The 2020 Plan Engagement Initiative calls for educating Trojans about campus sustainability issues, including:

  • Raising awareness about current sustainability practices
  • Increasing participation in sustainable activities
  • Promoting sustainable behavior change
  • Connecting USC with sustainability planning in the broader community

The Office of Sustainability is charged with overseeing efforts to achieve these goals. Additionally, the Office of Sustainability supports the six other 2020 Plan Initiatives by partnering on outreach and engagement efforts that target each Initiative’s goals. In 2019, the Office of Sustainability team grew from two to four full-time
employees, enabling the department to increase campus-wide messaging
about sustainability.


Engagement Initiatives

New Student Orientation 

Participation in USC summer and winter orientation and new employee onboarding events allows the Office of Sustainability to educate all incoming undergraduate students, transfer students and nonacademic staff on the university’s sustainability initiatives.


The Office of Sustainability has conducted USC’s first Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) report to measure and manage sustainability progress. Through the reporting process, departments across the university were engaged and educated on their role in building a greener USC.

Little Green Guide

The Little Green Guide to Living Sustainably at USC was developed for incoming students attending summer 2020 New Student Orientation. The Guide offers easy tips for how all Trojans can incorporate sustainability into their daily lives. See the full guide with links to other sustainability resources HERE.

Sustainability Forums 

The semi-annual USC Sustainability Forums are an important component of campus sustainability engagement. Co-hosted by the USC Environmental Student Assembly and the Office of Sustainability, the Forums provide an opportunity for the USC community to learn about various aspects of campus sustainability, and share information and concerns. The Spring 2020 Forum was held virtually via Zoom and was attended by over 80 students staff, and faculty, including special guest President Carol Folt!

Presentations and media coverage of the 2020 Spring Sustainability Forum below:

The Fall 2019 Forum was attended by over 100 students, staff, and faculty, and speakers touched on student government initiatives, campus waste diversion and energy conservation efforts, and updates on the 2020 Sustainability Plan and 2028 Planning efforts.

Presentations and Daily Trojan coverage of the 2019 Fall Sustainability Forum below:

“Our Future is Sustainable” Multi-platform Media Campaign

The Office of Sustainability launched this campaign in the Daily Trojan orientation issue in August 2019. It highlights steps USC is taking to advance sustainability on campus, and how all Trojans can make small behavior changes that have a big environmental impact. Executions are running throughout the 2019-2020 academic year in the Daily Trojan, and on digital screens and other media platforms across campus as follows:

  • 20 Housing and two Residential Restaurant locations
  • USC Bookstore
  • 12 ITS screens: KOH and WPH Computing Centers (two screens each), Leavey library (four screens), and Taper Hall (four screens)
  • 11 FMS screens: Norman Topping Tower, and the FPM, ZMT, VBB, CDF, and ADM buildings
  • Four Student Affairs screens: Sample Hall concierge desk, entrance column, 1stfloor elevator landing, and 4th floor elevator landing; and TCC Plaza (near Seeds exit)
  • Our Future is Sustainable Orientation Issue 

Building on the fall 2019 Daily Trojan ad campaign theme “Our Future is Sustainable,” the Office of Sustainability created a series of illustrated characters who demonstrate what USC is doing – and what all Trojans can do – to advance our campus sustainability goals for energy, water, waste, and transportation. The multi-platform ad campaign will run throughout the spring 2020 on USC buses + bus shelters (UPC 34th Street), weekly in the Daily Trojan, and on 50+ digital screens around campus.


Sustainability Pledge Door Hanger

In partnership with USG, USC Auxiliary Services, and the USC Bookstore, the Office of Sustainability developed a sustainability pledge that encourages Trojans to make small behavior changes that add up to a large environmental impact. By taking the pledge, students commit to making changes in how they shop, commute, use water and electricity, and more.

Trojan Trash Talkers 

For the past several USC football seasons, the Office of Sustainability has engaged passionate students in efforts to reduce landfill waste from campus game-day tailgates.

Each game-day tailgate generally produces between 5 to 10 TONS of landfill waste, leaving much room for improvement. In 2019, the Office of Sustainability and FMS partnered with several ticketed, enclosed tailgates to help them go zero waste. Teams of student “Trojan Trash Talkers” were deployed to various tailgates to educate attendees about how to properly sort their compostables and recyclables, and broadly discuss USC’s sustainability efforts. This initiative served to divert thousands of pounds of waste from landfills and educate the campus community about waste reduction.

