntegral Associates, will focus on recently emerging models of capital that expand our understanding of capital to include many different forms (e.g., natural capital, human capital, psychological capital). He will examine the various metrics that are being used to measure these forms of capital and show how these more integral approaches to value creation can play a crucial role in fostering planetary health.


Dr. Christiana Peppard (Fordham University), Dr. Lawrence Tanner (Le Moyne College), and Dr. Jame Schaefer (Marquette University) on “Laudato Si’ and the Ethics of Climate Change”

Pope Francis’ highly anticipated encyclical Laudato Si’ has exceeded the expectations of almost everyone. Grounded in a deep engagement with a wealth of scientific findings and carrying profound political/economic implications, Francis’ call for action to meet the urgent ecological challenges facing our planet may well provoke one of the most important encounters between science and religion since the appearance of Darwin’s Origin of Species.


Laudato Si’ invites dialogue not only about the scientific, technical, and economic dimensions of climate change but also about its moral, ethical, and social dimensions. This set of assessments by leading experts in their fields will engage all of these facets of the encyclical’s positions and is intended to initiate informed and concerted action upon them.


Get in Touch





Contact the Department:

442 Reilly Hall Le Moyne College 1419 Saltsprings Road Syracuse NY 13214


(315) 445-6200


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