Sustainability 2020 Plan

Sustainability 2020 provides achievable goals with practical objectives. The Sustainability Steering Committee, consisting of faculty, staff, and students from across the university, has determined these goals based on a thorough evaluation of USC’s vision and abilities.

Topic-specific subcommittees have met to discuss baselines and case studies from within USC, as well as best practices employed at comparable peer institutions from around the country. Tailored to the specific circumstances of the university, the plan considers data and trend lines collected by those working on the frontlines of USC’s sustainability initiative.

This plan has been further informed by the nationally recognized Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS), a program of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. Comparing ourselves to peer institutions within the STARS system, such as Stanford, UCLA, Cornell, Harvard, and UC Berkeley, we have engaged students, staff, faculty, and other university stakeholders to assess our current sustainability profile, and to develop a strategy plan proposal for the next five years.

Sustainability 2020 is organized around seven areas: education and research, community engagement, energy conservation and greenhouse gas mitigation, sustainable transportation, sustainable procurement, waste diversion, and water conservation. Comprehensive research on best practices related to these areas has determined a variety of potential actions through which goals may be achieved. Research by the Steering Committee has also identified several ongoing university initiatives already aimed at improving sustainability.

This plan guides USC to a university-wide foundation of environmentally conscious development and is a significant step forward on the journey towards a more sustainable future. The opportunities and successes that stem from this plan will benefit future, long-term sustainability plan.