Aspirations

Education

Tommy Trojan riding a bicycle
  • Ensure that USC alumni are stewards of the planet, with every USC student engaged in sustainability learning – both didactic and experiential – through courses, research, and engagement at USC.

  • Elevate the importance of interdisciplinary undergraduate scholarship at USC so that students graduate with both deep disciplinary expertise and broad skills in developing systemic solutions.

Research

  • Create new sustainability-solutions knowledge through interdisciplinary efforts that may be developed  locally and regionally, but that are scalable nationally and internationally. Such solutions will be developed by a diverse and inclusive community of faculty, students, and post-docs, and the results will be measurably reported in publications, intellectual property filings, and operational or commercial adoption. The trainees of the USC sustainability research program will be placed in academic, government, business, and non-profit arenas.

  • Engage in proactive, creative, and accessible outreach to inform and empower the public, including local and national communities, and including K-12 students. Design community-based participatory research projects to address the needs particularly of underserved communities. Use a diverse and inclusive media toolbox, and engage the community via novel demonstration projects for solutions to the challenges of sustainability. Our initiative will recruit, train, and retain a diverse and inclusive workforce, and it will meet the challenge of reaching parity metrics for characteristics protected by law.

  • Create and demonstrate positive impact on the health and well-being of people and of the environment. Direct impacts include protecting lives and property, preserving scarce natural resources, and reducing pollution and carbon emissions. Indirect impacts include research that positively affects policies, the development and implementation of impactful technologies and applications, and participation in high-level advisory boards.

Equity and Inclusion

  • Address the systems, structures, and policies that facilitate (or hinder) equity-minded and inclusionary practices being adopted throughout our sustainability efforts. We recognize that we cannot adequately protect places or people without more intentionally interrogating our current policies and organizational culture, examining whether diverse voices and ideas are acknowledged and effectively addressed.

  • Play a leadership role in monitoring and assessing whether our portfolio of sustainability courses, programs, and projects remain centered on equity, (environmental/social) justice, and inclusion. Accountability for and alignment of our sustainability goals, our DEI goals, and our cultural values initiatives, will be the vehicles for our efforts.

Operations

  • Mend our Climate Impact – Responding to the urgency of the climate crisis and USC’s contributions to it, USC aspires to reverse our impacts and contribute to the regeneration of the earth’s atmospheric greenhouse gas balance.

  • Build a Circular Economy Respecting planetary boundaries, USC will help build the circular economy by reducing and changing what it buys, maximizing the utility of what it uses, and preparing expended items for their next best use.

  • Develop Healthy Ecosystems – USC campuses and buildings will promote human wellbeing, ecosystem biodiversity, and the connections between people and nature.

  • Align with New Water Realities – Adapting to the continuing mega-drought in the western United States, USC will utilize the optimal source, quantity, and quality of water for its operations, and use that water as many times as possible before returning it to the broader water cycle.

  • Strengthen Transparency and Accountability – USC will leverage the power of technology, data, policies, and management systems to ensure progress, awareness, and inclusion of stakeholders in our sustainability journey.

Engagement

  • Mobilize Sustainability Action – USC will engage community members (on campus, in the broader community and globally) to align their professional, personal, and collective behavior with sustainability best practices. Central to this process, USC will engage in dialogue with community, business, political, and social leaders on how best to pursue sustainability while addressing social inequities.

  • Partner in building Inclusive Communities – USC recognizes that diverse, equitable, and inclusive communities not only create a robust and resilient society but are a prerequisite to environmental sustainability. Having broad and inclusive stakeholder representation from the beginning of discussions through implementation will celebrate and best leverage the rich tapestry of our communities in order to achieve sustainability goals.

  • Support Arts & Culture Practitioners – USC will empower and support arts and culture practitioners, building a vibrant, shared and enduring sustainability culture at USC and beyond.

  • Contribute to Sustainability Leadership in Higher Education and Beyond – USC will serve as a model in collaboratively developing and utilizing tools and applied best practices in accelerating the transition to sustainability.