Sustainability 2020

A Message to the USC Community

December 15, 2015

One of the foremost “wicked problems” of our time is how we sustainably conserve our resources for future generations, while securing prosperity for all of us within the global community.  As an institution with international reach, USC finds itself with both the capacity and the mandate to forge innovative solutions to this dilemma.  Our faculty members have thoughtfully engaged the sustainability problem for decades. They continue to make meaningful contributions to sustainable practices through teaching, scientific research, engineering, and policy solutions.  Increasingly, our students have taken a more active, leading role in addressing sustainability at the level of personal and collective responsibility, conservation in daily practice, and calls for stronger policies.

As an institution of considerable size, USC must be mindful of its environmental impact. This challenge should be met with the same course of action we have applied to other pressing global problems—community resolution—informed by diverse viewpoints, brainpower, and a spirit of innovation.  Applying this approach, we are pleased to announce that a diverse group of faculty, students, and staff recently completed Sustainability 2020, our comprehensive sustainability plan. This plan outlines seventeen high-impact sustainability goals that the university can implement within the next five years. As a campus, we owe the faculty, students, and staff our thanks for the enthusiasm and energy they have invested in creating this plan.

But the work is far from finished.  With an effective framework for action now in place, we must ensure that resources and personnel are committed to achieving the goals outlined in Sustainability 2020.  A 24 member Sustainability Steering Committee – see the attached roster – has been appointed to manage the implementation of the plan, and to develop the tangible projects that will help us achieve these goals.  The steering committee members include many of our distinguished faculty and students, along with senior members of the university’s staff and administration. This committee will be developing implementation strategies for each of the seventeen goals presented in Sustainability 2020, working through subcommittees and with appropriate university resources so that these strategies can be put into action.

In order to accomplish this ambitious plan, we will encourage input and participation from a wide spectrum of our community.  Please feel free to contact Halli Bovia, Sustainability Program Manager, with any comments or questions at

We hope you’ll join us in this effort—whether it is through conducting research, using sustainability issues as context for your teaching, changing purchasing practices or just being mindful of your personal impact on the environment. Working together we can make real progress as we strive to be the global private research university that also serves the public good.


Link to the Sustainability 2020 document.