Esther Awovi Akafia


Welcome to the Sustainability Desk at Bellarmine!


What do you and a Ph.D. candidate from Dawhenya, Ghana, have in common when it comes to sustainability? If you had to pause for a moment just to figure out the pronunciation of "Daw-hen-ya" and wondered where on Earth Ghana is, then I’m pleased to meet you. 
I’m Esther Awovi Akafia, graduate assistant and sustainability officer here at Bellarmine. I’m working on my doctorate in Education and Social Change. Dawhenya, my hometown, is a tiny bustling town in the southeastern part of Ghana, a country in West Africa that lies off the Gulf of Guinea along the Atlantic Ocean. That’s right, the same Atlantic Ocean that also touches Maine, New York, Florida… when it comes to sustainability, we are all connected.
The Sustainability Desk is intended to keep you informed on what is happening in the sustainability space at Bellarmine and how you can engage and contribute.  
We will keep you informed on what is happening in the sustainability space at Bellarmine and how you can engage and contribute.

I will be sharing with you some brilliant academic stuff I have just learned: Social Equity, Economic Vitality, Environmental Responsibility and the AASHE (Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education). We will also learn about Bellarmine’s Sustainability Committee’s focus for the 2023-24 academic year and its work toward AASHE reporting. AASHE's mission is to inspire and catalyze higher education to lead the global sustainability transformation.

If you can make time, I will be inviting you to participate in some of the work Bellarmine will be focusing on in the sustainability space. There is a possibility that you might be intrigued and wondering if you could take a course in sustainability, do a research project in one of the areas, share some great ideas you have, or even share your thoughts on what we could do better. These contributions are equally welcome, and I can't wait to hear from you.  
Today, however, I want to introduce you to the drivers of the sustainability agenda at Bellarmine and one cool thing we did a month ago. 
Current sustainability work at Bellarmine includes our academic focus in Environmental Studies and several initiatives. These include energy (our electric charging stations); water use (rainwater reclamation); agriculture (the new greenhouse); materials (our recycling bins and process); and the tree canopy project (Bellarmine’s Tree Campus designation). I encourage you to look at Bellarmine's Sustainability website for more information on these initiatives.
Driving the sustainability agenda is the Sustainability Committee, a team that works in collaboration to create a campus-wide culture of sustainability and reduce our ecological footprint, save resources, and support the greater community. It is co-chaired by Brian Pfaadt of Facilities and Dr. Martha Carlson Mazur of the Environmental Studies Department, with membership across the university community. We are  always looking for more hands, expertise, and voices. So, be sure to drop me a note at if you would like to contribute.

Some ways you can contribute include: 

  • Becoming a subcommittee member to work on a goal 
  • Committing to engagement with your network
  • Researching some of the critical areas of sustainability
  • Sharing our blog posts and our work in your networks
  • Joining our meetings to learn more
  • Sharing ideas you think can help.  
One cool thing we did recently was a campus sustainability survey to understand our constituents' perceptions, engagement and priorities on sustainability at Bellarmine. If you did not participate, commit to participating next time. Once the survey report is compiled, I will share the details with you.  
That’s all for today. Next time, we will be learning about AASHE reporting and what Bellarmine is doing to enable us to achieve recognition for our work in sustainability.  
Be sure to share this with your networks. Thank you!

Tags: Sustainability



Located in the historic Highlands neighborhood of Louisville, Kentucky, Bellarmine University is a vibrant community of educational excellence and ethical awareness that consistently ranks among the nation’s best colleges and universities. Our students pursue an education based in the liberal arts – and in the distinguished, inclusive Catholic tradition of educational excellence, the oldest and most rewarding in the western world. It is a lifelong education, worthy of the university’s namesake, Saint Robert Bellarmine, and of his invitation to each of us to learn and live In Veritatis Amore – in the love of all that is beautiful, true and good in life.