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

STARS v2.2

University of Southern California
PRE-2: Points of Distinction

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

Name of the institution’s featured sustainability program, initiative, or accomplishment:
The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum’s Zero Waste Program.

A brief description of the institution’s featured program, initiative, or accomplishment:

Starting in 2015, Coliseum Operations staff partnered with USC’s Office of Sustainability and USC Athletics to establish the venue’s Zero Waste Program. The goal was to achieve a 90% or higher diversion rate for all games played at the stadium, including all USC Trojan home football games, as well as the Los Angeles Rams NFL team home games (2016-2019).

Working with the venue’s janitorial and custodial staff, waste hauler, and concessionaires, USC has been able to establish a nearly closed-loop system addressing:
- Upstream product manufacturing through the establishment of strict sustainable purchasing policies
- Strict on-site material handling through ample waste bin infrastructure and educational signage, as well as a behind-the-scenes hand sorting operation.
- Downstream waste processing through waste hauler composting and sorted recycling services, as well as third party vendor material repurposing, such as used cooking grease collection for conversion to biofuels, and leftover food donations to local food banks.

In 2017 the Coliseum was able to reach an average diversion rate of at least 90%, and has since continued to operate as a zero waste facility for game days, diverting more than 1,000 tons of waste from landfill since the program’s inception.

The Zero Waste Program stands out as an example of how USC has used sports programming as a tool to advance sustainability, helping to integrate sustainable policy and environmental responsibility into the culture of the university. Operationally, the Zero Waste Program has not only resulted in numerous awards and accolades from the County and third party environmental organizations, but has also become a focal point for university sustainability, allowing engagement with hundreds of thousands of attendees, and setting an example for sports venues and our fellow universities; the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is the largest stadium in the Pac-12 and second-largest college stadium to achieve zero waste.

Games played at the Coliseum have been used as an educational platform to champion sustainability and raise eco-consciousness, while creating an expectation of green practices for the hundreds of thousands of USC staff, students and general public (around 50,000 attendees per game), who then become advocates themselves promoting zero waste and prioritizing sustainability on and off campus.

Which of the following impact areas does the featured program, initiative, or accomplishment most closely relate to?:
Campus Engagement
Public Engagement

Website URL where more information about the accomplishment may be found:
STARS credit in which the featured program, initiative, or accomplishment is reported (if applicable):
IN-16: Green Athletics

A photograph or document associated with the featured program, initiative, or accomplishment:
Name of a second highlighted sustainability program/initiative/accomplishment:
USC Center for Sustainability Solutions

A brief description of the second program/initiative/accomplishment:

The USC Center for Sustainability Solutions develops policy, technological, and behavioral solutions to the most pressing sustainability problems of the Southern California region and the world. It brings together scholars and stakeholders from sustainability organizations to collaborate on basic and applied research aimed at making a real-world impact in specific urban contexts, and contributes to the advancement of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals and the grand challenges for engineering. Research focus areas include CO2 reduction and climate adaptation, as well as sustainable energy, transportation, water and agricultural systems.

Which impact areas does the second program/initiative/accomplishment most closely relate to?:

Website URL where more information about the second program/initiative/accomplishment may be found:
STARS credit in which the second program/initiative/accomplishment is reported (if applicable):
AC-10: Support for Sustainability Research

A photograph or document associated with the second program/initiative/accomplishment:

Name of a third highlighted program/initiative/accomplishment:
USC Urban Trees Initiative

A brief description of the third program/initiative/accomplishment:

Extreme heat from climate change is a growing concern in Los Angeles. Current predictions suggest that by 2060 the city will see temperatures of 95 degrees Fahrenheit or higher 40 days per year. With higher temperatures come greater risks to human health.

Urban trees, and the shade that they offer, can improve people’s health and well-being. Trees help to reduce risks such as heat stroke, heart attacks, and breathing problems caused by air pollution and excessive heat.

The USC Urban Trees Initiative partners USC experts and students with the City of Los Angeles to guide the growth of an urban forest of shade trees that benefit the health and quality of life for local communities. Phase one of the initiative focused on a 5-square-mile area near USC’s Health Science Campus. Phase two will expand the geographic scope to other neighborhoods of Los Angeles in greatest need.

Using advanced mapping technology, air quality measurements and landscape architecture expertise, the project explores where, how many, and what type of new trees could be added to these neighborhoods to optimize the benefits of urban trees. Working with local community organizations and leaders, the USC Urban Trees Initiative combines scientific analysis with social priorities defined by the needs and preferences of L.A. residents.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQXSOHPXRAw
Executive Summary: https://publicexchange.usc.edu/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Urban-Trees-Initiative-Executive-Summary.pdf

Which impact areas does the third program/initiative/accomplishment most closely relate to?:
Public Engagement
Air & Climate

Website URL where more information about the third program/initiative/accomplishment may be found:
STARS credit in which the third program/initiative/accomplishment is reported (if applicable):
EN-10: Community Partnerships

A photograph or document associated with the third program/initiative/accomplishment:
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.