By: Genevieve Fontana, Contributor
Meet Spencer Liechty, the director of Campus Ministry at Canisius University, recognized not only for his spiritual leadership but also as an eco-hero dedicated to environmental stewardship. Spencer's mission within Campus Ministry is to guide students in understanding their identity and purpose, fostering spiritual growth.
In engaging students through retreats, immersion trips and local service, Spencer provides unique experiences for self-discovery. Retreats offer a break from routine and provide fresh perspectives, while the immersion trips allow students to deeply connect with communities and better understand their challenges and beauty. Local service involves active participation in Buffalo’s community, building meaningful relationships and promoting positive change.
During this spring break, Spencer is offering the Hudson River Valley immersive experience, focusing on serving the hungry, sustainable gardening and engaging with advocacy organizations. This initiative aims to address both environmental concerns and the needs of marginalized communities.
During his Did You Know interview, Liechty introduced the Ecological Examen, a spiritual practice encouraging mindfulness of one's relationship with God and the environment. This practice fosters a commitment to caring for and protecting the Earth, aligning with Canisius University's dedication to the Laudato Si' Action Platform inspired by Pope Francis' encyclical.
Spencer's commitment extends to organizing an Immersion Trip to Wheeling, West Virginia during winter break, transforming a food desert into a sustainable environment. This effort is significant given the environmental challenges posed by coal mining in the region.
With a deep appreciation for nature, Spencer incorporates activities like running marathons, biking, hiking, and camping to connect with the natural world. His Earth-friendly choices, including reduced car usage, mindful food choices and a minimalist mindset, exemplify a responsible approach to environmental sustainability.
Liechty envisions sustainability on campus through small initiatives like encouraging reusable water bottles and significant measures such as adopting an ethical investment policy. He believes that collective action involving students, faculty, staff and administration can drive positive transformations in sustainability, social justice and responsible decision-making at Canisius University.
Spencer Liechty's role as director of Campus Ministry extends beyond spiritual guidance to environmental leadership, shaping Canisius University into a hub for positive change in both local and global communities.