Letters to the editor

USC needs eco-initiative

When it comes to energy legislation, USC is a microcosm of the United States government. The administration spends money on programs, develop networks and associations, as we seemingly promote “sustainable behavior.”

It’s time we stop flirting with commitment and take the plunge. I came to USC for its excellence in academics, athletics and philanthropy. I was thrilled to discover USC’s new Green Technologies program in the Viterbi School of Engineering; however, I felt less than thrilled, filled with confusion and mildly betrayed when I left the Tuesday’s “Beyond Coal” student initiative meeting because I discovered that USC meets 40 percent of its electricity needs with coal.

The Massey Energy disaster earlier this year resulting in the deaths of Virginian coal miners and miners currently trapped in Chile are only two visible examples of the horrors of coal production. Most of its negative implications, however, go unseen, felt only in our lungs and by our atmosphere.

Students across the country are pushing their campuses to join the quest for renewable energy use. USC is absolutely talking the talk: the Green Technologies program, the Energy Institute and the Student Energy Network are a few of many efforts being made around campus, but removing our dependence on coal seems like an obvious step to take if we hope to make any claims at being green.

Viterbi is ranked 10th and USC 24th, according to U.S. News & World Reports. Someone please then tell me why with our resources and reputation we didn’t even make the Sierra Clubs recent “Top 100 Green Schools” rankings?

Considering Los Angeles has the worst air pollution of any city in the world, it seems too obvious for us to want to strive for cleaner sources of energy to accommodate the vast number of cars on our highways.

Let us take the stage, pledge our commitment to cleaner air and represent Los Angeles and this university as the rapidly evolving and entities and leaders that they are, rather than continuing on our usual path, similar to the path of the U.S. government, sitting back and watching the world pass us by.

Ariel Wright

Graduate student, green technologies

Student cyclists deserve more respect

One of my students brought to my attention the article in Sept. 21 issue, “Student group hopes to keep bikes on campus.” I think USC has a beautiful campus — my husband and three children are alumni, and prior to my working on campus, I had been “hanging around” since 1970. I recently re-watched my husband’s graduation ceremony in the ’60s and I noticed the remarkable changes in landscaping and pedestrian areas. However, what makes a university is people, and specifically students. Bikes are a necessity for them, especially those who live blocks away from campus.

I was recently frustrated when I could not sit on a bench because a bike was cabled and locked to the bench. But I just went somewhere else to sit. I didn’t let it ruin my day. Unlike “alumni” and “donors,” I am on campus five days a week during critical mass times, and bikes are just a fact of campus life. I am sure those same “alumni” and “donors” had the use of bikes when they were students. Would they prefer a campus empty of bikes/people to achieve aesthetics?

There is a dearth of parking for bikes, especially around the campus center in the middle of the day, but it isn’t the students’ fault. It was very poor planning on the part of the people who designed the new campus center based solely on esthetics. In minimizing function, they did not take into consideration that bikes are the mode of transportation on campus, and that  is their fault, not the students. Ergo, USC should do everything in its power to address the lack of spaces to park bikes.

When higher powered alumni and donors come to campus, ask them to park on 28th Street and walk to campus carrying 40 pounds of books, then see how they feel about using a bike. USC should consider taking one of those parking lots and making it a bike parking lot. We are fortunate to have these students attend USC. Please treat them as future alumni.

Linda Ramos

Administrative Assistant, Levanthal School of Accounting

1 reply
  1. Joe
    Joe says:

    I agree with Ariel on the need for cleaner energy. Even backwards countries like Iran and North Korea have nuclear power plants… so why don’t we? If USC would build a nuclear reactor, it’d be a great resource for our engineering students to develop the energy technology of the future, as well as powering the campus and the surrounding community.

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