A culture of Sustainability that embodies the triple bottom line of Environmental Resilience, Economic Prosperity, and Social Justice in all aspects of our teaching, research, service, and operations.
The mission of the Office of Sustainability is to introduce, promote, and support a university-wide commitment to sustainability by:
- Creating and advancing a campus sustainability plan,
- Enhancing capacity to explore and implement innovative solutions for positive change,
- Assessing progress toward institutional sustainability, and
- Engaging students in integrative learning and leadership development.
We are a highly-motivated team with a passion for sustainability.
Meet Our Staff »
The Office of Sustainability seeks to promote environmental, economic, and social responsibility in the Carolina community through collaborations with students, faculty, staff, and community members. To achieve that the goals of the office are to:
- Measure and report institutional sustainability and provide a space for innovative ideas to flourish through harnessing world class research and the creativity of the campus community.
- Advance a campus sustainability plan and engage campus and community members with diverse perspectives to arise at prosperous solutions for economic, environmental, and social challenges.
- Educate and develop student leaders and connect formal learning with beyond-the-classroom experiences to empower campus and community members to embrace sustainability.
The history of sustainability at the University of South Carolina tells a year-by-year story of setting and achieving goals, launching new initiatives to support sustainable practices and creating a healthier, more sustainable, more equitable campus overall.
Bike Share Program: City of Columbia partnered with USC to introduce bike stations on campus.
Student Sustainability Fund: Student government passes legislation to begin a green fund.
Sustainable Catering Guide: Aramark introduces a catering guide with best practices for sustainability.
Student Health Center: The Center for Health and Well-Being is awarded LEED Gold.
Bicycle Friendly Campus: USC is awarded a Silver designation as a Bicycle Friendly University.
Zapp RideShare: An electric scooter rideshare company opens in Columbia and introduces stations to campus.
Inaugural Harvest Dinner: Sustainable Carolina Garden host first harvest dinner on the Horseshoe.
Genesis 2015 Reports Success: The initiative reports that it has met its goal in using alternative fuels for the university's fleet of vehicles.
First Green Career Fair: The first Green Career Fair event is held on campus.
First Sustainability Showcase: The first Sustainability Showcase event is held.
Sustainable Carolina Leadership Program: The Green Leadership Program transitions to the Sustainable Leadership Program.
Princeton Review: In the 2014 Report, Princeton Review recognizes USC as on the top greenest schools in the country.
First Green Networking Breakfast: The first Green Networking Breakfast event is held by the Office for Sustainability.
Green Office Certification: The Green Office Certification Program was created as a student-led initiative through Sustainable Carolina.
First Reclaimed Runway: The first Reclaimed Runway event at the university is held.
First Carbon Neutral Basketball Game: The first carbon neutral basketball game at the university is held.
USC Awarded AASHE Gold Status: USC is awarded Gold Status by AASHE, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.
Columbia Choice Award for Gamecock Park: Columbia Green and the Columbia Tree & Appearance Commission awarded South Carolina Athletics a Columbia Choice Award in the Renovation/Reuse category for its development of the retired Farmers Market site.
First Earthstock: Earthstock was created as music festival to celebrate Earth Day, previously known as Earth Jam and Sounds of Sustainability.
Environmental Studies Major: This new major is offered for undergraduate students.
Food Grease Recycling Begins: Food grease begins to be recycled for bio-diesel production.
Outdoor Recreation Achieves Carbon Neutrality: It is the first recreation department in the country to achieve carbon neutrality.
USC Becomes a Certified Tree Campus USA: The Arbor Day Foundation awards USC with the Tree Campus USA certification.
Office for Sustainability is Created: The Office of Sustainability is officially created with a directorial position.
Genesis 2015 Announced: This new initiative is announced as a goal to use alternative fuels for 100% of campus vehicles by 2015.
Sustainable Carolina Green Leadership Program: This new program begins through the Office for Sustainability.
USC Ranks 95 out of 99 in Sustainability: USC ranks 95 out of 99 in the Princeton Review rankings.
Environmental Science Major: This new major is offered for undergraduate students.
Tailgate Recycling Program Begins: This new initiative begins at football games.
First Sustainability Coordinator: Michael Koman is hired to be the first campus-wide sustainability coordinator.
Farmers Market Launched: The campus farmers market starts on a monthly basis.
Green Quad Wins Green Buildings Honor: Green Quad wins the AIA COTE Honor Award for Green Buildings.
Climate Commitment Signed: The university president signs the Climate Commitment for USC to become carbon neutral.
Darla Moore School of Business introduces the Page Prize: The Page Prize for Sustainability Issues in Business Curricula is designed to encourage and support efforts to introduce sustainability courses into the curriculum of business schools.
Sustainable Carolina: Started as a collaboration between the Office for Sustainability, Green Quad, University Housing, and Facilities.
Green Leadership Program: Sustainable Carolina's student engagement initiative that consisted of 17 student project teams.
Sustainable Carolina Garden: The Sustainable Carolina Garden breaks ground at Green Quad, previously know as the Carolina Community Farm & Garden.
American Institute of Architects Awards Sustainability Leaders: The American Institute of Architects "South Carolina Alliance Award" is presented to Gene Luna and Michael Koman.
Gasification Biomass Project Approved
First Green Dorm in the World Opens: The West Quad Residence Hall opens, making the building the first newly-constructed green dorm in the world.
Campus-Wide Lighting Improvements: A campus-wide lighting retrofit results in 45% energy reduction and saves $6.47 million in energy costs.
Campus-Wide Performance Contract: The campus-wide performance contract results in 44% reduction in water use and saves $7.8 million.
Green Learning Community: The Green Learning Community was introduced at Green Quad as the USC's Living-Learning Community geared towards incorporating sustainability practices into students' daily lives.
NACAS Innovation Award: NACAS awards USC for their innovative achievement in sustainability.
SC Chapter of the US Green Building Council Founded: USC joins the US Green Building Council (USGBC) and becomes the founding member of the South Carolina chapter.
First Move-Out Event: The first event, now called "Give It Up for Good" collects more than 34 tons of materials for donation and recycling. It becomes an annual event.
First Biofuel Infrastructure: USC receives a DOE grant to install the first biofuel/biodiesel infrastructure on campus.
Environmental Management System Implemented: The university implements an Environmental Management System and obtains ISO 14001 certification.
First Environmental Programs Manager: Housing hires its first environmental programs manager.
First Energy Policy: The university's first energy policy is created.
First Move-In Event: The event collects more than 13 tons of cardboard and becomes an annual event.
Electronic Waste Recycling: 100% of electronic waste on campus is recycled.
First Environmental Policy: The Environmental Advisory Committee produces the first environmental policy signed by the Board of Trustees.
Hi-Efficiency Washers and Dryers: Housing replaces all washers and dryers with hi-efficiency front-loaders, saving more than 2 million gallons of water and $20,000 per year.
Environmental Advisory Committee: The university president appoints the first Environmental Advisory Committee.
Sustainable Universities Initiative: The initiative is created for a more sustainable future through teaching research, community service and facilities management. This is effectively the first Office of Sustainability for USC, Clemson and MUSC combined.