Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 58.21
Liaison Julie Hopper
Submission Date July 29, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of Southern California
EN-3: Student Life

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Elias Platte-Bermeo
Sustainability Program Assistant
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have an active student group focused on sustainability?:

Name and a brief description of the active student groups focused on sustainability:

The University of Southern California offers a variety of clubs and organizations as extracurriculars with emphasis upon sustainability topics and goals:

Environmental Student Assembly (ESA) is the most prominent student sustainability organization at USC. Its mission is anchored in three goals: engaging, informing, and empowering students. ESA is actively engaged in environmental education and activism, and often partners with USC's Office of Sustainability and Undergraduate Student Government to host events, raise awareness of sustainability challenges, and empower students to push for change. ESA oversees numerous other sustainability-focused groups through its organization membership structure.

DivestSC is a coalition of students working to green the university’s endowment. The organization believes that divestment and reinvestment are a prime opportunity for USC to actively confront the dangerous realities of a changing climate while simultaneously accelerating the growth of its endowment.

USC Food Recovery Network is an organization dedicated to reducing food waste and addressing food insecurity among students on campus. They hope to create a coalition of all existing organizations that aim to improve the quality of life for all students. FRN partners with businesses on or near campus to recover food and redistribute it to the community.

USC Institute of Transportation Engineers is a student organization rooted in the interdisciplinary interest of the broad field of transportation. As a collective of undergraduate and graduate students they dive deep into the complexities of the everyday movement of humans and goods utilizing novel engineering, environmental, planning, political, and sociological perspectives. Exploring the future of transportation, student members formulate strong connections to experienced faculty, alumni, and professionals who seamlessly connect the organization to the professional world. USC ITE organizes a wide array of conferences, summits, fun field excursions, seminars, thematic speaker series, and design challenges ultimately providing a network of colleagues and out of class experiential learning opportunities.

Wrigley Ambassadors is a program run through USC’s Catalina Island Research Institute. The goal of this program is to develop sustainability-minded students across varying fields of study. Through this group, students learn to properly educate and lead initiatives in regard to environmental issues which are important to them personally and to society. It is one of USC’s many ways of engaging with environmental issues through the Wrigley Institute.

The Sustainability Project is USC’s only business club with a focus on sustainability. Its mission is to create business-minded students who are equally aware of their responsibilities to the environment. For this club, encouraging green policies and business models begins with engaging with these topics relative to the university.

The Environmental Community Organization for Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Sustainability (ECO JEDIS) is a student group focused on environmental justice issues. This group focuses on understanding local issues, raising awareness within the student body and the general public, and creating networking opportunities.

Marshall Energy Club is a business club with an emphasis on clean and sustainable energy and technology. The club’s intent is to engage students with clean energy through business concentrations such as finance, consulting, and project development.

Blueprints for Pangea is a nonprofit organization led by students to reduce the waste of excess medical supplies. At USC, unused medical supplies are redirected through this organization to healthcare facilities, both locally and abroad. This program ensures excess medical supplies are utilized rather than thrown away. The organization’s mission stimulates more efficient practices within the medical field while touching upon the three pillars of sustainability.

Mash Magazine is a student publication centered on the business of fashion. The group focuses on a variety of issues concerning fashion, including the sustainability and ethics of the fashion industry.

International Student Environmental Coalition at USC is a student branch focused on engaging students in grassroots climate change action. Through activism and education, this club’s mission is to encourage individual action and work towards a more sustainable future.

EcoBright is a student group which visits nearby K-12 schools to educate students about global environmental issues. The club emphasizes the importance of environmental sustainability to students and encourages the next generation to be stewards of the environment.

AIESEC is a youth-run nonprofit with a cohort at USC. This group provides students with the opportunity to participate in the UN’s efforts to reach its 2030 sustainability goals through volunteer positions, internships, and networking opportunities.

Environmental Justice Student Interest Group places its focus upon environmental justice issues and their intersectionality with public health issues. It is run by USC’s Keck School of Medicine and engages future physicians with systems of environmental inequities.

Environmental & Energy Law Society is a group intended for pre-law students who are interested in pursuing a career in environmental or energy law. The group utilizes networking and activities to explore these subjects along with related legal topics.

