In a solemn and profound ceremony, Thomasian administrators and faculty members blessed and dedicated the newly established Laudato Si’ Environmental Center (LEC), September 30, 2021. The event commemorates the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) “Season of Creation” and the 2021 Philippine Science Month.
ARCORES International (Augustinian Recollect International Solidarity Network) supports the LEC by funding the Jardin de La Salud (Garden of Health), an organic in-campus vegetable garden built with recycled materials, and the Materials Recovery Facility 2 (MRF).
Jardin de La Salud
The Jardin began as an empty patch of land near the students’ kiosks that have been left idle after the school lock down. Vegetables in the garden are local species used as ingredients in Filipino dishes and salads like sweet potatoes, tomatoes, spring onions, water spinach, chili pepper, among others.It is the handiwork of gentle Thomasian green thumbs. Maintenance staff began building the garden structures in August 2021. Scholars of the Recollect Educational Assistance for Deserving Students (READS) hauled garden soil and filled containers that were up-cycled into pots and seedling boxes.
Teachers from the CST-R Science Department gathered discarded wood from broken armchairs and turned them into garden signages. The garden of vegetables is rightly dedicated to the Nuestra Señora de La Salud, the Protectress of Good Health.
While CST-R have always been strict in implementing Ecological Solid Waste Management (ESWM), the growing Thomasian population also increased the school’s garbage output. During the time of distance learning system, modular modality increased paper waste output. Thus the need for CST-R to expand its waste segregation, collection and recycling system. The MRF 2 is seen to greatly help in this aspect.
Responding to Pope Francis’ Challenge
Although the LEC is a newly established office, CST-R is always keen on implementing safe and environment-friendly measures of school operation and maintenance. The LEC, as a response to the Holy Father’s 2015 Encyclical Letter, is a centralized approach to implementing the school’s efforts against climate change and for caring for the Common Home. From information dissemination, waste reduction and management, tree planting, eco-park management to eco-spiritual activities, CST-R’s LEC is now the Laudato Si’ come to life.