The focus on sustainability is a natural for USC, which has already earned recognition for its efforts in sustainable management on campus. President Harris Pastides has made sustainability one of USC’s seven major academic initiatives, directing the university to address campus issues related to energy and resource use and climate impacts and to develop a plan to help USC reach carbon neutrality. The university’s Green Quad is internationally recognized as an example of sustainable living on campus.
Faculty across campus are already involved in sustainability research, including the areas of alternative energy and fuel cells, complex integrated environmental processes and climate change impacts, risk assessment and management, along with other areas.
“We have a huge amount of sustainability research on campus already,” Helmuth said. “The Darla Moore School is strong in this area. The School of the Environment is a focal point for sustainability research and teaching. A lot of it is going unrecognized. If, as a university, we can pull all these disparate groups together and recognize and build on what we’ve already been doing, we’ll be known as an international leader in this area,” Helmuth said.
Kresovich said a faculty committee will develop an inventory of sustainability research, identify any obstacles to collaborations, explore the potential for interdisciplinary programs and mechanisms for funding these initiatives, recommend ways to best promote sustainability research on campus, study approaches used at other schools and promote existing strengths on campus.
“While there is significant talent across campus in sustainability research, many of these efforts remain isolated or unrecognized, reducing the potential for integrated efforts and synergetic impact,” Kresovich said. “Furthermore, we do not have an effective inventory of those strengths, making it impossible to formulate an action plan for how to capitalize on those strengths, especially for pursuing large-scale research funding and education opportunities.”