The Cataldo Project


The name of this initiative is inspired by the Jesuit founder of Gonzaga, Fr. Joseph Cataldo, S.J. (1837-1928). The goal of the Cataldo Project is to provide Gonzaga graduates with a fundamental awareness and understanding of the importance of the natural environment to life, how all human activities affect the environment, and an ethic for responsible stewardship of the planet. To achieve this goal, the Cataldo Project conducts workshops, seminars, and other programs to develop and augment the environmental knowledge and skills of Gonzaga faculty, as well as to assist them in revising their courses to include sustainability concepts. In this way, students will receive broad, continuing and repeated exposure to sustainability concepts throughout their academic experience. The Project will facilitate the process of faculty development by providing financial and intellectual support, as well as access to resources, information, and environmental experts.

The work of the Cataldo Project amplifies and enriches the revised Core Curriculum by facilitating inclusion of environmental and sustainability issues in First Year Seminars, Social Justice designated classes, and Core Integration Seminars. Further, the Cataldo Project supports several other strategic initiatives of the University, including Gonzaga’s Climate Action Plan and the Lilly Endowment funded Francis Youth Institute. 

The Cataldo Project is made possible through funding from the College of Arts and Sciences, School of Engineering and Applied Science, School of Education, School of Business Administration, Center for Global Engagement, the Office of the Vice President of Mission, and, most especially, the Office of the Academic Vice President.

If you are a faculty member interested in learning more about this initiative, contact Faculty Fellow for Sustainability Brian Henning ( or x5885.

More details on Cataldo Project workshops.

A Brief History

In September of 2008, Psychology Professor Monica Bartlett began laying the groundwork for reviving a group of students, faculty, and staff to address environmental issues on campus. Monica partnered with Philosophy Professor Brian Henning, who had experience creating and organizing a stewardship committee at his former institution. Throughout the fall of 2008, the group (consisting of faculty, staff and students) met regularly to discuss organization, purpose, and duties. The hope of this group was to gain knowledge about what was already happening on campus, celebrate it, and identify new projects and ideas for the institution to implement. Then President Robert Spitzer, SJ officially approved the creation of the Advisory Council on Stewardship and Sustainability (ACSS) and its Steering Committee on January 29, 2009, with the Council reporting directly to the President's Office. In October of 2010, President Thayne McCulloh signed the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) and officially charged the ACSS with the responsibility of implementing the Commitment, which requires the creation of a Climate Action Plan. Over two academic years (2011-2013) the ACSS created the University's first greenhouse gas inventories and a Climate Action Plan, which can be found here

The Climate Action Plan called for, among other things, the hiring of a Director of Sustainability. This position was approved in 2013 and in 2014 Gonzaga's first Director of Sustainability, Jim Simon, was hired. (To allow the Director of Sustainability to create his own structures, in November of 2015 the ACSS voted to dissolve itself.) The first goal of the Climate Action Plan is the deepening of sustainability across the curriculum. This work began even before the Climate Action Plan was completed. Much of the curricular work came out of a series of conversations hosted by Jean MacGregor and the Washington Center's Curriculum for the Bioregion project. With their help and funding, Gonzaga hosted the first regional sustainability across the curriculum conference in 2012. A second, larger conference, also supported by the Washington Center, was held two years later at Spokane Community College. These workshops brought together a diverse group of faculty from across campus and created the core group that would eventually propose the creation of the Cataldo Project and the Faculty Fellow for Sustainability who would run it. The Cataldo Project was approved in 2015 by Academic Vice President Patricia Killen and the first workshop was held in May 2016, led by Brian G. Henning, Professor of Philosophy and Environmental Studies.

Participant statements

Having the opportunity to dedicate two focused days to reflecting on the role of sustainability in my classes, as well as how to incorporate it in non-traditional ways has been immensely useful. ... I look forward to expanding my previous efforts of incorporating sustainability into a number of my courses as a result of the workshop.

-Naghme Morlock, Sociology & Criminal Justice

The Cataldo Project workshop ... has opened my eyes to new ways of thinking about sustainability. I came to see sustainability goals as central to the mission of Gonzaga University, and also realize that sustainability encompasses much more than just our environmental impact, but also our impact on other human beings, now, and in the future.

-Allan Scruggs, Chemistry 

The two days we spent as a group were incredibly fruitful and challenging. We quickly became a tight cohort of quite different colleagues with very common teaching goals.

-Leslie Stamoolis, Theater & Dance

It was a wonderful couple of days and the very best pedagogy workshop I have ever attended; in fact, my enthusiasm has been re-kindled not just for sustainability in the classroom, but for experiential learning in general. . . . I hope everyone who has any interest in the goodness of nature and ways that our teaching and learning attempt to encounter that goodness (and who would that not include?) has the chance to be a part of this workshop.

-Dan Bradley, Philosophy

The Cataldo Project was a fantastic event. The issue of sustainability is one that is central to the mission of the university and quite salient in my mind as a faculty member. How uplifting it was to see how vital sustainability is to several other colleagues through my experience in the workshop.

The length and structure of the event allowed me to interact with colleagues from across the university in a way I otherwise, unfortunately, probably would not. It was illuminating to listen to colleagues discuss their own discipline and how sustainability fits into it. Through the discussions, I came away with numerous ideas to incorporate into my own courses—precisely because I was able to think about my own discipline in a new light, through the rich conversations.

-Joe Johnston, Sociology

Now I have a much better idea of what sustainability entails and some issues of particular importance to Spokane, so that I may begin to infuse my course with sustainability themes and hopefully pass on to my students some of what I have learned. I have come away from this experience with some concrete strategies that I intend to implement in my course this upcoming year, as well as a new cohort of colleagues with which to share thoughts.

-Sarah Siegel, Chemistry