Center for Integral Ecology

The Center for Integral Ecology at Benedictine College exists to meet the unprecedented ecological crisis facing our world today. The Center’s vision is consistent with Catholic social teaching’s emphasis that both the created world and the most vulnerable of society are a gift from God to be cherished and cared for.

Conscious of papal teaching that we cannot hear the cry of nature when we fail to acknowledge the dignity of persons, this holistic approach advanced by recent popes brings together concern for conservation and understanding of the natural world (environmental ecology) with an emphasis on the unique place and responsibility of the human person within creation (human ecology).

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Following the Transforming Culture in America Strategic Plan, the Center for Integral Ecology provides for the following key areas of Formation, Extension and Profession.


  • The Center for Integral Ecology attracts students who are interested in undertaking sustainability work related to environmental stewardship, beginning with a recognition of human dignity and our grave responsibility to care for Creation.
  • The Center for Integral Ecology is developing an interdisciplinary minor in Environmental Studies at Benedictine to train the next generation of environmental leaders. The minor will garner wide interest through its two tracks in the fields of science/technology and the humanities.
  • The Center sponsors opportunities for students to attend national and regional conferences organized around issues of environmental stewardship and Catholic thought on the mutual enrichment of faith and science.


  • Students will gain valuable skills in applying academic learning to address community needs.
  • To cultivate an environmentally literate citizenry, the Center will develop educational materials that properly frame the difficult and contentious issues surrounding climate, human dignity, and other matters related to care for creation.
  • The Center will host speakers and provide programming for the local community that will invite others to take responsibility for finding solutions and cultivating the ecological virtues in their lives.


  • The Center for Integral Ecology serves as a networking venue for graduates to find employment in the public and private sectors, research and environmental policy/advocacy. 
  • Students involved in the center will participate in service and research projects that incite the desire to protect creation.


Dr. Patrisha Bugayong, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Dr. Matthew Ramage, Professor of Theology, serve as the founding directors of the Center for Integral Ecology.