Responsible stewardship: What does it mean to be a good steward?

by User Not Found | Jan 24, 2019

January 24, 2019

A responsible steward in the Catholic faith means to see everything you’ve been given as a gift. In the Bible (Matthew 25:14-20), you’re encouraged to return to God what you’ve been given with increase.

This scripture (and many other passages) teach us how to use education and our unique gifts to promote the kingdom of God, peace and justice, and the dignity of life.

Responsible stewardship is one of four key Franciscan values woven into Marian University's curriculum. Each year, we focus on a different value and, during the 2018-19 academic year, the campus community is exploring what it means to be a responsible steward.

To teach students about this value in a thoughtful and prayerful way, we rely on the Oldenburg Franciscan description of responsible stewardship, which says that in our relationship with God, he calls us to:

  • Delight with all creation.
  • Have reverence for persons.
  • Responsibly use the Earth’s resources.
  • Freely share the gifts entrusted to us with those in need and the less fortunate.

A Catholic university, we welcome students of all faiths who seek an educational experience framed within the context of our Franciscan values.

Teaching responsible stewardship

Students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to practice our Franciscan values each day, both as individuals and as a members of a larger community.

In addition, the general education curriculum for every major offered at Marian is designed to encourage responsible stewardship, both personally and professionally.

  • Business majors, for example, study organizational efficiencies and including best practices for wisely utilizing and stewarding financial, human, and physical resources through Byrum School of Business courses.
  • Biology, chemistry, and other majors explore environmental sustainability, protection, conservation, and related issues through College of Arts and Sciences courses.
  • Students majoring in faith-based majors like Catholic studies, pastoral leadership, and theology offered by the Department of Philosophy and Theology prepares them to steward their congregations by serving as transformative leaders who serve the Church and the world by finding ways to meet local, national, and global needs.

“As faculty, we help students serve as responsible stewards by being in awe of life and having reverence for the people around them,” explains Adam Setmeyer, vice president of mission and ministry.

Faculty and staff at Marian are also tasked with being responsible stewards by wisely using campus resources, teaching and engaging with you throughout your college journey, and returning the fruit of those efforts, too, in an increase to God.

Applying responsible stewardship

To support and advance tangible stewardship on campus, David Benson, professor of biology and science director for the Nina Mason Pulliam EcoLab, and Amber Nelson, assistant professor of sociology, launched a environmental sustainability taskforce for the university.

The task force is focused, in part, on ways to further align sustainability of natural resources with our Franciscan values. They are also researching how to improve campus initiatives through a Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS), a framework for higher education institutions to measure their performance in sustainability.

Other ways Marian is practicing environmental consciousness include:

Join us!

Practicing responsible stewardship helps you learn how to efficiently and strategically utilize your future employer’s resources. From paper to people, being a wise steward will help your organization prosper.

You’ll stand out as a leader who cares for your colleagues, customers, and the environment, using your talents to serve God.

If you are interested in stewardship and how you can make a difference, talk to us about our programs.

  • Engage in outdoor learning in the Nina Mason Pulliam EcoLab, a 55-acre wooded wetland that serves as an environmental laboratory and is an important Marian tool for experiential teaching and learning. A range of interactive campus and public programming is offered, teaching Marian students, K-12 students, and local citizens about environmental issues, including good stewardship and sustainability.
  • During the 2017-18 academic year, members of our Community Food Garden project planted a community garden to help meet basic needs for fresh vegetables in urban inner-city food deserts where residents often lack access to healthy, affordable grocery stores. The project provided plants, seeds, building materials, garden equipment, and volunteers to build and maintain gardens for the 27th Street Community Garden and Seven Steeples Farm.
  • This year, Marian’s “Cuisine Culture” senior capstone project is focused on providing easy ways to create healthier meals while enriching and building the community and delivering easier access to healthy options in the community.

Learn more about what it means to be a Marian University Knight! Contact our Office of Undergraduate Admission at (317) 955-6300, (800) 772-7264, or

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