Gonzaga’s Climate Center named semifinalist for national award


January 12, 2022
Gonzaga News Service

SPOKANE, Wash. – The Center for Climate, Society, and the Environment at Gonzaga University has been selected as one of 30 semifinalists for the 2022 American Climate Leadership Awards.

Gonzaga’s new center, founded in 2021, emerged from a field of more than 160 nominees and now must submit additional information to ecoAmerica to help judges determine 10 finalists to be named March 28. Finalists will receive $10,000, with the runner-up receiving $25,000 and the winner $50,000.

Semifinalists all received recognition and a $1,000 award.

“Climate change is an urgent challenge that requires each of us to do more and to do it more quickly,” said Brian G. Henning, director of the center, who is a professor of both philosophy and environmental studies. “We are honored to stand alongside climate leaders from across the country.”

With offices in Washington, D.C., and San Francisco, ecoAmerica aims to build institutional leadership, public support and political resolve for climate solutions in the U.S. Since 2007, it has launched national programs with dozens of partners to engage the public on climate and foster climate and sustainability solutions.

Among the organization’s legacy programs are the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment and The Princeton Review Top 50 Guide to Green Schools.

The American Climate Leadership Awards’ semifinalists include individuals and organizations from across the country. While two semifinalists are individuals with ties to a college or university, Gonzaga’s Climate Center is the only higher education initiative named.

The semifinalists champion climate efforts at the local, state and national levels, and include representation from health, faith, land conservation, local communities, youth, Indigenous people, renewable energy and online storytelling efforts. According to ecoAmerica, they highlight four hot spots that are building significant momentum, despite the headwinds of the pandemic: renewable energy, conservation, the faith sector and youth actions.

As its mission, ecoAmerica aims to “expand climate leadership beyond traditional environmental circles by building a diverse network of major institutions and thought leaders in five sectors – faith, health, communities, higher education and business – who have the power to inspire tens of millions of Americans on climate change, in counties and communities nationwide including our heartland.“

Gonzaga’s Center for Climate, Society, and the Environment provides resources and opportunities to students, faculty, community members and leaders in the Inland Northwest to meet the challenges facing humanity and the wider natural environment in the 21st century. GU believes this vision is central to its identity as a Jesuit institution of higher learning, echoing what Pope Francis has written: “All Christian communities have an important role to play in ecological education.”

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For more information about the 2022 American Climate Leadership Awards see the ecoAmerica news release.

For more information about the Gonzaga Climate Center, visit its website at http://www.gonzaga.edu/ClimateCenter or email ClimateCenter@gonzaga.edu.