USC President Carol Folt, who has prioritized environmental sustainability during her tenure, announced her latest effort with plans to open a new on-campus Sustainability Hub in the spring semester. Renovations are effective immediately, the Office of the President announced Tuesday.
Stationed in the center of the University Park Campus inside the Gwynn Wilson Student Union Building on Trousdale Parkway, the new space will host collaboration between students, researchers and the USC sustainability staff, the release said.
The Sustainability Hub is set to open in April, which coincides with Earth Month, a time dedicated to the recognition of environmental issues.
The building will inherit the plot currently occupied by the USC Pharmacy, a centrally-located area with plenty of foot traffic and high visibility. The pharmacy will move to a “state-of-the-art facility” near the USC Engemann Student Health Center.
The university made the decision as part of its campus-wide initiative, Assignment: Earth, to address the impacts of climate change, as well as create a more sustainable future.
The construction of the Sustainability Hub is one of many environmental initiatives USC is actively spearheading this year. Over the summer, the university halted the purchase of single-use plastic bottles, saving an estimated 32 tons of plastic waste, according to USC Sustainability. The university also dedicated millions of dollars to similar projects, such as recycling efforts at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and research into alternative energies and pollution reduction in the L.A. Community and beyond.
Even with its pledge to create a greener campus and planet, there is still progress to be made with educating the USC community on environmental topics.
In USC’s first annual sustainability survey conducted in April, over 5,000 respondents scored an average of 61.5% on general sustainability questions and just 52.3% on sustainability behavior and culture questions.
In the same survey, 47% of respondents were interested in getting involved with USC sustainability efforts but had not yet done so.
By April, USC students and staff will have a sustainability education resource within walking distance.