Office of Sustainability staff and students

Mick Dalrymple

Chief Sustainability Officer

Michael “Mick” Dalrymple brings to USC over 30 years of multi-disciplinary experience in sustainability leadership, higher education, information technology, and media. He previously served as the director of university sustainability practices at Arizona State University, developing the internal consulting service to empower the university in attaining ambitious sustainability goals, including achieving carbon neutrality in 2019 – six years ahead of schedule.

Dalrymple connects stakeholders and experts in developing integrated solutions to complex environmental, social and economic challenges and opportunities. His previous work includes formulating and executing projects that joined expert faculty researchers and students with stakeholders from various sectors (government, industry, and/or non-governmental organizations) to create domestic and international solutions related to algal biofuels, green schools, energy benchmarking, municipal tree and shade master plans, aquifer sustainability, and circular economy. Dalrymple also managed a federally-funded project for ASU with partners in the City of Phoenix and Arizona Public Service to retrofit as much of downtown Phoenix as possible for energy efficiency.

As an entrepreneur, Dalrymple co-founded an environmental building supply company and a green building architecture and consulting services firm. He is a produced feature film screenwriter with an extensive film and advertising production background. Aim high and implement.


Ellen Dux

Office of Sustainability Associate Director

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

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.


Erin Jebavy

Marketing Specialist

Erin leads the marketing efforts of the Office of Sustainability, including the e-newsletter, website, digital and print collateral, and social media to inform USC students, faculty, staff, and alumni, and effect large-scale change in sustainability practices in the USC community.

She comes to the Office of Sustainability from the USC Career Center, where she oversaw the department’s events and publicity campaigns. Prior to the Career Center, Erin worked at the USC Alumni Association in various roles supporting regional alumni engagement.

Erin holds a B.S in Communication Studies from New York University and an M.A. in Communication Management from the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at USC.


Elias Platte-Bermeo

Sustainability Program Specialist

Elias joined the Office of Sustainability in July, 2019. As a recent college graduate, he brings an understanding of the obstacles and opportunities in advancing sustainability on a college campus. 

While in school, Elias worked for UCLA’s Housing Sustainability Manager to promote sustainability in Housing and Dining operations and to coordinate engagement efforts with residents. Elias served as the co-director and course instructor of UCLA’s Sustainability Action Research, a program that pairs groups of undergraduates with campus stakeholders to find innovative opportunities to further sustainability across the university. He designed and directed seven student projects working in areas like waste, transportation, food justice, and campus resilience.

Off campus, Elias has worked for the City of Palo Alto’s Community Services Department, where he analyzed city policies and programs to inform recommendations aimed at increasing the equity and efficiency of community programs. He also worked for Pacific Gas & Electric Company’s Land and Environmental Management team where he supported the Air Quality, Water Quality, and Hazardous Materials teams and tracked statewide regulations to ensure facility compliance. 

Elias holds a B.A. in Geography/Environmental Studies with a minor in Public Affairs from UCLA. 


Office of Sustainability Student Staff

Interested in joining the Office of Sustainability team as a student worker? Reach out to us at

Alyssa Caravas

Alyssa is an undergraduate in her fourth year. She is pursuing a B.S. in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Sustainability and a minor in East Asian Languages and Culture. Her work with the Office of Sustainability centered on USC’s pioneer AASHE STARS report. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a career in sustainability within some level of government or academic institution.


William Higbie

William was born in San Francisco, California and moved to Detroit, Michigan when he was ten. Filmmaking and caring for the environment have always been two key parts of his identity. He loves film because it can create empathy, and offer a window into someone else’s reality. Currently a junior at USC, he’s focused his education on understanding what equitable and inclusive storytelling looks like through studying cinematic history and American history. His passions for politics, the climate crisis, and criminal justice reform are at the root of many of his new projects.


Taysia Meas-Legaspi

Taysia recently graduated with a double major in Business Administration and Media & Cultural Studies. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Public Relations & Advertising at USC Annenberg. In her free time, she enjoys going to the beach, reading, and creating content. Social Media and Sustainability are two of her biggest passions. After graduating from USC, she hopes to continue her career in both fields.

Alexa Weintraub

Alexa was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts and is a fourth year undergraduate pursuing a B.S. in GeoDesign. She loves the multidisciplinary approach to learning about the built environment through geographic information system (GIS), urban planning, architecture, and sustainability. She worked with the Office of Sustainability on USC’s first STARS report and continues to put her GIS skills to use by helping develop a sustainability map for USC. Alexa loves finding ways to incorporate sustainability into the built environment and everyday life and hopes to pursue a career where she can do so.


Campus Sustainability Partners

Zelinda Welch

Energy Manager, Facilities Management Services

As the Energy Manager at USC, Zelinda directs the implementation of the City of LA Existing Building Energy and Water Efficiency Program, tracks Green House Gas (GHG) emissions from the building portfolio, and acts as the point of contact for the utilities.

Zelinda comes to the Sustainability Team with ten years of experience in energy efficiency and renewable energy.  Prior to joining USC, she worked as a Program Manager at Partner Energy, an energy efficiency and sustainability consulting firm, where she oversaw large-scale commercial and residential energy audits, retro-commissioning, and sustainability projects.  Additionally, she worked on both commercial and utility-scale solar projects and initiatives and has run utility-funded programs such as SCE, SCG, and SDG&E’s Continuous Energy Improvement Program, which helped companies building long-term strategic energy plans.

Zelinda holds a B.A. in International and Intercultural Studies from Pitzer College, a member of the Claremont Colleges, and an M.B.A from the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business.


Nichelle Mitchell-Huizar

Sustainability Administrator, Auxiliary Services

Nichelle comes to the Sustainability Operations/Programs Administrator position with a 20-year background in University Finance, Operations, and Logistics. She partners with all Auxiliary Services business units on sustainability programming, engagement, and communications. These units include the USC Bookstores, USC Hospitality, USC Transportation, USC Housing, USC Hotel, and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. In this role, Nichelle’s primary focus is to assist the units with their economic, environmental, and social efficiencies regarding sustainability.


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.


Daniel Mazmanian

Chair, Presidential Working Group on Sustainable Education, Research, and Operations

Daniel A. Mazmanian is a professor at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy. He served as the school’s Ione L. Piper Dean and Professor from 2000-2005. Before coming to USC, he served as dean of the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan. He has been a member of the Board of Trustees of the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation since 1994.

Professor Mazmanian is a widely published scholar in the field of policy implementation and environmental policy. His current research focuses on climate change policy. He is recipient of the Aaron Wildavsky Enduring Contribution Award from the American Political Science Association and the Thomas R. Dye Service Award from the Policy Studies Organization

He now serves as the chair of USC’s Presidential Working Group on Sustainable Education, Research, and Operations, a collaborative effort to develop a comprehensive, university-wide approach to sustainability.


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 (2016 and 2017), and was honored with the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Green Leadership award in 2019. The Coliseum operations team partners with the USC Office of Sustainability, Republic Services, Legends Concessions, Marsden Custodial Services, Athens Waste Management, BASF, and Fox Sports to run USC’s first zero waste program, and has diverted almost 800 tons of waste from local landfill since 2015.