Global Gateway Research

Sustainability Initiatives

We want to give our students an authentic insight to Irish contemporary society and prepare them with the tools and confidence to tackle global challenges. As a centre for Contemplative Ecology, part of that mission is giving our students a global perspective on sustainability and environmentalist practices on a local to international scale in the hopes they will bring back this knowledge to campus and bolster the efforts and partnerships directed at the climate crisis.

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Our Partnership with Green Sod Ireland

The purpose of Green Sod Ireland is to protect and conserve Irish land in perpetuity, for the sake of its indigenous inhabitants: animals, plants, soils, rocks, micro-organisms and the like for their own sake, for present and future generations.

The land of Ireland is a green gift to all of us. In holding land in trust, we acknowledge and respect it for its own sake, thus protecting its indigenous life from destruction. Green Sod Ireland works with local communities, raising awareness of the health, educational, social, economic and environmental benefits of caring for the land and its biodiversity.

Flying internationally has a large impact on the environment, so Notre Dame have partnered with Green Sod Ireland who help protect land including some sites near our global centre in Kylemore.

If you are flying across the Atlantic, or simply wish to make a positive impact in the area, please feel free to donate to help with their work.

Sustainability Service Days

Ireland is known as the isle of Saints and Scholars. Its position on the edge of Europe, a gateway to the continent, is nevertheless separated by the Irish sea. Our students are curious and adventurous people with a thirst for knowledge and new cultures so travel while studying abroad go hand in hand.

In an effort to offset the carbon footprint of flights to the continent we organise service days for our students to take part in conservation projects in Kylemore and Galway City. An average return journey from South Bend to Kylemore is approx 1.6 tonnes of Co2. An average weekend trip from Galway to Rome is about 1336 kg in Co2 emissions. By planting trees, tackling invasive species and doing clean ups we hope to counteract our contribution to global warming. We know these efforts alone won’t save the planet but by taking action in our local communities we move the classroom outdoors and make us all more mindful of our relationship with the earth ultimately instilling a genuine sense of guardianship for the planet.

Sustainability Fellowship

Since Fall 2022, Notre Dame Kylemore has been a part of a pilot scheme from Notre Dame’s Sustainability Office called the Sustainability Fellowship. Each semester, Fellows are selected for their ability to lead and support environmental initiatives during their time abroad and to help grow Notre Dame’s global sustainability work.

The Sustainability Fellow is a leader amongst our Study Abroad students that actively engages with research and community initiatives in Galway, Kylemore and Ireland to promote and raise awareness of the need for sustainability. This fellow then shares the knowledge they’ve gained, such as environmental policies and local environmental action initiatives, amongst their student peers on Study Abroad and on campus upon their return. Sustainability Fellows are a key node in connecting campus with the greater world through the lens of sustainability and bringing our community together for greater environmental action.

Fellow Maddie Kouche

As Anne Marie Bonneau says, “We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.” It is natural to want to travel during a semester abroad or to slip up and not follow the most sustainable path – what matters is that every person really tries to be sustainable and takes small actions to be better than they have been in the past. Ireland is a gorgeous country, and being in it for the entire semester has greatly increased my (and I hope everyone’s) appreciation for the beauty of the natural world. It has been a wonderful motivational factor for engaging in a cause that can occasionally seem quite grim – if we do not work to preserve this beautiful planet, we are not truly appreciating it. --- Sustainability Fellow Maddie Kouche