Next week is Green Week, and have we got an assignment for you! As many of you know, sustainability is a key university priority championed by President Carol L. Folt. The next few days will offer a terrific opportunity to gain greater awareness of the university’s efforts and to learn more about Assignment: Earth, USC’s framework for working together to create a more sustainable future.
Green Week kicks off, literally, at Saturday’s Zero Waste “Green Game,” and while our student-athletes will be working hard to win on the field, there’s a challenge for fans as well: use reusable containers, say no to single-use plastics, and sort trash into the proper bins. Check out this video President Folt shared ahead of this week’s game.
Many more Green Week activities are planned. From simply refilling your water bottle at a campus hydration station, to getting your hands dirty at the USC Peace Garden or creating a sustainable masterpiece at the USC Arts and Climate Collective workshop, all can embrace Assignment: Earth and earth-friendly behavioral changes that will lead us to our goals. Check out the breadth of events on offer here.
Since the launch of Assignment: Earth last April, departments across the university have made tremendous progress towards achieving our goals – including climate neutrality by 2025, zero waste by 2028, reducing water use by 20 percent, adding 10 new sustainability courses each year, and doubling sustainability research by 2028. And it gives me great pleasure to share with you a few highlights of our most recent progress.
- A new postdoctoral fellowship program has launched and will accelerate sustainability research, train future leaders and support discovery and implementation of innovative solutions to sustainability problems.
- The Sustainability Data Hub is live and providing campus-related geo-spatial data sets to incorporate into sustainability experiential learning.
- Over 10 percent of micro-seminars offered to first-year students were sustainability-themed and received “thumbs up” reviews.
- USC will purchase renewable energy credits to cover 25 percent of its electricity from solar-generated power under a new agreement with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP).
- USC has avoided purchasing over a half million plastic beverage bottles since implementing the Single Use Plastic Beverage Bottle Elimination Policy on July 1.
Equity and Inclusion
- Through the LADWP’s Clean Energy Adder program, USC will make renewable energy more accessible and affordable to multifamily housing residents, including those living around our campuses.
- USC researchers have advanced to phase three of the Urban Trees Initiative, identifying places in East and South Los Angeles where trees can provide cooling shade and improve air quality and health.
- More opportunities than ever exist to “take action” on sustainability. Students can join the Arts and Climate Collective, participate in the new USC Annenberg Media Earth Desk , and explore over 30 curricular and extracurricular organizations, fellowships, and internship opportunities.
I hope you’ll take the opportunity to participate in Green Week and learn more about Assignment: Earth and the efforts we’re taking to combat climate change, restore our planet, and create a more sustainable future.
Sustainability is a big assignment for all of us, but as President Folt has said, “we’re all in this assignment, together” and working together, I know we can achieve and exceed our goals.
Chief Sustainability Officer