American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists has a chapter at USC composed of students pursuing careers in environmental engineering and sciences. Students utilize this group to connect with their peers and faculty with similar professional aspirations and experience. Students are engaged with sustainability issues through events, workshops and career exploration which allow them to become well-versed in subject matters of this field.

Conscientious Living Organization–Veganism, Environmentalism, Reducetarianism (CLOVER) is a student group with the focus of appreciating and encouraging a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle for USC students. The club focuses on sustainable efforts inspired by veganism, environmentalism and reducetarianism. Students are encouraged to engage with these causes through events hosted by the Conscientious Living Organization.

American Society of Civil Engineers is a club dedicated to connecting civil and environmental engineers. Teams are created for design, social and professional elements of the field to allow students to gain experience with the engineering field.

SC Underwater is a group with a mission to encourage students’ participation with diving, scuba, and marine education. The club also allows USC students to provide K-12 students with a marine education through USC’s Joint Education Program.

Solar Car Team is a student group that participates in solar-powered vehicle racing competitions. The sustainably-driven student engineer team designs a full-size solar vehicle to enter into the Formula Sun Grand Prix and American Solar Challenge.

Science Policy Group at USC is part of the national organization of the same name which hopes to educate and advocate for science policy efforts. Through a wide variety of events, the club discusses various issues in science, including environmental challenges and potential sustainability solutions.

Trees by Trojans is a student volunteer group which plants trees in urban environments lacking appropriate green infrastructure. The mission of this group is to create green equity surrounding USC in communities which would benefit from better tree coverage.

Citizens Climate Lobby branch at USC focuses on education and engaging students with proposed climate policy through various styles of informative events. This group provides students with the opportunity to engage with environmental issues in a professional context in which they create connections through this national organization.

SC Surfrider is a club focused on the preservation of the world’s oceans. Its goal is to unite students at USC who are passionate about the ocean to protect its integrity through participation in international activism.

Environmental Core is a student activism group with the intent to create accountability within USC. The group emphasizes the importance of sustainability initiatives and practices on campus for students, faculty, staff, alumni and the community.

For more information on these opportunities, visit https://green.usc.edu/students/

Does the institution have a garden, farm, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery program, or an urban agriculture project where students are able to gain experience in organic agriculture and sustainable food systems?:

A brief description of the gardens, farms, community supported agriculture (CSA) or fishery programs, and/or urban agriculture projects:

Urban Garden is a project created through the partnership between the USC Office of Sustainability and Urban Farming, a non-profit organization. It is located within residential land owned by USC on Shrine Place and is open to the students, staff, faculty, and neighbors. Chemical fertilizers and pesticides are not permitted in the garden.

Parkside Garden is located within one of USC’s residential communities on campus and is managed by USC Garden Club. It features a full scale aquaponics system, several urban growing systems, three vermiculture worm composting systems, two additional food-scrap composting systems and fully automated drip irrigation. The garden intakes scraps from students, staff, and campus offices and is fully organic.

More information: https://green.usc.edu/get-involved/urban-garden/

Does the institution have a student-run enterprise that includes sustainability as part of its mission statement or stated purpose?:

A brief description of the student-run enterprises:

Bloom Boutique is a student run business for second-hand clothing. The student group’s primary goal is to eliminate fast fashion at the university-level and create a more sustainable relationship between students and their clothing. Any generated profit is donated to local charitable organizations.

More information: https://bloomboutiquela.org/mission-1

Does the institution have a sustainable investment fund, green revolving fund, or sustainable microfinance initiative through which students can develop socially, environmentally and fiscally responsible investment and financial skills?:

A brief description of the sustainable investment funds, green revolving funds or sustainable microfinance initiatives:

The Green Engagement Fund was created by USC’s Environmental Student Assembly, Graduate Student Government, Sustainability Office, and Undergraduate Student Government. It is a fund solely dedicated to financing student sustainability projects. The fund was created with hopes of also highlighting the importance of environmental stewardship through these initiatives. Its most recent update states the fund currently holds an estimated $24,000 for such projects with hopes to increase the size of its budget in the coming years.

The fund allows students the opportunity to imagine, design, and implement their sustainability projects, while at the same time allowing them to gain valuable experience applying for and handling grant money.

