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Report Card 2011

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University of Southern California
College Sustainability Report Card 2011

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University of Southern California

School details:

  Grade higher than last year


Endowment: $3,076 million as of March 31, 2010

Location: Los Angeles, California


Campus Survey: Yes (see response)

Dining Survey: Yes (see response)

Endowment Survey: Yes (see response)

Student Survey: Yes (see response)


Please note: Data was collected in summer 2010 and may no longer be current.


Data compiled from survey responses, when available, and from independent research, when needed. For more information on data collection and evaluation, please see the  Methodology section.

Overall grade  
B -
USC is committed to sustainability through a formal policy as well as components of its master and strategic plans. More than eight committees, the sustainability office, and several staff members work to implement environmental programming. The university buys some Energy Star products, environmentally preferable paper, and EPEAT-certified computers. A green office certification program trains staff members to implement sustainable practices in offices across campus.
USC has reduced greenhouse gas emissions 5 percent since 2001, has implemented programs such as temperature setbacks, and has installed steam trap systems to reduce energy use. Programs such as energy audits and awareness campaigns encourage members of the campus community to conserve energy, and 14 percent of electricity purchased for the campus comes from renewable sources.
USC spends over 5 percent of its food budget on local products and buys organic items such as produce and baked goods. Some milk, chicken, and meat purchased for the campus is hormone and antibiotic free, and fair trade coffee, tea, and chocolate are available. Food scraps are composted at all meals, and dining facilities are trayless. Electronics are collected for recycling in addition to standard materials.
All new construction must be built to LEED standards. Two new buildings are expected to be LEED Gold certified, and one existing building meets LEED Silver standards. Water conservation technologies, such as low-flow faucets and showerheads, as well as efficient laundry technology, have been installed across campus, and USC uses retention ponds and vegetated and stone swales for stormwater management.
New students are introduced to sustainability through presentations at orientation, and USC offers student sustainability internships. Students participate in the Student Affairs Green Office competition and an energy reduction competition each year, and student groups such as Environment First and CALPIRG help organize events and raise environmental awareness.
USC offers ride-matching services and preferable parking to carpoolers, as well as discounted public transit passes for all members of the campus community. Cruisers and shuttles provide transportation on and around campus. USC partners with a car-sharing program and provides bicycle racks around campus. Forty percent of students commute to campus via environmentally preferable methods. The campus motor fleet includes a variety of alternatively fueled vehicles.
The university makes a list of all holdings available to trustees, senior administrators, and other select members of the school community. Only asset allocation information is available to the general public. The university does not make its shareholder voting record public.
The university aims to optimize investment returns, and the endowment is currently invested in renewable energy funds.
The university asks that its investment managers handle the details of proxy voting.
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