Making Progress

USC Earns Gold Rating from the
Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS)

AASHE Gold STARS Rating Seal

In February 2024, USC earned a prestigious STARS Gold rating from AASHE, the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.

The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for universities to measure their sustainability performance. The assessment encompasses a multitude of sustainability data points from across USC. It helps to build a stronger campus sustainability community, creates incentives for improvement, and facilitates information sharing about higher education sustainability practices and performance.

This achievement comes a year earlier than our Assignment: Earth goal, yet another sign of USC’s rapid transformation towards sustainability leadership.

For more information on STARS and AASHE, visit

Key Reports & Data

Assignment: Earth FY23 Annual Report

Cover page of the Assignment: Earth FY23 Annual Report.
View our FY23 progress toward achieving USC’s Assignment: Earth goals.

USC’s Sustainability, Literacy, Behavior and Cultural Survey

First administered in April 2022, this survey helps to inform sustainability engagement and education programs at USC and to establish a baseline for measuring progress towards Assignment: Earth engagement goals.

USC Sustainability By the Numbers

View the Assignment: Earth FY23 Annual Report for more.

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Energy and Emissions

  • 43.4% absolute GHG scope 1 + 2 emissions reduction since 2014 baseline
  • 42,000 kWh energy savings per month resulting from centrally-managed Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and Cooling (HVAC) automated scheduling programs
  • 6 academic buildings were upgraded to energy-efficient LED
  • 60% lighting load reduction after LED upgrades
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Waste Diversion

  • 54.97% USC’s overall waste diversion rate (as of March 2024)
  • 60.01% University Park Campus waste diversion rate (as of March 2024)
  • 45.47% Health Sciences Campus waste diversion rate (as of March 2024)
  • 67.07% USC Village waste diversion rate (as of March 2024)
  • 40.40% USC Housing (off campus) waste diversion rate (as of March 2024)
  • 17.65% CAL/CDF buildings (off campus) waste diversion rate (as of March 2024)
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Water Conservation

  • 21% potable water use reduction per sq ft.of bldg. space since 2014 baseline
  • 40% estimated average water use savings at each planting plot resulting from new native or climate adaptive landscaping
  • 90% of UPC irrigation is centrally controlled and employs weather-based sensors
  • 13 water meters were added to campus cooling towers. 79% of UPC buildings are sub-metered for water
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  • 11% reduction in single-occupancy vehicles commuting to campus since FY14
  • 24 bio-fuel buses in operation
  • 246 EV charging ports across all USC campuses
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  • 50% of USC Hospitality food is purchased from sustainable sources
  • >3 million plastic bottles prevented from entering the waste stream since the implementation of USC’s single-use plastic beverage bottle elimination policy effective July 2022
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Education and Research

  • Five Postdoctoral Fellows funded in 2023 through the Presidential Sustainability Solutions Fellowship
  • 141 sustainability-focused undergraduate courses were offered in AY24 with over 6,700 undergraduates enrolled
  • 25 research centers, programs or institutes are dedicated to sustainability research
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LA Coliseum 2023 Football Season

  • 90% waste diversion rate for seven football games
  • 66.14 tons of game-day waste diverted from landfill (72.1 total tons generated during season)
  • >1,200 tons of game-day waste diverted from landfill since 2015
  • Three-time winner of Pac-12 Zero Waste Challenge