Here’s what you need to know to go green with USC’s Green Week 2022

In celebration of the second annual Green Week, an initiative under Assignment: Earth, USC Annenberg Media has created a guide for students to maximize their experience throughout the week.

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USC’s Office of Sustainability will launch its second annual Green Week Monday. The week will feature activities for the whole campus, including everything from free vegan food to complimentary Metro rides to celebrate the actions USC has taken to reach its sustainability goals.

Various organizations on campus are hosting events throughout the week for students to enjoy, starting with Saturday night’s football game and ending with a “spooktacular” Peace Garden festival.

Sustainability has become a priority for the university in recent years, as President Carol L. Folt listed sustainability as a goal of hers when she delivered her State of the University address last spring.

Associate director of the Office of Sustainability Ellen Dux told Annenberg Media that the university’s challenge to complete Assignment: Earth has a larger mission.

“A lot of it is framed around 2028 because that’s when the Olympics are coming to campus,” she said. “We want to be in top form, ready to do our best when everybody’s focus is on us.”

This schoolwide plan is designed to reduce climate change and increase sustainability by 2028. Green Week is one step in that direction, she said.

Environmental Students Assembly co-executive director and junior environmental studies major Connor Castillo said initiatives like Green Week help keep sustainability top of mind for students.

“It’s good to have reminders throughout the year to be sustainably conscious. Of course, there’s more that the university can do, [but] these university efforts are not negative or something that should go away,” Castillo said.

Environmental Students Assembly and the Office of Sustainability will partner with leaders Tuesday night at the TCC Forum for the Student Sustainability Leader Summit to discuss a streamlined mission for greener efforts campuswide.

Here are some of Annenberg Media’s tips for navigating Green Week 2022.

Zero Waste Challenge at USC vs. Arizona State

USC’s Green Week will kick off with the Annual Pac-12 Zero Waste Challenge Saturday at the Coliseum when USC football takes on Arizona State. This Pac-12 initiative encourages universities to work with partners like concessions, vendors and merchandise producers to reduce the amount of waste that they produce.

All participating universities send in a scorecard to the Pac-12 that rates the institutions on things like the amount of waste they divert and innovation. Last year, USC earned third place in the challenge and prevented 90% of its waste from being transported to landfills. This challenge encourages USC to apply zero waste practices by developing effective sustainability habits, some of which include promoting the use of reusable bottles rather than plastic ones and using the reduce, reuse and recycle method.

Regenerate: Art, Culture, and Sustainability Workshop and Panel

On Oct. 3, the USC community can participate in Regenerate: Art, Culture, and Sustainability Workshop and Panel, an evening at the USC Fisher Museum of Art (HAR) where student artists and creatives can learn more about sustainable art innovation and participate in conversations about sustainability in art.

The event will highlight student artists and storytelling exhibits sponsored by the USC Arts & Climate Collective (ACC), an eco-friendly art workshop led by interdisciplinary artist and faculty member Eric Junker. Artist, curator, and USC professor China Adams will lead a roundtable discussion regarding art, culture, and sustainability with student members of the ACC. Admission is free and open to all USC students, staff, and faculty. RSVP is required.

Free Vegan Meals on Campus

The Jubilee Vegan Cafe will be serving free vegan food at the University Religious Center (URC) courtyard on Oct. 4 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. The cafe is run by Progressive Christians @USC, alongside the USC Office of Religious and Spiritual Life as well as Vegans of L.A. The cafe is open to all USC community members, regardless of religious affiliation, and will have more lunches to follow, on Tuesdays through Nov. 29.

Ride the L.A. Metro for Free

For California Clean Air Day, students can ride the Metro for free on Oct. 5. Buses and trains help decrease pollution because they emit fewer emissions per person riding, according to L.A. Metro. The more people that use transit, the cleaner the air.

The Metro week continues with free rides on the entire Metro Bus, Rail and Bike system from noon on Oct. 7 until the end of service on Oct. 9, in honor of the opening of the K Line. The Metro weekend helps with transportation to a gamut of events, including CicLAvia, the Cowboys vs. Rams game and the Nashville vs. LAFC game in Exposition Park.

Workshops and volunteer days at the Shrine Place Garden

The USC Peace Garden at Shrine Place Garden will hold open gardening hours on Oct. 5 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., welcoming all members of the USC community. USC’s Peace Garden announced a programming schedule for the Fall semester, including open garden hours, workshops, volunteer days and other events.

This semester, the organization will focus on growing food and to planting California native, drought-tolerant ornamental plants. Stay tuned via @uscpeacegarden for more information on upcoming events.

Environmental Student Assembly co-executive director and sophomore environmental studies major Valerie Kuo also suggested another way for students to become more aware of how they can be sustainable in their day-to-day life: through education.

“If they’re aN [economics] major maybe take an environmental [economics] class,” she said. “Think about how your career path relates to sustainability.”

Though Green Week offers opportunities for students to consciously make sustainable efforts, Dux offered that students should try to carry out their sustainable actions outside of the designated week.

“It’s constant reinforcement. So that’s what we want to do every year during Green Week,” she said. “If we’re doing our job right every year or around Green Week, we will have the opportunity to say, here are some big new wins that the university is accomplishing along our path to that 2028 Assignment: Earth framework.”