Sustainability on USC's Campus


The student population on University of South Carolina’s Columbia campus has risen significantly throughout the years; the number of out-of-state students has doubled from 2006 to 2015, and the number of in-state students has increased 9.4 percent in that same time. In light of this rising population, along with the introduction of a new food vendor, USC will be making more efforts towards sustainability in the coming years.

When the new food vendor, Aramark, takes over operation of the University of South Carolinas campus dining, they will be implementing many changes. According to Karen Cutler, the spokeswoman for the new company, USC students and faculty will have access to an expanded Chick-fil-A, three new restaurants in Russell House and three additional Starbucks’ on campus. This will definitely account for the rising population—and hopefully will mean shorter lines. Aramark (known as Carolina Food Co. on campus) is creating menus for these new restaurants after talking to students about their preferences and considering their nutritional requirements. This is leading to a significant rise in vegetarian and seafood dishes, and often using food raised locally. For students very interested in their health and its effects, classes will also be available for students in the New Student Health Center in their demonstration kitchen to teach students better eating habits. 

USC is approaching stronger efforts towards sustainability in ways other than dining. The Columbia campus, which contains over 6,800 trees, has pathways that cut through the heart of campus for walking and biking, and has plans to extend bike plans towards Sumter Street. There is also a shuttle system that the school provides to create an alternative means of transportation from driving to class; this system has been around for a while, but now two more pick-ups for off-campus apartment complexes have been added to discourage students from driving. By promoting carpooling and alternative means of transportation students will be influenced to refrain from driving and therefore will release less carbon and other gasses into the air. 

Over the summer, USC worked on widening the section of Greene Street near the Longstreet Theatre to make room for a planter with palmetto trees. The smoke-free campus is on its way towards zero waste by implementing various bins and opportunities for recycling and composting. Even some of our new and restored buildings, like the Darla Moore Business School and the Honors Residence Hall, have gotten the LEED Silver and Green Globes certifications, which are given to members who are committed to making positive contributions to the planet.

The USC campus is part of a community that is committed to helping the ongoing environmental and campus sustainability. The community has the world's first green dorm and offers efficient conservation groups to prepare and teach students and the community about the environment and ways to face environmental challenges in the years to come. 

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