Senate endorses sustainability plan on campus

The Undergraduate Student Government Senate has endorsed a new sustainability plan that aims to conserve energy and other resources on campus.

The Sustainability 2030 Resolution passed by a unanimous vote at the USG meeting on Tuesday after an initial proposal by the Academic Senate Sustainability Taskforce.

While USC has already adopted a Sustainability 2020 Plan, the Sustainability 2030 Resolution aims for USC to embed sustainability efforts in a broader vision and longer-term strategy and approach both long-range planning needs and short-term implementation steps. It aims to create a more specific framework toward campus sustainability, in order to create the tangible change that it claims the Sustainability 2020 Plan failed to incite.

The resolution states that its goal is for USC to be “widely recognized regionally, nationally and internationally as a leader in teaching and research on a wide range of environmental sustainability issues.”

It calls for USC to integrate sustainability into all aspects of the University, including education and research, community engagement, energy conservation, transportation, procurement, waste and water.

“Surveys and petitions have shown that students care about the sustainability of their campus, and yet USC still lags behind our peer institutions on almost every metric of sustainability,” Sen. Katie Bolton said. “The 2020 plan was a good start, but the new 2030 plan pushes the University to go farther and to do better.”

The new resolution calls for USC to regularly develop, lead and engage in strategic partnerships on campus and in the community to promote sustainability practices and education, as well as achieve carbon neutrality across all campus buildings.

Another goal is for USC to reduce single occupancy vehicles by 50 percent from the 2014 levels, convert the University motor fleet to zero emissions, reduce the University’s carbon footprint by 50 percent and position USC as a visible and progressive participant in local, regional and international sustainable transportation activities.

The plan aims for USC to be recognized as a leader among higher education institutions in using its purchasing power to encourage environmentally sustainable operations in its supply chain.

The final goal is for USC to achieve campus-wide “zero waste” and reduce potable water usage by 50 percent from 2014 levels.

Now that the Senate has endorsed the plan, the next step is working toward getting the Sustainability 2030 Resolution approved by the USG administration. Because it is resolution rather than a proposal, a member of USC’s upper administration, most likely from the Provost’s office, is now obliged to meet with the Academic Senate to discuss the strategy, according to Zachary Manta, the director of Environmental Core, who helped write the resolution.