USC may soon take another step forward in its efforts to create a more environmentally sustainable campus.
On Thursday, the USC Academic Senate will host a forum on USC’s Sustainability Strategy 2030, building upon the Sustainability 2020 plan that passed last year while identifying new targets for the University.
The Sustainability Strategy 2030 was created by 12 subject matter experts and was reviewed by three faculty experts across campus. Undergraduate Student Government Senate voted unanimously to endorse the plan at the meeting two weeks ago, and will now move on to the next phase for approval.
In 2014, USC’s self-assessment of its sustainability practices placed it below 21 peer institutions, according to the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, an international organization that measures sustainability efforts among universities. The University then created the Sustainability 2020 plan to focus on seven main areas to improve sustainability.
According to the text of the proposal drafted by the Academic Senate Sustainability Committee Taskforce, the 2030 Plan builds off of the 2020 plan in efforts to build a more long-term vision of campus environmentalism.
“The 2020 plan is a valuable first step in coordinating our efforts,” the proposal said. “To fulfill USC’s declared ambition, we need a sustained commitment to becoming a leader in the environmental sustainability arena. This should be guided by a longer-term vision and strategy.”
Darren Ruddell, the chair of the Academic Senate Sustainability Committee, said that the plan makes sustainability a priority at USC, as it would work to increase staff sizes to work in this area.
“Right now, there’s a staff size of one to help advance sustainability at USC,” Ruddell said. “What we’re asking for is to increase that staff size to help advance sustainability at USC to help achieve some of these goals we have identified. We want to make a bigger and bolder, more ambitious plan.”
According to Sen. Noah Silver, the Sustainability Strategy 2030 will work to make USC a leader in sustainability.
“It’s a complete overhaul of the entire system,” Silver said. “It totally restructures the system and promotes sustainability in everything that USC does.”
According to Olivia Pearson, the incoming executive director of the Environmental Student Assembly, the 2030 plan not only aids USC in improving its own community, but also contributes to promoting sustainability in the surrounding Southern California region.
“One of the things that’s going to help the L.A. community is that one of the 2030 plans is to get more locally sourced food, so it’s much more sustainable within our community and promotes our local agriculture,” Pearson said.
The taskforce that developed the proposal aims to include an environmental literacy general education requirement for all USC students, develop energy efficiency standards for all new campus buildings and residences and implement annual waste audits. Ruddell said that this gives USC numerous chances to work with local partners.
“One of the domains is engagement with the community, so USC could very much be a leader in terms of conducting research [and] working with our neighborhoods,” Ruddell said. “There’s so much opportunity right now to partner with Mayor Eric Garcetti, who has been very outspoken in terms of making Los Angeles more resilient. There’s a potential for a great partnership between the city of Los Angeles and USC in terms of pursuing a more ambitious sustainability agenda.”
Yannick Matia, a member of USC’s Environmental Core and a sophomore majoring in political economy and environmental studies, said that passing the Sustainability Strategy 2030 is the first step toward transitioning USC into a fully sustainable campus.
“2030 isn’t just an end all, be all plan to bring sustainability to campus,” Matia said. “We want to expand it further and further along, so we hope to work with faculty, staff and administration in realizing the goals of [the] 2020 [plan] and [the] 2030 [plan].”
The Environmental Student Assembly and the USC Academic Senate will host a forum on the future of sustainability on campus on Thursday at noon in TCC 450.
Correction: The previous headline for this article “Academic Senate to vote on Sustainability 2030 plan” incorrectly stated the Senate will bring the proposal to a vote. The headline has now been updated to reflect the Senate hosting the forum. The Daily Trojan regrets the error.