Office of Sustainability staff and students

Ellen Dux

Office of Sustainability Programs Manager

Throughout her career in sustainability, Ellen Dux has garnered significant experience working on a broad range of renewable energy, clean power, and cleantech initiatives. Her primary focus is stakeholder engagement and communications, grant fundraising, and program development.

Most recently, Ellen worked closely with the Los Angeles County Chief Sustainability Office to help launch the Clean Power Alliance, Southern California’s new clean energy utility. She also has partnered with the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator to develop and source funding for a large-scale energy efficiency buildings retrofit program. From 2014 – 2016, Ellen worked extensively with the Viterbi School of Engineering’s Information Sciences Institute on the Department of Energy’s Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Smart Grid Regional Demonstration Project. She began her sustainability career working in utility-scale PV.

Prior to transitioning to sustainability, Ellen held a number of senior positions in the entertainment industry, including Executive Director of 20th Century Fox’s mobile content division. She also co-founded a filmed entertainment production company with musician Peter Gabriel.

Ellen holds a B.A. in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia, and an M.B.A from the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business.


Joshua Sierra

USC Office of Sustainability Program Specialist, Zero Waste Coliseum and Campus Initiatives

Josh recently joined USC’s Office of Sustainability as the Zero Waste Diversion Coordinator, working to ensure the continued success of the University’s Zero Waste initiatives at the Memorial Coliseum for Trojans and Rams games, in addition to helping to develop waste diversion strategies and programs across campus. Josh is a staunch advocate for environmental sustainability with a broad range of experience in the field,from local and state policy research and development, to the assessment and monitoring of corporate social responsibility benchmarks for private enterprise.

Most recently, Josh worked at the Walt Disney Company’s Environmental Assessment division, evaluating companywide environmental impacts and mitigation measures, and assisting in the management of Disney’s Climate Solution Fund and the company’s carbon offset investments. Prior to Disney, Josh worked for The Association of California Cities-Orange County, where he was tasked with researching, tracking, analyzing, and briefing local policy makers on emerging environmental issues and related legislation.

Josh holds an M.S. in Environmental Studies with a specialization in Sustainability from California State University Fullerton. His Master’s thesis examined waste diversion practices and strategies at large-scale venues and high attendance events.


Farris Sukkar

Sustainability Programming Specialist

Farris supports the USC Office of Sustainability with the successful integration of sustainability programming across the university.

While working with the Sustainability team, Farris also is pursuing an M.S. in Integrated Design, Business, and Technology at USC’s Iovine and Young Academy. He holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Energy Management from the University of Denver.

Before joining the Office of Sustainability, Farris worked for two years at the Energy Coalition, where he helped to implement the Southern California Regional Energy Network Public Agency program in Los Angeles County. He supported cities, counties and utilities in the implementation of energy efficiency projects, including benchmarking, data analysis, audits, design, finance, engineering, and construction.

Prior to the Energy Coalition, Farris worked in Ecova’s Utility Solutions practice for two years, helping to develop a SoCal Edison + SoCalGas strategic energy management partnership focused on empowering commercial and industrial businesses in facilitating enterprise-level transformation and developing a long-term strategic energy/water management plan.


Campus Sustainability Partners

Gina Whisenant

Waste and Recycling Manager, Facilities Management Services

Gina Whisenant has considerable experience creating and implementing waste diversion and recycling programs for large commercial operations. Formerly at Republic Services, she participated in the launch of RecycLA, Los Angeles’ new municipal trash collection and recycling program aimed at reducing waste in local landfills.

Carol Fern

Director of Energy Services, Facilities Management Services

Carol Fern is Director of Energy Services at the University of Southern California.  Prior to joining USC, she worked as an engineer at Syska Hennessy Group, the 10th largest mechanical, electrical, and  plumbing (MEP) engineering firm in the United States.  She also was Director of Comfort Systems at AZ-based ESS Engineering, a full life-cycle environmental consulting and engineering firm.

Carol obtained her M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Saskatchewan, and has been certified in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design by the US Green Buildings Council.  She brings extensive  experience in energy and building control management from both the private and public sectors. She has over twenty-five years of experience with building facility operations, mechanical and HVAC projects, and sustainable energy-focused products, services, and applications. Carol is engaged in collaborating with the environmental research community, providing information and data for analysis. In addition, she oversees the Management Information Systems Department, which provides application development and support, user education and training, accounting data, and business information management consultancy support for USC’s FMS & CCD administrators, supervisors, support staff, work crews, and the campus community.

Nichelle Mitchell-Huizar

Sustainability Program Manager, Auxiliary Services

Nichelle comes to the Sustainability Program Manager position with an extensive background in retail operations, university logistics, and supply chain management. She partners with all Auxiliary Services business units on sustainability programming, including the USC Bookstores, USC Hospitality, Radisson Hotel, USC Housing, USC Transportation, and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. In the 2018-2019 academic year, Nichelle will focus on student engagement in Housing and Hospitality, waste diversion management across all units, and sustainability-related communications.


Sustainability “Green Teams”

Zero Waste team, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is the two-time winner of the Pac-12 Sustainability award for a zero waste sports venue. Coliseum Program Director Brian Grant,  and Jeffrey Farrell, the Assistant Director of Facility Operations, partnered with former USC Sustainability Manager Halli Bovia, Waste Program Specialist Daniel Redick, Legends Concessions, Marsden Custodial Services, Athens Waste Management, BASF, and Fox Sports to create USC’s first zero waste program, diverting over 260 tons of waste from local  landfills during the 2017 football season.

Zero Waste team, USC Hospitality

Capitalizing on the success of the Coliseum’s award-winning zero waste program, Erik Russell, USC Hospitality’s Associate Director for Residential Dining formed a strategic planning coalition with USC’s Undergraduate Senate Government, Environmental Student Assembly, Environmental Core, Facilities Management, Office of Residential Education, and the Office of Sustainability to go “zero waste” by 2020.  The team’s first accomplishment will be to eliminate straws from Residential Dining facilities in the fall 2018 semester. Prior to this initiative, this USC Residential Dining went “tray-less” in 2012.