Sept. 20 is the first day of USC’s Green Week, a celebration of campus sustainability that allows students to expand their knowledge of eco-friendly practices through virtual and in-person events hosted by the Office of Sustainability.
Meatless Monday kicked off the week at the USC Village dining hall, which occurs on a weekly basis and rotates throughout the university’s four dining locations. When students finish their meal, they can empty the waste into one of the new compost bins around campus. This addition encourages students to get involved in the sustainability initiative, and get rid of food waste responsibly.
“I just didn’t think that USC cared about sustainability to that extent,” Jordan Page, a senior narrative studies major, said in an interview with Annenberg Media. “And I’m happy that they do. So I’m looking forward to it.”
Students can also engage by doing sign painting and planter upcycling with USC’s Garden Club. “It looks like a fun way for everyone to get to know each other and just be in the garden,” Hadee Makda, senior health promotion and disease prevention studies major and current club president, said in an interview. “We used to be a pretty small hobby club, and now we’re really trying to get more serious and more interested in fighting food insecurity on campus or in the community.”
Other events throughout the week range from a coding event to creating solutions for combating climate change. Internships and full-time career opportunities in the sustainability field will also be available throughout the week.
To close out Green Week, this week’s home football game will feature USC’s Zero Waste Tailgating initiative, where at least 90% of waste from the “Green Game” will be diverted from landfills. With this event, USC Sustainability will compete with other PAC-12 schools in the pursuit of a zero waste home game.
While USC offers an array of tips to participating in eco-friendly tailgating, some students question the practicality of the initiative.
“How are they going to get a bunch of, you know, drunk college students to remember to recycle? It just seems very ambitious,” Page said. “So I hope that they have a good plan in place to make sure that there’s no outliers—everyone’s able to follow through and participate.”
Beyond Green Week, USC wants to strengthen sustainability initiatives on campus. Previously, President Carol Folt joined L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti to discuss sustainability movements within Los Angeles. USC is also in the midst of implementing the 2028 Sustainability Plan, which aims to strengthen its zero-waste policy by eliminating single-use plastics, expanding recycling and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, among other actions.
When asked about Green Week, Associate Director Ellen Dux from the Office of Sustainability implored for more collaboration with other clubs and organizations to promote a greener campus.
“Let’s use this opportunity to step more broadly out in front of the whole community, let folks know what’s going on, and how they can participate,” Dux said in an interview. “[Students] want to know what’s happening.”