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

STARS v2.2

University of Southern California
IN-16: Green Athletics

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.25 / 0.50 Elias Platte-Bermeo
Sustainability Program Assistant
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution’s green athletics program include the following?:
Yes or No
Zero waste and/or carbon neutral athletic events Yes
A stadium or arena certified under a green building rating system No
A sustainable food and beverage purchasing program that includes athletic event vendors and concessions Yes
A program to minimize the sustainability impacts of turf management (e.g., by installing low input turfgrass or environmentally preferable artificial turf) Yes
A program to support more sustainable transportation options for athletic events Yes
Community engagement efforts, e.g. to educate students and fans/supporters about the institution’s sustainability initiatives Yes
An athletic team certification program No

A brief description of the institution’s green athletics program:

USC’s Green Athletics programming includes seasonal zero waste for all home football games along with an annual Green Game to specifically message and promote student and staff sustainability initiatives to all gameday attendees. A pilot Green Game was established for USC Men’s Basketball over the 2019 season, where messaging and various eco-activations helped the game achieve a 91.6% waste diversion rate, laying the groundwork for future zero waste basketball efforts. Additionally, student athlete advocates, coaches, and university administration have participated in green athletics programming and have created messaging to promote sustainability on campus and within the broader community. With large tailgating crowds, the university has also begun to develop enclosed zero waste tailgate events, where student waste ambassadors and the Office of Sustainability work with event planners, vendors, and attendees to ensure proper waste diversion. USC Athletics also partnered with Facilities Management Services and the Galen Center arena operations staff to complete a rooftop solar installation of 1500 solar photovoltaic modules that will generate 600kW of energy annually and allow the arena to receive 15% of its energy from onsite clean energy sources. This partnership also resulted in a 3,332 LED light install, and heating efficiency retrofits that will ultimately avoid 318 tons of CO2 annually at the Galen Center.

At the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, local vendors are sourced for all USC football games, and all vendors and concessionaires are subject to strict service ware, condiment, and waste disposal guidelines which include:
1) Used cooking grease/oil is to be collected and repurposed into biofuel by a third party vendor
2) All edible leftover food is to be collected and donated to local food banks
3) All service ware is to be compostable in accordance with local waste hauler guidelines and capabilities. When not able to find compostable products, then service ware must be recyclable
4) All materials are to be disposed of properly with above waste stream options available
5) Concessionaires and kitchen staff are to assess food needs in order to “right size” food cooked to eliminate food waste

The Coliseum has installed low-impact turf to the east and west back ends to reduce resource intensity and environmental impact of fields. The Coliseum collects and separates landscape-related and playing field-related turf waste for collection as green waste by the waste hauler.

Community engagement efforts have included free admission to USC's annual Green Game for local grade school students, a sustainability-themed game that promoted waste diversion, and environmental activism through engagement booths, direct messaging, games, and eco-giveaways. Additionally, the USC Beach Volleyball team has organized local beach clean-ups and volunteer events at the USC Urban garden where community members are educated about organic and sustainable gardening practices. Given USC's location in a transit-rich corridor of Los Angeles, USC athletic event attendees are encouraged to utilize public transportation and active transportation methods through social media and site-specific sustainability messaging. Additionally, the USC Beach Volleyball team developed a carpooling program during the 2014-2015 season.

In partnership with the USC Office of Sustainability, USC Athletic Director Mike Bohn signed a letter that expresses USC Athletics’ commitment to participate in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, via the United Nations Sports for Climate Action, an initiative that invites sports organizations and their stakeholders to support and help achieve global climate change goals.
The UNFCCC sets out to accomplish two objectives:
• Achieve a clear trajectory for the global sports community to combat climate change, through commitments and partnerships according to verified standards, including measuring, reducing, and reporting greenhouse gas emissions, in line with the well below 2 degree scenario enshrined in the Paris Agreement
• Use sports as a unifying tool to federate and create solidarity among global citizens for climate action

In order to accomplish the above 2 goals, the UNFCCC has identified five core guiding principles, and requires signatories to express the intent to incorporate and consider these broad goals into strategies, policies and procedures. These principles include:
1) Principle 1: Undertake systematic efforts to promote greater environmental responsibility;
2) Principle 2: Reduce overall climate impact;
3) Principle 3: Educate for climate action;
4) Principle 4: Promote sustainable and responsible consumption;
5) Principle 5: Advocate for climate action through communication.

More information on initiatives can be found here:

Website URL where information about the green athletics program is available:
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.