University 101 Programs

Sustainable Living on Campus

This presentation will introduce the concept of sustainability and why it is important to students’ lives, provide information about the sustainability goals the University and President Pastides have set, and will encourage students to adopt new green habits and to get involved with sustainability on campus. After this presentation students will have a better understanding of sustainability and what they can do to be more sustainable while on campus and in their lives after leaving USC. 

Learning Outcomes

The “Sustainable Living on Campus” presentation supports University 101 learning outcomes:

II. Help Students Discover and Connect With the University of South Carolina

a. Identify appropriate campus resources and opportunities that contribute to their educational experience, goals, and campus engagement

The presentation will highlight many ways to get involved with sustainability or environmental issues on campus. It describes student organizations like EcoReps, Net Impact, and SAGE and how to join, promotes the Green Learning Community and tells students about the Student Sustainability Fund, which is money available to fund student-proposed sustainability projects on campus. The presentation also describes ways in which sustainability has been increasingly incorporated into businesses and how knowledge of sustainability could impact their career choices.

III. Prepare Students for Responsible Lives in a Diverse, Interconnected, and Changing World

c. Describe and demonstrate principles of responsible citizenship within and beyond the campus community

Knowledge of sustainable practices and an awareness of environmental issues are increasingly expected from responsible citizens on and off the University campus. With more and more focus on issues like energy use and the amount of trash we produce, people will be expected to understand recycling and conservation and how these things impact not only their lives by the lives of others. This presentation educates students on what sustainability is, how it relates to their life on campus and how what we do here at USC can impact people in other countries, and how they can become environmentally responsible citizens with just through small habit changes.

As a result of attending this presentation students will:

  • Describe what the term sustainability means
  • Explain University sustainability goals
  • Examine their own lifestyle for potential improvements in eco-friendly habits

Presentation Outline

  • What is Sustainability?
    • ACTIVITY: USC Green Trivia
      • Students will be split into teams of 4 or 5 and given a white board, marker and eraser. The presenter will ask questions about USC's sustainability initiatives (ex: where do we have solar panels on campus?). The teams will write and display their answers on the white board and will collect points for correct answers. The members of the team with the highest score will receive a small sustainable prize.
    • Definition of Sustainability

    • Why Should You Care? – describe the economic, health and human rights implications of sustainability
  • Campus Wide Sustainability Initiatives
    • Where We Are – overview of current metrics for the University like water use, energy use and recycling rate

    • Where We Want to Go – show list of campus sustainability goals and go in depth with the following two:
      • Achieve carbon neutrality by 2050
        • Define carbon neutrality
        • Encourage discussion of whether the students think this is an achievable goal
      • Become a zero waste campus by 2050
        • Define zero waste
        • Encourage discussion of whether the students think this is an achievable goal
      • Current Initiatives on Campus
        • Green Residence Halls
        • Recycling on Campus
  • The Importance of You
    • Green Stereotype
      • Have students talk about stereotypes associated with “green” and environmentalists – most common are things like hippies, tree hugger etc… 
      • Discuss if these are negative images and if this makes them less likely to adopt sustainable habits
      • Talk about how mainstream environmentalism and sustainability is – show slide of “green” celebrities
    • ACTIVITY: Carbon Footprint Quiz – the instructor will lead the class through an online carbon footprint quiz, using average class responses to plug into the quiz. The quiz result is a number of planet Earth’s that we would need if everyone on Earth lived like the class. Discuss what surprised them, what they could change to improve their footprint.

    • What Can You Do?  - list of suggested habits like turning off lights, unplugging appliances etc…

    • How to Get Involved on Campus

    • Questions

Presentation Length

50 minutes

Presenter Training

University Housing's Coordinator for Environmental Sustainability, currently Margaret Bounds, is the primary presenter for this presentation. She studied environmental science in her undergraduate and graduate work and has four years of experience focusing on sustainability within the residence halls and campus-wide. She has also presented on sustainability programs at several national conferences. The graduate student presenters for this presentation are pulled from Sustainable Carolina staff and have a demonstrated interest and knowledge of sustainable issues. They go through a two-day long orientation to Sustainable Carolina and University sustainability programs.