For more information, visit https://uscgef.wordpress.com/

Has the institution hosted a conference, speaker series, symposium, or similar event focused on sustainability during the previous three years that had students as the intended audience?:

A brief description of the conferences, speaker series, symposia, or similar events focused on sustainability:

Wrigley Institute Webinar Series is composed of many professional voices from USC Catalina Research Center. The series addressed topics including waste, wildfires, ocean pollution, conservation, and inclusivity. Utilizing research and the insight of environmental scholars, this sustainability series engages students and faculty with important environmental questions.

The Climate Forward Conference was a multi-day event hosted by the USC Dornsife Center for the Political Future, Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies, and GROW Annenberg. The conference featured USC professors, local and national political figures, and science and policy experts coming together to discuss issues like climate justice, overcoming political opposition to climate policy, and much more.
More information: https://dornsife-center-for-political-future.usc.edu/news/climate-forward-2021/

Has the institution hosted a cultural arts event, installation, or performance focused on sustainability with the previous three years that had students as the intended audience?:

A brief description of the cultural arts events, installations, or performances focused on sustainability:

USC's Office of Sustainability partnered with USC Arts in Action to develop the USC Arts and Climate Collective which awards funding to student arts and media projects that address sustainability, climate change, and environmental justice. Coinciding with Earth Day 2021, students received up to $1500 to create an art installation or other media project.

For more information, visit https://artsinaction.usc.edu/take-action/

Does the institution have a wilderness or outdoors program that follow Leave No Trace principles?:

A brief description of the wilderness or outdoors programs that follow Leave No Trace principles:

Peaks and Professor is a student-led organization that aims to unite USC’s top professors and students in the great outdoors by organizing outdoor adventures in the California wilderness, with a variety of activities ranging from day hikes to multiple-day backpacking trips. The organization's mission and activities all align with the Leave No Trace principles.

SC Outfitters is USC’s 100% student-run outdoor adventure organization. Our mission is to foster a diverse and inclusive outdoor community, while connecting as many students as possible with the wilderness of Southern California, the West, and beyond. The organization welcomes all levels of experience to join in its hiking activities. The organization follows Leave No Trace principles.

For more information, visit
Peaks and Professors: https://www.peaksandprofessors.org/
SC Outfitters: https://www.scoutfitters.org/

Has the institution had a sustainability-focused theme chosen for a themed semester, year, or first-year experience during the previous three years?:

A brief description of the sustainability-focused themes chosen for themed semesters, years, or first-year experiences:

Does the institution have a program through which students can learn sustainable life skills?:

A brief description of the programs through which students can learn sustainable life skills:

Nemirovsky Residential College is a community created for students within university housing to live amongst like-minded individuals in the pursuit of a more sustainable future. The community is focused on educating students on the three pillars of sustainability: environment, economy, and society. Students develop leadership skills to respond to environmental concerns and are encouraged to reduce their consumption of resources. These residential goals allow for the growth of sustainability leaders within USC’s student body.

For more information, visit:

Does the institution offer sustainability-focused student employment opportunities?:

A brief description of the sustainability-focused student employment opportunities offered by the institution:

The Trojan Trash Talkers are a group of student workers responsible for educating the campus community on the importance of waste diversion. These student employees are on site for select zero-waste football gameday tailgating events to facilitate proper waste sorting and answer questions about waste, recycling, and campus sustainability initiatives. In 2019, this initiative employed over 40 undergraduate and graduate students, including one grad student who assisted the Office of Sustainability with overseeing the program as a manager.

In Fall 2019 and Spring 2020, a graduate student conducted paid work with the Office of Sustainability supporting engagement initiatives with staff and students.

USC undergraduate students and PhD candidate conducted paid work with the Office of Sustainability over the course of several months to assist with completion of this STARS report.

The USC Presidential Working Group on Sustainability in Research, Education and Operations employs a PhD candidate to assist faculty on the working group with research, peer benchmarking and administrative tasks.

A USC undergraduate student began working with the Office of Sustainability in 2021 to assess the campus media landscape and strategize how best to tackle sustainability education and engagement through existing channels.

Does the institution have a graduation pledge through which students pledge to consider social and environmental responsibility in future job and other decisions?:

A brief description of the graduation pledge(s):

A brief description of other co-curricular sustainability programs and initiatives that do not fall into one of the above categories:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.