See here for data from the 2019 football season game-day tailgates

Exposition Park Beautification

In March 2019, the USC Office of Sustainability partnered with the California Science Center and Republic Services to host the inaugural “Team up to Clean Up Expo Park.” This collaborative venture provided Expo Park neighbors with the chance to volunteer to tidy up our shared community green space. USC FMS and Waxie Sanitary Supplies provided support for the event.

“Trojans Recycle Right” Campaign

In fall 2018, the Office of Sustainability worked with groups across campus to educate Trojans about waste diversion as part of our “Trojans Recycle Right” initiative. Multi-channel efforts included:

  • Between September and January, the Office of Sustainability ran a series of six Daily Trojan ads that feature waste diversion instructions, and other waste information.
  • Between November and February, the “Separate, Don’t Contaminate,” “Stop Waste Before It Starts,” and “Reduce Your Use” campaigns were featured on over 50 digital screens around campus, including:
    • 20 Housing and two Residential Restaurant locations
    • USC Bookstore
    • 12 ITS screens in the following locations: KOH and WPH Computing Centers (two screens each), Leavey library (four screens), and Taper Hall (four screens)
    • 11 FMS screens in the following locations: Norman Topping Tower and the FPM, ZMT, VBB, CDF, and ADM buildings
    • Student Affairs screens in the following five locations: Sample Hall Concierge Desk (90” screen), entrance column, 1st floor elevator landing, and 4th floor elevator landing; and TCC Plaza (near Seeds exit)


  • The Sustainability team launched the Trojan Trash Talkers (TTT) campus tailgate recycling engagement program. TTT helped tailgating guests to divert waste from local landfill.
  • We continue to support the award-winning Coliseum Zero Waste program throughout the Trojans and Rams football seasons by overseeing vendor composting and recycling compliance.

Transparency in Reporting

A critical component of Engagement work includes regularly evaluating and reporting on the university’s progress on achieving our 2020 Plan goals. USC is committed to full transparency in all aspects of its sustainability program; results of these periodic reviews are disseminated through the following outlets:

On-going Program Support and Promotion

Throughout the year, the Office of Sustainability supports and promotes the following programs:

On an ad hoc basis, the Office of Sustainability also facilitates student research projects by brokering access to key campus administrators and sustainability subject matter experts.

On-going Communications

Throughout the year, the Office of Sustainability works to  strengthen relationships within the greater university sustainability community. We facilitate information sharing among core members, including the Sustainability Steering Committee (SSC), FMS and Auxiliary Services teams, the Academic Senate Sustainability Subcommittee, the Environmental Student Assembly (ESA), student government, ENST, the Wrigley Institute, Staff Assembly, and various other faculty, staff, and student groups.

Ongoing efforts include:

  • Maintaining the sustainability website
  • Leading the Sustainability Steering Committee
  • Co-sponsoring the Fall and Spring Sustainability Forums
  • Hosting the Spring Earth Day Sustainability SCelebration
  • Overseeing vendor compliance for the LA Memorial Coliseum Zero Waste program
  • Working with USC Communications, Daily Trojan reporters, and Annenberg journalism students to craft stories for internal and external news sources
  • Disseminating outreach and engagement information via multi-platform campus media outlets
  • Speaking with faculty, staff, and students about sustainability topics as a guest lecturer
  • Enhancing relationships with key city and county sustainability partners


Planning for Sustainability 2028

Throughout the 2018-19 and 2019-2020 academic years, the Office of Sustainability has worked to bring together all campus stakeholders to develop the university’s Sustainability 2028 Plan, the critical next step in USC’s sustainable evolution. As a community, USC will continue developing the teams and tools needed to build upon the successes of the 2020 Plan, leverage lessons learned and opportunities identified, and provide the blueprint for determining and achieving our vision for 2028.

Through event programming, class presentations, and various tabling opportunities, the Office of has also used the Sustainability 2028 planning process as a tool to engage the USC community about sustainability.

See below for notes from the Sustainability Steering Committee’s 2028 Planning engagement meetings: