Office of Sustainability launches Earth Week

Monday marks the beginning of USC Earth Week, a weeklong event sponsored by the Office of Sustainability to raise awareness about the environment leading up to Earth Day on April 22.

“The focus of Earth Week this year is to engage people and enable them,” said Sustainability Program Manager Halli Bovia. “We’re trying to not only get them engaged and interested in talking about the topics, but give them the tools to enact change in their personal lives and maybe on campus, as well as the region and maybe the world.”

Events include a clothing swap, yoga in the park, a film screening and One World Café, a forum on sustainability.

Sydney Morical, a senior majoring in environmental studies and gender studies who coordinated Earth Week, said she wants the weeklong celebration to facilitate dialogue on sustainability.

“The intention behind the week is not to dump more programming on an overly entertained student body, but rather to create an engaging, impactful dialogue, showcasing different facets of sustainability,” Morical said. “Most of all, I want students to walk away with new perspectives and goals of how they will act differently to enact a positive environmental impact.”

Jonathan Cousimano, a senior majoring in political science, said it’s important for the university to promote a sustainable lifestyle.

“I try to use renewable resources such as canvas shopping bags, but I’m sure that I could do more than just put my trash in the right receptacle,” Cousimano said. “The university should help teach us ways we can do more because we’re responsible for our planet.”

Christine Archer, a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism and psychology, said she has her reservations about Earth Week being a product of pop culture.

“The whole green movement has become such a fad that it’s hard to decide if it’s genuine,” Archer said. “The challenge for USC Earth Week is to inspire students to see past the hybrid cars and canvas bags that celebrities promote.”

The Office of Sustainability’s series of events targets a fun and educational way for students to learn more about the cause and motivate students to act, Bovia said.

“I’m really hoping this Earth Week will raise awareness for USC students on environmental issues and help them realize there are a lot of places they can get involved,” Bovia said.

The Office of Sustainability also runs an urban garden on Shrine Place that is available to students, faculty and the community.

“We’re in an urban jungle and there’s actually a big disconnect for people between where they think their food comes from and where it actually comes from,” Bovia said. “Helping build that connection back will help reconnect them to being more self-sufficient with food. We’re hoping it’ll help build healthier lifestyles.”

Bovia said students can have a positive impact on the global environment by making local changes.

“There’s a phrase that I really like and it’s ‘think globally, act locally,’” Bovia said. “You need to think about your impact globally, but you can focus your actions locally. Especially with USC being such a global institution, this is really not a stretch.”