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Sustainability

About

Mission Statement

To promote environmental, economic, and social responsibility in the Carolina community through collaborations with students, faculty, staff, and community members.

We are a highly-motivated team with a passion for sustainability.
Meet Our Staff »

 

Core Functions

  1. Measure and report institutional sustainability.
  2. Advance a campus sustainability plan.
  3. Educate and develop sustainability student leaders.
  4. Explore and implement positive change.

 

Guiding Values

  1. Assessment: Measure progress toward campus sustainability goals to make data-driven decisions.
  2. Collaboration: Engage campus and community members with diverse perspectives to arise at prosperous solutions for economic, environmental, and social challenges.
  3. Education: Connect formal learning with practical experiences to empower campus and community members to embrace sustainability.
  4. Innovation: Provide a space for new ideas to flourish through harnessing world class research and the creativity of the campus community.
  5. Service: Position ourselves as stewards for the campus and community through civic engagement. 

 

Our History

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. 

Bicylcle 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-contructed 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-effiency 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.

 


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